On the 30th of May 1944, just a week before D-Day, a new batch of trainee airmen arrived at RAF Chipping Warden, near Banbury in England. Pilots, navigators, bomb aimers, wireless operators and gunners. It was here at No.12 Operational Training Unit that they would form into crews and begin training to fly the RAF's ‘heavy’ bombers.

Among the new intake were three New Zealanders, two Canadians and an Englishman who somehow found each other and decided to make up a crew. Later they were joined by a young Scottish flight engineer and completed their training to operate the legendary Lancaster bomber. They would go on to fly 32 war operations together with 75(NZ) Squadron RAF, 19 of those in one particular aircraft, Lancaster HK601 JN-D "Dog".

Dog herself would go on to complete 84 operations and survive the war, a remarkable feat. However, on one of her very last trips, one particularly frightening night over Eastern Germany, she almost didn't come back.

Johnny Wood, Jack Pauling, Jim Hooper, Gerry Newey, Doug Williamson, Jack Cash, Ralph Sparrow, Dennis Jones, Alan Rowe, Ron Schoefield and others.

This website is dedicated to the boys who flew Lancaster JN-D "Dog" and the boys on the ground who kept her in the air.

Read moreIntroduction

Morning tea at Ron’s place

Last Saturday I was lucky enough to attend a special morning tea at the Edmund Hillary Retirement Village at Remuera for a few of the remaining Bomber Command veterans in the Auckland-Hamilton area. It was organised by the New Zealand Bomber Command Association.   I picked …

Read moreMorning tea at Ron’s place

Air Gunners, Mepal 1945

In the last post there was a letter written to Mr & Mrs Williamson by Wing Commander C. H. “Mac” Baigent, DFC and Bar (later DSO and AFC), Officer Commanding 75 (NZ) Squadron, sending condolences for their missing son, Sgt …

Read moreAir Gunners, Mepal 1945

Failed To Return …

Yesterday morning I called in to have coffee, cheese & crackers with Dougie and Janet, and to wish Doug a belated Happy Birthday!   While we were catching up, Janet produced a folder marked “RAF”, in which she had kept …

Read moreFailed To Return …

Happy Birthday Dougie!

The JN-Dog boys’ Flight Engineer and last surviving Johnny Wood crew member Doug Williamson turns 94 today. Dougie was born on the 8th of August 1925 at Seafield House in Roslin, near Edinburgh in Scotland, the son of a bookmaker …

Read moreHappy Birthday Dougie!

The other JN-Dogs

HK601 wasn’t the only Lancaster known as “JN-Dog”. When the squadron was converting from Stirlings to Lancasters in March-April 1944, crews were sent across to Lancaster Finishing School at Feltwell, for a week or so of ground familiarisation and a …

Read moreThe other JN-Dogs

Thanks Simon!

Simon Sommerville has very kindly given us a link and a plug on his fantastic 75(NZ) Squadron RAF website:   https://75nzsquadron.wordpress.com/2019/05/02/the-jn-dog-boys-new-website/   I’ve mentioned before how much Simon’s work has helped my own research, but it’s well worth mentioning again. …

Read moreThanks Simon!

New photos of Ralph

Ralph Sparrow’s grandson David has sent through some more wonderful photos from the family, these from Ralph’s daughter Susan’s collection. She has also sent a set of documents from Ralph’s RCAF files, including his service record, discharge papers, etc. These …

Read moreNew photos of Ralph