Dog

Avro Lancaster B.I (Mark 1) serial number HK601 was built by Vickers Armstrong in their Castle Bromwich factory.

HK601 was fitted with four Rolls-Royce Merlin 22 12-Cylinder, 60 degree vee-type liquid cooled in-line engines, each with a two-speed supercharger, providing 1,435 hp at 11,000 ft. . Top speed was 275 mph at 15,000 ft, with 360 mph achievable in a hard dive. Cruising speed loaded up was around 155 mph.

She could carry up to 14,000 lbs (6350 kg) of bombs in a 33 ft (10.0 m) long under-fuselage internal bomb bay.

HK601 was taken on strength at 75 (NZ) Squadron, Mepal on the 4th of August 1944, and was allocated to “C” Flight, given the code “JN-D”, radio call sign “D for Dog”.

Her predecessor, HK558, JN-D had been lost with all crew on the 30th of July, returning from her 21st operation, a daylight raid on Amaye Sur Seulles in support of the American ground attack in the Villers Bocage-Caumont area.

More about that story here.

She inherited her own dedicated four-man ground crew to maintain her engines and bodywork – Cpl Ron Schoefield, Sgt. Alan Rowe, L.A.C. Dennis Jones (Flight Mechanic Engines) and one other whose name we don’t know. The ground crew became very attached to and proud of their aircraft and JN-Dog was to go on and complete 84 operations – in squadron slang, she was a “Gen Kite”.

HK601’s first op’ was on the 11th of August, an attack on Lens, coincidentally flown by another Flying Officer Wood, RNZAF, and his crew.

She carried a piece of ‘dog’ nose-art based on Hottie Lahm’s wartime cartoon character “Snifter”, painted on by one of her ground crew, probably Dog’s FME (engine mechanic) Dennis Jones, who kept a tattered page from a “MAN” magazine amongst his photos:

“Snifter”, from a page in the February 1944 issue of
“MAN” magazine, with Dennis’s hand-written caption.
– Dennis Jones collection, via Glynis Bakker.

MAN was an Australian magazine, so the nickname and nose art probably originated with the Sam Wilson crew, and would have been applied around September-October 1944.

More about the dog on the nose here.

HK601 had already completed 50 op’s when the Johnny Wood crew took her over.

She originally had an H2S radar blister under her fuselage, but this was removed at the end of March 1945 to make way for the fitting of a downward-pointing 0.5″ mid-under machine gun, to counter German nightfighters with upward-firing cannon (Schräge Musik)


Avro Lancaster B1 #HK601, JN-D, list of operational sorties
”C” Flight, 75 (New Zealand) Squadron RAF, Mepal, August 1944 – May 1945

Op’s flown by J. Wood crew in bold
– dnc = did not complete sortie

(Op’ no.) , Date , Crew , Target

(1) 11 August 44, F. Wood, Lens

(2) 12/13 August 44, Timms , Russelheim

(3) 14 Aug 44, Scott, Hamm

(4) 15 Aug 44, O’Callaghan, St Trond

(5) 16/17 Aug 44, Waugh, Stettin

(6) 18/19 Aug 44, Waugh, Bremen

(7) 25/26 Aug 44, Wilson, Russelheim

(8) 29/30 Aug 44, Scott, Stettin

(9) 31 August 44, McCartin, Pont Remy (damaged by flak, 4 strikes – AIR 14:3463)

(10) 5 Sep 44, Wilson, Le Havre

(11) 6 Sep 44, Robertson, Harquebec

(12) 8 Sep 44, Cumings, Doudeneville

(13) 10 Sep 44, Wilson, Montvilliers

(14) 11 Sep 44, Wilson, Kamen

(15) 12/13 Sep 44, O’Callaghan, Frankfurt

(16) 14 Sep 44, May, Waasenaar

(17) 16 Sep 44, Wilson, Moerdijk

(18) 17 Sep 44, McCartin, Emmerich

(19) 20 Sep 44, Cumings, Calais

(20) 23 Sep 44, Scott, Neuss

(21) 25 Sep 44, Boyer, Calais

(22) 26 Sep 44, Boyer, Cap Griz Nez

(dnc) 28 Sep 44, McIntosh, Calais Technical problem discovered shortly after take off, landed Woodbridge.

