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6 November 2017
Crew 37, Pilot Frederick Harold Ridgewell – 462 Squadron RAAF

 

 

 

Wanted: Photo of Ridgewell Crew, or individuals,
and information about them.

If you can help, please make contact.

Headstone and Memorial photos on this page were supplied by and used
with the permission of John Dann, UK, © Copyright 2013.

Photos of Sgt John George Lynch were supplied by and used
with the permission of his nephew Eddie Lynch.

 

Crew 37, 462 Squadron, Driffield, Yorkshire and also Foulsham, Norfolk.

Pilot: Frederick Harold RIDGEWELL (KIA)
Navigator: Wilhelm Julius MANN (PoW)
Bomb Aimer: William Kenneth WATSON (PoW)
Wireless Operator: John Raymond BOYCE (PoW)
Flight Engineer: Robert Greenwell HODGSON (PoW)
Mid-Upper Gunner: George Edward ROLLS (KIA)
Rear Gunner: John George LYNCH (KIA)
Special Duties: Thomas PAWSEY (KIA)

Four members of this crew were killed on a night Op to the Ruhr area on 24 February 1945, in Halifax III MZ448 Z5-W. The other four became Prisoners of War. Three other crews from 462 Squadron also failed to return from this Op.

Links to additional Crew information, and Crew Ops, Aircraft Loss, Football (?)
Reference sources – Australian WW2 Nominal Roll; The National Archives of Australia (Service Files, Casualty Files, Loss of Aircraft File, 462 Squadron Operational Record Book); Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

 

Inscription on Runnymede Memorial, Panel 265, for Frederick Harold Ridgewell, 149967 RAFVR, 462 Squadron.
Photo by John Dann, UK, © Copyright 2013.

Memorial: Panel 265, Runnymede Memorial, Surrey, UK

 

Pilot

Name: Frederick Harold RIDGEWELL
Service: Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Service Number: 149967
Date of Birth: 8 April 1921
Place of Birth: .....
Date of Enlistment: .....
Locality on Enlistment: .....
Place of Enlistment: .....
Marital Status: Single
Next of Kin: Mrs C A Ridgewell (mother)
Date of Death: 25 February 1945 (ref CWGC)
Rank at Death: Flight Lieutenant
Posting at Death: 462 Squadron RAAF, Foulsham
Prisoner of War: No

Age at Death: 23
Grave reference: No known grave
Memorial: Panel 265, Runnymede Memorial, Surrey, UK
Son of Frederick and Charlotte Ridgewell, of Putney, London.
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Navigator

Name: Wilhelm Julius MANN
Service: Royal Australian Air Force
Service Number: 437274
Date of Birth: 2 May 1910
Place of Birth: Kapunda, South Australia
Date of Enlistment: 5 December 1942
Locality on Enlistment: Lobethal, South Australia
Place of Enlistment: Adelaide, South Australia
Marital Status: Married
Next of Kin: Dorothy Mann (wife)
Date of Discharge: 21 December 1945
Rank at Discharge: Flight Lieutenant
Posting at Discharge: 5 Medical Rehabilitation Unit
Prisoner of War: Yes
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Bomb Aimer

Name: William Kenneth WATSON
Service: Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Service Number: 154341
Date of Birth: 16 November 1909
Place of Birth: .....
Date of Enlistment: .....
Locality on Enlistment: .....
Place of Enlistment: .....
Marital Status: Married
Next of Kin: Mrs Joan Watson (wife)
Date of Discharge: .....
Rank at Discharge: .....
Posting at Discharge: ......
Prisoner of War: Yes
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Wireless Operator

Name: John Raymond BOYCE
Service: Royal Australian Air Force
Service Number: 432692
Date of Birth: 19 June 1916
Place of Birth: Duntroon, Aust. Capital Territory
Date of Enlistment: 19 January 1943
Locality on Enlistment: Not recorded
Place of Enlistment: Sydney, New South Wales
Marital Status: Single
Next of Kin: Mother, Amy Boyce
Date of Discharge: 26 April 1946
Rank at Discharge: Flight Lieutenant
Posting at Death: 2 Medical Rehabilitation Unit
Prisoner of War: Yes
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Flight Engineer

Name: Robert Greenwell HODGSON
Service: Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Service Number: 1592935
Date of Birth: 5 October 1924
Place of Birth: .....
Date of Enlistment: .....
Locality on Enlistment: .....
Place of Enlistment: .....
Marital Status: Single
Next of Kin: Robert William Hodgson (father)
Date of Discharge: .....
Rank at Discharge: .....
Posting at Discharge: .....
Prisoner of War: Yes
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Inscription on Runnymede Memorial, Panel 276, for George Edward Rolls, 644506 RAF, 462 Squadron.
Photo by John Dann, UK, © Copyright 2013.

