Date: 24/25th June 1943 (Thursday/Friday)
Unit: No. 75 Squadron R.N.Z.A.F
Type: Stirling III
Base: R.A.F. Newmarket, Suffolk
Location: Wissenkerke, off the Dutch island of Beveland.
Pilot: P/O. Norman Bradford Bluck 40364 R.N.Z.A.F. Age 22. Killed
Fl/Eng: Sgt. John William Gillard 938834 R.A.F.V.R. Age 24. Killed
Nav: Fl/Sgt. James Brett Cooksey 416460 R.N.Z.A.F. Age 23. Killed
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Geoffrey Walter Strong 413905 R.N.Z.A.F. Age 31. Killed
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Michael Kendlan 1072258 R.A.F.V.R. Age ? Killed
Air/Gnr: Sgt. Douglas Armitage 1434609 R.A.F.V.R. Age 19. Killed
Air/Gnr: Sgt. Lesley Ronald Cant 1397680 R.A.F.V.R. Age ? Killed
REASON FOR LOSS:
Took off at 23.27 hrs from R.A.F. Newmarket, Suffolk.
Either on the way to the target or returning, thought to have been hit by flak, crashing into the sea off Wissenkerke on the Dutch island of Beveland. No claims made by night fighters for this aircraft
75 Squadron sent 13 aircraft to Wuppertal on the night of 24/25th June, 1943. One aircraft returned early owing to an unserviceable rear turret and one failed to return. The attack was made with incendiary bombs both 30 lb. and 4 lb. Flak was heavy over the target and night fighters were also encountered. The attack was considered to be very successful.
630 aircraft took part on this operation which devastated the Elberfeld region of the city. 171 industrial buildings and around 3,000 houses were destroyed, a further 53 industrial and 2,500 houses severely damaged. Deaths on the ground amounted to 1,800 people killed and 2,400 injured. 34 aircraft failed to return.
Information sent by Robert Strong:
From this base he took part is 10 operational flights at targets including Dortmund, Dusseldorf (x 2), Wuppertal (x 2), Krefield and Mulheim in Germany, also sea mining to the Friesian Islands and Bordeaux and Le Creusot in France.
In an operation to attack Wuppertal on the night of June 24/25th, 1943 his aircraft failed to return and all of the crew were classified as missing.
Through the Red Cross it was reported that the body of Flight Sergeant Strong was washed up on the shore of the island of Nordbeueland and he was listed as killed in action. He is buried in the Flushing general Cemetery, Holland. - See more at: http://www.aircrewremembered.com/raf1943/bluck.html#sthash.f3n9GzDv.dpuf