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Archive Report: Allied Forces

Compiled from official National Archive and Service sources, contemporary press reports, personal logbooks, diaries and correspondence, reference books, other sources, and interviews.
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75 Squadron Wellington IC X9976 Fl/Sgt. John William Black

Operation: Berlin

Date: 07/08th November 1941 (Friday/Saturday)

Unit: No. 75 Squadron (motto: Ake ake kia kaha - For ever and ever be strong'). 3 Group

Type: Wellington IC

Serial: X9976

Code: AA-?

Base: RAF Feltwell, Norfolk

Location: Soarremoarre, Aldeboarn, Netherlands

Pilot: Fl/Sgt. John William Black NZ/402843 RNZAF Age 27. Killed

Pilot: Sgt. Trevor Hedley Gray NZ/404356 RNZAF Age 27. Killed

Obs: P/O. Eric Lloyd NZ/402197 RNZAF Age 28. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Leslie Cyril Green 755095 RAFVR Age 21. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Jack Dennis Thompson 1152206 RAFVR Age 21. Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Charles Thomas Black 1377719 RAFVR Age 30. Killed


Taking off at around 17:30 hrs on a total bomber stream of 169 aircraft (14 from 75 squadron) to bomb Berlin. The bomb load consisted of 1000 lb. 500 lb. bombs with 250 lb's of incendiary bombs.

The target area was bombed and several large fires were reported but, due to to10/10 clouds, the full results were not clearly observed.

Weather conditions were poor throughout the trip. heavy flak was reported but enemy searchlights were seen to be ineffective.

Shot down by a night fighter flown by Oblt. Helmut Lent of II./NJG2, the night face ace making this his 27th claim of the war. He and his 3 crew were killed on the 05th October 1944. A total of 110 claims of the war. Further details on the Kracker Archive.

On the 8th November 2010, 70 years after Wellington X9976 of 75 (New Zealand) Squadron, RAF, crashed, a monument was unveiled here at Soarremoarre. Due to the area of the crash in muddy grounds, the bodies of the crew were not recovered until 1952 and provided a burial at the Bergen-op-Zoom Canadian War Cemetery.

Burial and personal details:

Fl/Sgt. John William Black. Bergen-op-Zoom Canadian War Cemetery. Collective Grave 8. H. 3-7. Born on the 01st August 1914 in Christchurch. Educated at Christchurch Technical College. A salesman for Calder Mackay and Company in Invercargill. Enlisted at Levin on the 01st September 1940 as a pilot under training. With No. 1 Elementary Flying Training School 30th September 1940. No. 1 Flying Training School 27th December 1940. Pilot badge awarded on the 08th February 1941 and promoted to Sergeant on the 22nd March 1941. Embarked for England on the 29th of April 1941. No. 20 Operational Training Unit 03rd July 1941/ Attached to 75 squadron 01st September 1941. Completed 7 operational sorties. Son of Allan (died 02nd December 1959) and Elizabeth Welsh Black (née Smith - died 06th March 1942), of Bromley, Christchurch, Canterbury, New Zealand. His brother 21 year old. F/O. Norman Scott Black NZ/415056 was also to lose his life on the 01st March 1942 whilst with 76 squadron. A total of 316 flying hours were logged.

Sgt. Trevor Hedley Gray. (Birth certificate states his name as Roland Trevor Hedley Gray ). Bergen-op-Zoom Canadian War Cemetery. Grave 8. H. 2. Born on the 13th of November 1913 in Whanganui. Manager of Kingsway Outfitters Ltd in New Plymouth. Served 7 months in the territorial army. Enlisted at Levin on the 23rd November 1940 as a pilot under training. With No. 2 Elementary Flying Training School 27th November 1940. No. 3 Flying Training School 08th February 1941. Pilot badge awarded on the 24th March 1941 and promoted to Sergeant on the 03rd May 1941. 11 Operational Training Unit 19th July 1941. Attached to 75 squadron 27th September 1941. Completed 7 operational sorties. Son of Royden Arthur (died 08th April 1969, age 87) and Daisy Lennox Gray (née Arthur - died 27th March 1966, age 83), of New Plymouth, Taranaki, New Zealand and husband of Doreen Gray (née Hogarth), of New Plymouth, New Zealand. A total of 135 flying hours were logged.

