Sgt D S Sidhu--The night of 28/29 April 1943
( click on crew picture to enlarge)
Stirling W7513 crew - Sgt. David Church on extreme left, Sgt. Patrick Torre Hunter 2nd left, Sgt. Devinder Singh Sidhu 3rd from left, centre Sgt. Keith Halliburton (the three on the right of Sgt Halliburton most probably are Air/Bmr Sgt Thomas Scarfe , Air/Gnr SgtCharles Henry George Boxall and Air/Gnr Sgt Alexander Clunie HowellRNZAF'S 75 Squadron motto, Ake ake kia kaha: "For ever and ever be strong", where 'ake ake' means '(for)ever (for)ever' and 'kia kaha' means 'be strong'.-Sgt Sidhu and W7513 were part of 75 (NZ ) Sqn during WW2
Ake ake kia kaha is also the marching song of the 28th Maori Battalion, whose 3500 members went on to win fame in World War Two as shock troops in Greece, Crete, North Africa and Italy.
FO LK * SONG
| Te Ope Māori Hīkoi kia toa|
Te Ope Māori kia kaha ra
Te Ope Māori hikoi kia kororia ai
Mauria te hōnore o te iwi.
Ka hīkoi mātou ki te hoariri
Whawhaitia tae noa ki te mutunga
Mō te Atua! Mo te kingi! Me te whenua!
AU-E!, ake ake kia kaha e!
| Maori Battalion march to victory|
Maori Battalion so very staunch
Maori Battalion march to glory
Be the living expression of the people's honour.
We will march to the enemy
Put them to flight at the end.
For God! For King! And for country!
AU - E! Forever and ever be strong!
W7513 took off at 20.42 hrs from R.A.F. Newmarket in Suffolk.It was part of a huge 207 aircraft force on a "Gardening" (Mine laying) operation. A total of 593 mines were laid off Heligoland, in the river Elbe and in the Great and Little Belts. Low cloud base forced the aircraft to fly very low over the German and Danish coasts. Because of this they took very heavy flak and also attacks from Luftwaffe night fighters. Records confirm that there was a German flak ship also operating the coast that night. 68 Lancasters, 60 Halifaxes, 47 Wellingtons, 32 Stirlings - were involved in the operations that night. 167 aircraft laid 593 mines off Heligoland, in the River Elbe and in the Great and Little Belts. Low cloud over the German and Danish coasts forced the minelayers to fly low in order to establish their positions before laying their mines and much German light Flak activity was seen. 22 aircraft - 7 Lancasters, 7 Stirlings, 6 Wellingtons, 2 Halifaxes - were lost. This was the heaviest loss of aircraft while minelaying in the war, but the number of mines laid was the highest in one night.
6 Mosquitoes had also carried out a raid to Wilhelmshaven, dropping many flares to divert attention from that part of the minelaying force which was operating nearby. No Mosquitoes were lost.Although this was the largest mine laying operation in one night of the whole war it came at a price. A total of 22 aircraft were lost (75 Squadron lost 4 aircraft alone, with a total of 28 crew members killed) - 9 aircraft were lost by the night fighters and the remainder from the flak. Stirling W7513 is not on the Luftwaffe claims list for this raid so it is thought that it had been taken down by flak - Possibly shot down near the
target area, the plane and the crew disappeared without a trace.
"28 - 29 april 1943 (00.35 hours) The Langelands Bælt near Vesternæs. Stirling Mk I W7513 (AA-G)
No 75 Sqn, Newmarket, Suffolk. Minelaying: The western part of the Fehmarn Belt (7 MIA).
Date: 28/29th April 1943 Mission: Gardening
Unit: No.75 Squadron (R.N.Z.A.F.)
Type: Stirling I
Base: Newmarket, Suffolk
Location: Unknown - probably over target area.
Pilot: Sgt. Keith Halliburton 415411 R.N.Z.A.F. Age 23. Killed
Fl/Eng: Sgt. Devinder Singh Sidhu 946455 R.A.F.V.R. Age26 ? Killed
Nav: Sgt. Patrick Torre Hunter 42297 R.N.Z.A.F. Age 29. Killed
Air/Bmr: Sgt. Leslie Thomas Scarfe 1261331 R.A.F.V.R. Age 21. Killed
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. David Church 1196564 R.A.F.V.R. Age 29. Killed
Air/Gnr: Sgt. Charles Henry George Boxall 1393248 Age ? Killed
Air/Gnr: Sgt. Alexander Clunie Howell 392104 Age 23. Killed