(23) 3 Oct 44, Scott, West Kappelle Dyke

(24) 5 Oct 44, Wilson, Saarbrücken

(25) 6 Oct 44, Wilson, Dortmund

(26) 7 Oct 44, Wilson, Emmerich

(27) 14 Oct 44, Wilson, Duisburg

(28) 14/15 Oct 44, Wilson, Duisburg

(29) 18 Oct 44, Wilson, Bonn (damaged by flak, 1 strike – AIR 14:3463)

(30) 19/20 Oct 44, Wilson, Stuttgart

(31) 21 Oct 44, Wilson, Flushing

(32) 23 Oct 44, Wilson, Essen

(33) 25 Oct 44, Wilson, Essen (damaged by flak, 2 strikes – AIR 14:3463)

(34) 26 Oct 44, Butler, Leverkusen

(35) 28 Oct 44, Wilson, Cologne (damaged by flak, 2 strikes – AIR 14:3463)

(36) 30 Oct 44, Wilson, Wesseling

(37) 2 Nov 44, McIntosh, Homberg (damaged by flak, 1 strike – AIR 14:3463)

(38) 4 Nov 44, Andrew, Solingen

(39) 5 Nov 44, Simpson, Solingen

(40) 6/7 Nov 44, Simpson, Koblenz

(41) 11 Nov 44, Wilson, Castrop Rauxel (damaged by flak, 5 strikes – AIR 14:3463)

(42) 15 Nov 44, Wilson, Dortmund

(43) 16 Nov 44, Wilson, Heinsberg

(44) 20 Nov 44, Wilson, Homberg

(45) 21 Nov 44, McIntosh, Homberg (damaged by flak, 2 strikes – AIR 14:3463)

(46) 23 Nov 44, Williams, Gelsenkirchen

HK601 JN-D “Dog” (left) at dispersal, 25 November 1944.
– Detail from “Preparations” (computer rendering), by Piotr Forkasiewicz.

(47) 27 Nov 44, Ford, Cologne (damaged by flak, 1 strike – AIR 14:3463)

(48) 28/29 Nov 44, Simpson, Neuss

(49) 4 Dec 44, Hannan, Oberhausen

(50) 5 Dec 44, Hannan, Hamm

(51) 8 Dec 44, J. Wood, Duisburg

(52) 12 Dec 44, J. Wood, Witten

(dnc) 16 Dec 44, J. Wood, Siegen Returned early. Stb inner u/s icing. Didn’t reach target. All bombs jettisoned.

(53) 21 Dec 44, J. Wood, Trier

(54) 31 Dec 44, J. Wood, Vohwinkel

(55) 3 Jan 45, J. Wood, Dortmund

(56) 5 Jan 45, Crawford, Ludwigshafen (damaged by flak, 6 strikes – AIR 14:3463)

(57) 7/8 Jan 45, McDonald, Munich

– Maintenance? Russell crew flew her back to Mepal from RAF Waterbeach on 17 Jan 45.

(58) 28 Jan 45, Thomson, Gremberg

(59) 29 Jan 45, J. Wood, Krefeld

(60) 1 Feb 45, Zinzan, Munchen Gladbach

(61) 2/3 Feb 45, J. Wood, Wiesbaden

(62) 3 Feb 45, J. Wood, Dortmund

(63) 13/14 Feb 45, J. Wood, Dresden

(64) 14/15 Feb 45, J. Wood, Chemnitz

(65) 22 Feb 45, Stevenson, Osterfeld (damaged by flak, 3 strikes – AIR 14:3463)

(66) 23 Feb 45, Jones, Gelsenkirchen

(67) 25 Feb 45, Woodcock, Kamen

(68) 26 Feb 45, Jones, Dortmund

(69) 27 Feb 45, Woodcock, Gelsenkirchen

(70) 28 Feb 45, Shaw, Nordstern (damaged by flak, 2 strikes – AIR 14:3463)

(71) 1 Mar 45, Shaw, Kamen

(dnc) 2 Mar 45, J. Wood, Cologne (damaged by flak, 2 strikes – AIR 14:3463) None of squadron’s a/c bombed due to G-H equipment failure. Jettisoned part of bomb load due to flak damage to engine

(72) 4 Mar 45, J. Wood, Wanne Eickel

(73) 5 Mar 45, J. Wood, Gelsenkirchen

(74) 6 Mar 45, Opie, Salzburgen

(75) 7/8 Mar 45, J. Wood, Dessau

(76) 9 Mar 45, Flamank, Datteln

(77) 10 Mar 45, J. Wood, Gelsenkirchen Buer

(78) 17 Mar 45, J. Wood, Auguste Viktoria, Hüls

(79) 18 Mar 45, Sinclair, Bruchstrasse (carried a 12,000 lb ‘blockbuster’ bomb, damaged by flak, 3 strikes – AIR 14:3463)

(80) 21 Mar 45, Amohanga, Munster Viaduct

(81) 27 Mar 45, Thompson, Hamm

(82) 29 Mar 45, J. Wood, Saltzgitter

HK601 shown with 82 op’s marked, perhaps as she would have looked on the night of 4/5 April 1945, when she was hit on the way in to the target, the Leuna works at Merseburg.
(adapted from artwork by the late Pete West).


