Halifax W1165 was one of thirteen No. 35 Squadron aircraft detailed to attack Cologne on the night of the 15th / 16th October 1942.
Its seven-man crew comprised:
- Oscar William Rees (Pilot)
- Herbert Brian Felix Lymna (Navigator)
- PA Taylor (Air Bomber)
- Henry Randolph McMahon Stroud (Wireless Operator)
- GF Calver (Air Gunner)
- William Gordon Leslie Brown (Air Gunner)
- John Maurice Mitchell (Flight Engineer)
The squadron’s Operations Record Book shows “The aircraft was caught in a cone of searchlights and received severe hits by flak, which wounded three members of the crew (GF Calver, HRM Stroud and WGL Brown) and damaged the aircraft considerably, puncturing the starboard and tail wheels. Despite the serious handicap, an excellent landing was made at Martlesham when the three injured members of the crew were taken immediately to hospital. Sgt Calver’s injuries being so serious that both legs were amputated”
AM Form 78
The AM Form 78 (Movement Card) shows that the aircraft was classified as FB AC. It was repaired on site and returned to the squadron on 26th December 1942.
- WGL Brown appears to have returned to operational flying by February 1943
- HRM Stroud appears to have returned to operational flying by August 1943
London Gazette (24/11/1942)
- Distinguished Flying Cross: Awarded to OW Rees
- Distinguished Flying Medal: Awarded to HRM Stroud
One night in October, 1942, Pilot Officer Rees and Flight Sergeant Stroud were captain and wireless operator/air gunner respectively of an aircraft detailed to attack Cologne. The target was bombed successfully and Flying Officer Rees continued his run in an endeavour to obtain photograph. Whilst so doing, the aircraft was hit by anti aircraft fire. Two engines were damaged and the turrets rendered unserviceable. Flight Sergeant Stroud and 2 other members of the crew were wounded. By skilful airmanship, Pilot Officer Rees succeeded in evading the defences and headed for home. Meanwhile, the injured members of his crew were made as comfortable as possible. When an aerodrome in this country was reached, Flight Sergeant Stroud, although in much pain, insisted on returning to his wireless set and, supported by the flight engineer, transmitted the necessary signals. In spite of difficulties, Pilot Officer Rees landed his damaged aircraft safely. Both these members of the crew displayed great courage and resolution.
Extract from OW Rees’ Flying Log Book
[Courtesy of Andy Rees]