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 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.

The Frank Scott crew while on Stirlings:
Back L-R: F/S Stephen Cook (A/B), Sgt (later F/S) Ronald Howson (W/Op).
Front L-R: F/S Leslie “Red” Hill (navigator), Sgt Alan Mantle (mid-upper gunner), Sgt Frank Scott (skipper), Sgt Reginald Dale (rear gunner), F/S “Max” Harris (F/E).
– Frank Scott photo album, courtesy of Jan Dodgson.

One of the three Lancasters they flew in to Mepal was ND802, which arrived on the 8th of April, 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 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.

At 02.07 hrs they were attacked by a night fighter, hit in the fuselage and the Lancaster caught fire. Frank gave the order to bale out but bravely stayed with the aircraft. Five crew members managed to bale out, but the Lancaster started to break up in mid-air – sadly F/S Steve Cook and F/S Ron Howson didn’t make it out and died with Frank in the crash. Four of the surviving crew were captured quite quickly but ‘2nd dickie’ pilot W/O Ron Clark managed to evade for almost three months, before eventually also becoming a prisoner of war.

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” , Spectator Films, 1944.

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.

On the way back from an early morning attack on enemy troops and armoured concentrations near Amay-sur-Suelles in France, their 24th op’, George Nairne and his crew were crossing the English Channel in low, heavy cloud. At 08.00 hrs HK558 is thought to have collided with another Lancaster, as witnessed by a nearby minesweeper. George and all his crew were killed, with only the body of the RAF Air Bomber recovered and buried at sea.

– More about George Nairne here.

Tom McGibbon (centre) was a Flight Mechanic Engines (FME) in “C” Flight, so the Lancaster behind is probably a newly-arrived JN-D (no op’s yet marked).
– Tom McGibbon collection via Ronnie/nordicul, Wings Over NZ forum.

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

Ake ake kia kaha

Acknowledgements: Special thanks to Jan Dodgson, cousin of Frank Scott, for access to Frank’s logbook and permission to reproduce the crew photo above.

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