P/O. Eric Lloyd. Bergen-op-Zoom Canadian War Cemetery. Collective Grave 8. H. 3-7. Born on the 22nd of February 1913 in Palmerston North. Attended Wanganui Technical College. Worked as a clerk for Castlecliff Railway Company in Whanganui. Served 6 months in the territorial army. Enlisted at Levin on the 28th of July 1940 as a pilot under training. With No. 3 Elementary Flying Training School 25th August 1940. Pilot training terminated in September 1940 and remastered as an observer on the 08th October 1940. Embarked for Canada on the 05th November 1940. Observer badge was awarded on the 01st May 1941 and awarded his commission. Embarked for England 05th June 1941. 12 Operational Training Unit 07th July 1941. Attached to 75 squadron 22ns September 1941. Completed 9 operational sorties. Son of Samuel Edgar Lloyd and of Lilian May Lloyd (née Toms), of Fordell, Wellington, New Zealand. His brother 20-year-old, Fl/Sgt. Raymond Edgar Lloyd NZ/403608 also lost his life on the 19th April 1942 whilst with 37 squadron. A total of 272 flying hours were logged.

Fl/Sgt. Leslie Cyril Green. Bergen-op-Zoom Canadian War Cemetery. Collective Grave 8. H. 3-7. Son of William and Rose Green, of Winchester, Hampshire, England. Epitaph: 'I Have Fought A Good Fight, I Have Finished My Course, I Have Kept The Faith'.

Sgt. Jack Dennis Thompson. Bergen-op-Zoom Canadian War Cemetery. Collective Grave 8. H. 3-7. Worked at Cranfield Flour Mill in Ipswich. Son of Ernest Alfred Thompson, and of Edith Ellen Beatrice Thompson, of Colchester Road, Ipswich, Suffolk, England. Epitaph: 'Treasured Memories Of A Dear Only Son And Brother. At Rest. God Knows Best'.

Sgt. Charles Thomas Black. Bergen-op-Zoom Canadian War Cemetery. Collective Grave 8. H. 3-7. Son of Thomas and Bridget Black; husband of Alice Josephine Black, of Islington, London, England.

Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this crew with thanks to the extensive research by Errol Martyn and his publications: “For Your Tomorrow Vols. 1-3”, Auckland Library Heritage Collection, Weekly News of New Zealand, other sources as quoted below:

KTY 04-05-2022

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Sources used by us in compiling Archive Reports include: Bill Chorley - 'Bomber Command Losses Vols. 1-9, plus ongoing revisions', Dr. Theo E.W. Boiten and Mr. Roderick J. Mackenzie - 'Nightfighter War Diaries Vols. 1 and 2', Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt - 'Bomber Command War Diaries', Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Tom Kracker - Kracker Luftwaffe Archives, Michel Beckers, Major Fred Paradie (RCAF) and MWO François Dutil (RCAF) - Paradie Archive (on this site), Jean Schadskaje, Major Jack O'Connor USAF (Retd.), Robert Gretzyngier, Wojtek Matusiak, Waldemar Wójcik and Józef Zieliński - 'Ku Czci Połeglyçh Lotnikow 1939-1945', Archiwum - Polish Air Force Archive (on this site), Anna Krzystek, Tadeusz Krzystek - 'Polskie Siły Powietrzne w Wielkiej Brytanii', Franek Grabowski, Norman L.R. Franks 'Fighter Command Losses', Aircrew Remembered Databases and our own archives. We are grateful for the support and encouragement of CWGC, UK Imperial War Museum, Australian War Memorial, Australian National Archives, New Zealand National Archives, UK National Archives and Fold3 and countless dedicated friends and researchers across the world.
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