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Archive Report: Allied Forces

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38 crest
38 Squadron Wellington IC W5681 Sgt. Norman Franklin Dixon

Operation: Benina, Libya

Date: 04/05th May 1941 (Sunday/Monday)

Unit: No. 38 Squadron (motto: Ante lucem - 'Before the dawn'). 257 Wing. 202 group

Type: Wellington IC

Serial: W5681

Code: HD-?

Base: Shallufa, Egypt

Location: El Qasba

Pilot: Sgt. Norman Franklin Dixon NZ/391345 RNZAF Age 26. Killed

Pilot: Sgt. Basil Alexander Walker NZ/40782 RNZAF Age 21. Killed

Obs: Sgt. Douglas Rolfe 911408 RAFVR Age 21. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Leslie Harold Harrap 900134 RAFVR Age 22. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Richard Shuttleworth Blackwell 751892 RAFVR Age 21. Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Herbert Owen Turner NZ/401467 RAFVR Age 19. Killed


Taking off at around 20:00 hrs from the satellite base at Fuka. Carrying 4 x 250 HE, 4 x 120 HE, 6 x 25 incendiary, and 2 x SEC incendiary bombs to bomb the airfield at Benina, Libya.

The weather is described as a 10/10 cloud with high winds making observation and bombing very difficult. The majority failed to find the target and bombed the harbour as well as a road junction.

W5681 crashed on return at 05:00 hrs at El Qasaba about 35 miles west of the base. All crew were killed.

No. 1 Flying Training School at Wigram 27th May 1940.

Standing, from the left, Sergeant-Pilots J.F. Carrick, G.V. Key, Robert Henry Clifford 391341 killed 23rf August 1940, G.G. Davis, Duncan Lyness McGregor-McDonald 391362 died 10th May 2016, J.M. S.Ross, William David Angus McLeod 391363 killed 26th February 1942, and Richard Hugh Alington 391335 killed 15th March 1941.
Seated, Sergeant-Pilots Gilbert Theodore Kimberley 391359 killed 07th April 1941, Henry Noel Goodall 391350 killed 05th June 1941, Charles Harold Douglas 391346 killed 14th October 1940 J.A. Neilson, Acting Pilot-Officers Charles Stewart 44231 killed 11th July 1941 arid' Neville Lawrence Roy Cowan 2441 died 12th July 1985, Norman Franklin Dixon 391345 killed 05th May 1941

Burial details:

Sgt. Norman Franklin Dixon. El Alamein War Cemetery. Grave: XII.C.13. Born on the 13th of July 1915 at Invercargill. Worked as a radiator specialist for Auto Parts Dunedin. Enlisted on the 19th of November 1939. Trained with No. 1 Elementary Training School (19th December 1939) No. 1 Flying Training School (13th February 1941). Pilot badge awarded on the 06th April 1940 and promoted to sergeant on the 21st May 1940. Embarked for England on the 07th June 1940 on the SS Rangitata. Further training with 15 Operational Training Unit (10th August 1940) Joined 37 squadron on the 04th October 1940 completing 3 operational sorties. Joined 55 squadron (17th November 1940). Joined 75 squadron (24th November 1940) where he completed 17 operational sorties. Flew a Wellington via Malta to Egypt (08-09 April 1941). Joined 38 squadron (19th April 1941) Son of Cecil (died 05th April 1955, age 65) and Jane Dixon (née McDonald - died 11th July 192, age 91), of Invercargill, Southland, New Zealand. A total of 425 flying hours logged and on his 06th operational sortie.

Sgt. Basil Alexander Walker. El Alamein War Cemetery. Grave: XII.C.12. Born on the 16th of October 1919 at Christchurch. Worked as a clerk for National Tobacco Company. Enlisted at Levin on the 12th March 1940. 3 Trained with No. 2 Elementary Training School (08th April 1940) No. 2 Flying Training School0 (03rd June 1940). Pilot badge awarded on the 02nd August 1940 and promoted to sergeant on the 21st of September 1940. Embarked for England on the 06th October 1940. Further training with 20 Operational Training Unit (03rd December 1940). Joined 75 squadron (13th February 1941) completing 4 operational sorties. Flew a Wellington via Malta to Egypt (08-09 April 1941). Joined 38 squadron (19th April 1941). Son of Herbert Walker, and of Katherine Alice McG. Walker (died 18th January 1967, age 76), of 39 Cameron Road, Napier, Hawke's Bay, New Zealand. A total of 286 flying hours logged and on his 23rd operational sortie.

Sgt. Douglas Rolfe. . El Alamein War Cemetery. Grave: XII.C.18. Son of Frederick Adams Rolfe and Lizzie Maud Rolfe, of Chinnor, Oxfordshire. Grave inscription: ' Greater Love Hath No Man Than This, That A Man Lay Down His Life For His Friends'.

Sgt. Leslie Harold Harrap. El Alamein War Cemetery. Grave: XII.C.26. Son of Hannah Charlotte Harrap, of Bournemouth, Hampshire. Grave inscription: 'Gone But Not Forgotten You Are Always In Our Thoughts'.

Sgt. Richard Shuttleworth Blackwell. El Alamein War Cemetery. Grave: XII.C.1. Son of Capt. William Edward Blackwell, M.R.C.V.S., and Alice Ann Blackwell, of Towcester, Northamptonshire. Grave inscription: 'Greater Love Hath No Man Than This.

Sgt. Herbert Owen Turner. El Alamein War Cemetery. Grave: XII.C.23. Also remembered on family grave Waimairi Cemetery, Christchurch. Born on the 19th July 1921at Methven. Worked as a motor mechanic for T.D Lance of Hawarden. Enlisted at Levin on the 04th June 1940. Air gunner badge awarded on the 27th July 1940 and promoted to sergeant on 27th July 1940). Embarked for England on the 11th of August 1940. Further training with 10 Operational Training Unit (i19th October 1940) and carried out 1 operational sortie. Joined 75 squadron (06th January 1941) and carried out 6 operational sorties. Crewed a Wellington via Malta to Egypt (08-09 April 1941). Joined 38 squadron (19th April 1941). Son of Bircham Robert Turner (died 18th November 1976, age 97) and Rosanna Teresa Turner (née Mccoy - died 03rd October 1949, age 59), of Methven, Canterbury, New Zealand. A total of 121 flying hours logged and on his 07th operational sortie. On family grave: 'Who Lost His Life In Air Operations In North Africa On 05Th May 1941 After Service In Britain With The RAF'.

Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this crew with thanks to Jenifer Lemaire and 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, Airforce of New Zealand, Air27-398, other sources as quoted below:

KTY -06-04-2022

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