(83) 4/5 Apr 45, J. Wood, Merseburg , damaged and caught fire

The aircraft sustained Category AC / A3 damage (AIR 14:3463, Form 78), ie., “repair is beyond the unit capacity”. The crew landed at RAF Manston, and Gerry Newey records in his diary, after viewing the fire damage on the morning of 5th of April, that “all fuselage forward of the wing will have to be renewed”.

12 April 45 – repaired by No. 54 Maintenance Unit (ROS = Repairable On Site)

HK601 flew one more op’:

(84) 13/14 Apr 45, Shaw, Kiel

Not recorded in the ORB, but Dennis Jones says the crew landed at Woodbridge crash drome on return from this final op’, reason not known.

84 op’s completed over a period of eight months made her one of the squadron’s veterans, even more creditable when set against the average expected operational life of a Lancaster bomber – only 40 hours!

A new “JN-D” (NF981) appears in the ORB by 30th April, and HK601 is not listed in any further operations.

28 May 45 – transferred back to 75 (NZ) Sqdn books.

22 June 45 – transferred to No. 10 M.U.

Large numbers of Lancasters were stored at locations all around the U.K. after the war ended, awaiting disposal.

31 October 1946 – HK601 was Struck Off Charge (SOC), and reduced to scrap.

Aircraft Movement Card for Avro Lancaster HK601
– Simon Sommerville.

The other JN-Dogs

HK601 wasn’t the only aircraft known as “JN-Dog”.

All aircraft coded “D” were given the radio call-sign “D for Dog”, so all the “AA-D” and “JN-D” coded aircraft that flew with 75(NZ) Squadron were Dogs.

But only the aircraft of “C” Flight were coded JN, and “C” Flight didn’t come into existence until April 1943, after the Wellingtons had gone. So only Stirlings and Lancasters carried the JN codes. Strangely, we haven’t yet come across a Stirling that was coded JN-D.

When the squadron was converting from Stirlings to Lancasters, crews were sent across to Lancaster Finishing School at Feltwell, for a week or so of ground familiarisation and a couple of flights in the school’s own Lancasters.

As soon as they had completed their conversion, Sgt Frank Scott and his crew (from “C” Flight) were assigned to Mepal’s parent base, RAF Waterbeach, for ten days to test fly and deliver brand new Lancasters to the squadron.

One of the three Lancasters they flew in to Mepal was ND802, which was allocated to C Flight, given the code JN-D and became their regular “kite”. You have to assume that they picked her for themselves, and they immediately gave her the nickname “The Flying Scottsmen”.

She was sent into action immediately, flying an operation the following day with the Murray crew. Sadly ND802 only completed 1o more op’s with the squadron, seven of those with the FAJ Scott crew.

Frank and two of his crew were killed when ND802 JN-D for “Dog” was shot down early in the morning of 28.5.44 over Gilze-en-Rijen in southern Netherlands on the run in to their target, Aachen.

Two days before ND802 was lost, on the 25th of May, a film crew had arrived at RAF Mepal to make a ‘movie’ about a typical operation on a Lancaster bomber station, called “Maximum Effort”. At one point in the film, a Lancaster coded JN-D taxies past the camera. It’s possible that it is ND802 and the Scott boys heading off on their final op’, but seems more likely that it was taken some time over the subsequent weeks of filming and is her replacement, HK558:

Either ND802 or HK558, seen taxying in the film “Maximum Effort”

Lancaster HK558 arrived on the 2nd of June, was coded JN-D for “Dog” and became the regular “kite” of the George Nairne crew.

She bucked the odds of the time by completing 21 op’s with the squadron, 14 with the Nairne crew, but was also tragically lost on 30th of July 1944.

– More about George Nairne here.

HK601 arrived at Mepal just a few days later, and went on to fly a total of 84 operations, one of the squadron’s veteran Lancasters, eventually retired at war’s end.

Here is a list of the 75(NZ) Squadron RAF aircraft (that we know of) that carried the C Flight code JN-D “Dog”:

Lancaster III ND802 ‘The Flying Scottsmen’: arrived 8.4.44 (flown in by FAJ Scott crew) – lost 27.5.44 (FAJ Scott crew – 3 killed, 5 POW)
Lancaster I HK558: arrived 2.6.44 – lost 30.7.44 (Nairne crew – all killed)
Lancaster I HK601 ‘Snifter’: arrived 4.8.44 – transferred to 10 M.U. 22.6.45
Lancaster I NF981: arrived 30.8.44 as JN-Y, re-coded JN-D 14.4.45 – transferred to 44 Sqdn 21.7.45