Tuesday, October 26, 2010

#9 Sgt Sidhu's Sqn

Sgt Sidhu had been posted to No 75 Sqn which was operating from Newmarket, England, when his bomber W7513 had been shot down off the coast of Denmark on night 28/29 april 1943 while on a minelaying mission.

No. 75 Squadron RNZAF was formed from the RAF's World War II bomber squadron, No. 75 Squadron, which had been initially equipped by the New Zealand government and was largely manned by New Zealanders. The squadron was created when, in a unique gesture, the squadron number, colours and battle honours were transferred to the RNZAF in 1946. It had flown more sorties and suffered more casualties than any other in the European theatre.

No. 75 Squadron Royal Flying Corps (later RAF) was formed as a home defence fighter unit in World War I but disbanded at the end of the war. The squadron reformed at Driffield on 15 March 1937 as part of the RAF expansion in the mid 1930s, with transfer of pilots from No. 215 Squadron RAF, being equipped with four Vickers Virginias and seven Avro Anson for bomber training. The squadron later operated Handley Page Harrows which were replaced by Ansons in 1939, operating again in a training role alongside No 15 Operational Training Unit. Meanwhile, the New Zealand government had ordered 30 modern Vickers Wellington bombers to replace its Vickers Vildebeests. Aircrew were sent to England to train on these new aircraft before flying them back to New Zealand. They and their aircraft were attached to 15 OTU.

In August 1939, with war seeming increasingly likely, the New Zealand government offered to lend Britain both men and machines. These took over the "75" squadron number, the letters (NZ) being added in brackets afterwards.

75 was the first of the "brackets" squadrons. Ultimately, six other New Zealand units, as well as Australian, Belgian, Canadian, Czech, French, Greek, Hong Kong, Indian, Norwegian, Polish and South African squadrons were formed within the RAF, until the practice ceased in 1942. These squadrons were usually formed around aircrews from the named nation, replacement aircrew where possible coming from that nation as well, although most ground crew were British. Although often referred to, then and since, as an RNZAF unit, 75 squadron was equipped and controlled by the RAF until VJ day.

W7513 was part of a batch of 150 Short s.29 Stirlings delivered by Austin Motors between Feb42 and May42. Contract No.B982939/39. It was initially delivered to No.15 Sqn on 27Mar42, following unspecified accident it was repaired in Short Belfast Works, than to No.10MU on 7Nov42, to No.149 Sqn on 2Jan43, to No.75 Sqn on 4Mar43. W7513 was one of four No.75 Sqn Stirlings lost on this operation. Airborne at 2042 on 28Apr43 from Newmarket on a mine laying detail in the Radish Region of the Fehmarn-Belt. Lost without trace. All are commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial. Sgt K.Halliburton RNZAF KIA Sgt D.S.Sidhu KIA Sgt P.T.Hunter RNZAF KIA Sgt L.T.Scarfe KIA sgt D.Church KIA Sgt C.H.G.Boxall KIA Sgt A.C.Howell RNZAF KIA. Read on , the story continues------

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