Jack Edwards, Bomber Command

Discussion in 'The War In The Air' started by Matthew Eyre, Jun 3, 2020.

  1. Matthew Eyre

    Matthew Eyre Member

    Hi ,
    I've received some photos from my cousin. Jack was his father in law, and served from June 1943 to Sept 1946. He was originally a middle gunner on Lancs, but switched to rear gunner with his mate Phil Carter as Phil had a young family. He flew 32 sorties, and was based near Thetford at some point.
    His missions included 31st May 1944 dropping mines off Zeebrugge, 25th June 1944 in one of 4 planes attacking Brest harbour, and on 5th November 1944 attacking Solingen.
    If anyone can give me more info that would be great. I hope you enjoy the photos, and especially the letter.
     

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  2. Markyboy

    Markyboy Member

    Cracking photos and I can see why he'd put his survival down to divine intervention after the catalogue of issues he listed in that letter!
     
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  3. AlanW

    AlanW Senior Member

    You probably already kno this but, for the benefit of others here are his ops as listed in the ORB.
    May 44...
    7th, Gardening, Frisian Islands.
    22nd, Gardening Frisian Islands.
    30th, Gardening Dunkerque area.
    31st, Gardening Belgian Coast.
    June.......
    2nd, Special Operation (Resistance drop)
    3rd, Gardening Ostend.
    6th, Special Operation (Resistance)
    15th, Gardening Dunkerque.
    17th, Gardening Lorient.
    23rd, Gardening Brest.
    July....
    10th, Special Operation (Resistance)
    28th, Wemars Cappel, F/Bomb site.
    August...
    2nd, Mont Candon.
    7th, Gardening Gironde.
    19th, ASR Search.
    24th, ASR Search.
    All above on Stirlings, below on Lancasters.
    September.....
    20th, Calais.
    25th, Calais.
    26th, Calais.
    October...
    3rd, Westkapelle.
    14th, Duisburg.
    November......
    5th, Solingen.
    8th, Homburg.
    30th, Osterfeldt.
    December....
    4th, Oberhausen.
    5th, Hamm.
    8th, Duisburg.
    11th, Osterfeldt.
    19th, Trier.
    24th, Bonn.
    28th, Koln.
    29th, Koblenz.
     
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2020
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  4. Matthew Eyre

    Matthew Eyre Member

    Thanks Alan, no, I didn't know this. I don't have much information beyond my original post. I'll pass it on to my cousin. Which squadron was he with? I'm assuming gardening means dropping mines. The resistance drops are particularly fascinating. His parachute number was 13 as he was a baker in civvy street. Would he have been an air gunner at sergeant rank? I've got some air gunner sweetheart badges which belonged to my Aunt, who was a Wren. My uncle flew Dakotas in North Africa.
     
  5. Robert-w

    Robert-w Well-Known Member

    Sergeant was usual for air gunners. There are a number of air gunners on local memorials in my area killed whilst training at OTUs - all are sergeants
     
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  6. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    Not so.The minimum rank for aircrew was Sergeant as from May/June 1940.Air gunners as other non commissioned aircrew could be promoted to Warrant Officer and many were commissioned.In fact as POWs, non commissioned aircrew were promoted to the maximum of Warrant Officer according to length of service.For commissioned aircrew,the maximum rank attainable as a POW,again subject to length of service, was Flight Lieutenant .

    In the individual photograph, Jack Edwards is shown as a Warrant Officer.

    As regards OTUs,non commissioned aircrew would already be Sergeants and arrive at the OTU as such but rank advancement would not follow until the airman was posted to an operational squadron following HCU training and later as graduates of the Lancaster Finishing Schools which were established later in the war.(For those destined to join Lancaster squadrons)
     
  7. Robert-w

    Robert-w Well-Known Member

    So how many were sergeants then? I suspect the majority
     
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  8. AlanW

    AlanW Senior Member

    Hi Matthew,
    He was with 149sqdn, flying in Stirlings and then onto Lancasters. Early on in the war, (i think in June 1940) all airmen were given the rank of Sergeant as the lowest rank for aircrew, before that, they could have been any of the other lower ranks such as AC and LAC. Jack and his crew had several different pilots whilst at 149sqdn, 20 ops were flown under R. Redman, who at the start was also a Sergeant, but was a F/O on his last trip with the crew. 1 op was flown under W/Cdr Pickford DFC, 2 under F/O Bemrose, and 9 under F/O Boyle. If you would like to private message me with your email address, i'll send you a zip file with a section of the 149sqdn Record Book which covers the ops flown.
     
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  9. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    I thought it was No 149 Squadron which may have be the last Stiring squadron to convert to the Lancaster when their targets were changed to German targets and appropriate to the much superior altitude capability of the Lancaster.The Stiring low bombing height was recognised as a distinct disadvantage.

    For the Resistance drops they had a detachment to Tempsford but held on to their Stirings until September 1944.

    No 149 Squadron brings back memories of one of our wartime Air Gunners on Lincolns who had served on No 149 Squadron...had 41 ops under his belt and was a F/S or Chiefy as he was known on the squadron. His final promotion,post war was to Warrant Officer which at the time the AM had brought in a new structure for non commissioned aircrew,that of "Master" in place of Warrant Officer. Chiefy B became a Master Gunner from one of the structural changes that the AM were prone to make in the organisation

    I met him again at a reunion about 10 years ago and we had a long chat about my time with him on the same squadron..No 97 Squadron in 1953/54.His daughter said to me that has brightened Dad's day to talk about the days long passed on the squadron.He certainly was a well respected character with the groundcrew.
     
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  10. Matthew Eyre

    Matthew Eyre Member

    Alan it won't let me DM you a message as just joined, if you can message me I'll send my e mail, many thanks
     
  11. Matthew Eyre

    Matthew Eyre Member

    Ted Sweet who wrote "Enemy Below" was apparently his wireless operator. Jacks service number is 1894372 if that helps
     
  12. Matthew Eyre

    Matthew Eyre Member

    I've just spoken to my cousin, Jack's crew stayed together throughout, and were very close. They would all go and stay at Jack's mothers in Peckham on leave. They had a dodgy landing with Redman after a particularly bad op, and he was going to be disciplined but the crew stuck up for him, which is why Wing Commander Pickford was with them for one sortie. Here is the appendix to Ted Sweet's book , which mentions Jack seeing Violet Szabo being dropped in to France, amazing. I don't have the full names of the other crew (Reg) apart from Ted and Phil Carter who would be the other gunner, but will buy the book.
     

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  13. Matthew Eyre

    Matthew Eyre Member

    in case the attached file above doesn't open
     

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  14. Markyboy

    Markyboy Member

    Cheers for the info, I've added that book to my wishlist as well.
     
  15. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    Digressing........The Liberator operation was carried out by the Harrington Carpetbaggers ,a dedicated USAAF squadron carrying clandestine operations...the No 801st Squadron of the No 492 Bomb Group....recorded as mission 620 in the operations diary.

    The four agents were dropped at the DZ close to Les Clos south of Sussac where Violette Szabo spent the rest of the night with Philippe Liewer above a shop in the village square.

    The other two agents dropped on that night of 7 June 1944 were Jean Claude Guiet and Robert Maloubier

    There is a plaque to Violette Szabo's memory at Les Clos on the D 39 (a minor road) a small distance down the slope from where she landed.

    As I recollect,a wonderful area for a rural holiday.
     

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