Memorial: Panel 276, Runnymede Memorial, Surrey, UK

 

 

 

Mid-Upper Gunner

Name: George Edward ROLLS
Service: Royal Air Force
Service Number: 644506
Date of Birth: 21 May 1921
Place of Birth: .....
Date of Enlistment: .....
Locality on Enlistment: .....
Place of Enlistment: .....
Marital Status: Married
Next of Kin: Audrey Joan Rolls (wife)
Date of Death: 25 February 1945 (ref CWGC)
Rank at Death: Sergeant
Posting at Death: 462 Squadron RAAF, Foulsham
Prisoner of War: No

Age at Death: 23
Grave reference: No known grave
Memorial: Panel 276, Runnymede Memorial, Surrey, UK
Son of George Edward and Janet Margaret Rolls, of Hereford;
Husband of Audrey Joan Rolls, of Hereford.
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Headstone on grave of John George Lynch, 650438 RAF, 462 Squadron.
Photo by John Dann, UK, © Copyright 2013.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rear Gunner

Name: John George LYNCH
Service: Royal Air Force
Service Number: 650438
Date of Birth: 8 July 1919
Place of Birth: .....
Date of Enlistment: .....
Locality on Enlistment: .....
Place of Enlistment: .....
Marital Status: Single
Next of Kin: Edward Lynch (father)
Date of Death: 25 February 1945 (ref CWGC)
Rank at Death: Sergeant
Posting at Death: 462 Squadron RAAF, Foulsham
Prisoner of War: No

Age at Death: 25
Grave reference: Grave VII. G. 13.
Cemetery: Venray War Cemetery,
Limburg, Netherlands.
Son of Edward and Harriet Lynch, of Chester-le-Street, Co. Durham.

The inscription reads:
650438 SERGEANT
J. G. LYNCH
AIR GUNNER
ROYAL AIR FORCE
25TH FEBRUARY 1945 AGE 25

TOO DEARLY LOVED
TO BE FORGOTTEN
EVER REMEMBERED
BY FATHER, BROTHERS & SISTERS

 

 

 

John George Lynch, 650438 RAF, later 462 Squadron, Driffield and Foulsham.
Photo supplied by Eddie Lynch.

John George Lynch, 650438 RAF.

The original photo was undated and the location was not recorded. However John appears to be wearing a civilian suit and tie, so it may have been taken before, or at about the time of his enlistment in the RAF.

 

 

 

John George Lynch, 650438 RAF, later 462 Squadron, Driffield and Foulsham.
Photo supplied by Eddie Lynch.

John George Lynch, 650438 RAF.

This photo was most likely taken at the same time & place as the photo on the left. John was one of six children of Edward & Harriet Lynch. Sadly all are now deceased, including Eddie Lynch's father (John's brother).

 

 

 

John George Lynch, 650438 RAF, later 462 Squadron, Driffield and Foulsham.
Photo supplied by Eddie Lynch.

John George Lynch, 650438 RAF,
later 462 Squadron, Driffield and Foulsham.

This photo is also undated and location unknown. It was most likely taken during training, and he appears to be in a garden, during spring or summer. Sergeant's stripes are not visible, and he does not have the Air Gunner's half wing above his coat pocket. This indicates that he had not completed gunnery training, and was therefore prior to posting to an Operational Training Unit. He is not wearing the cap of a AC2, so may be at the rank of Leading Aircraftman (shoulder badge not visible), suggesting a time of perhaps mid 1942 or mid 1943. On his Arrival Form at 462 Squadron (02 November 1944), he recorded that he had served in the RAF for 6 years (i.e. since 1938, aged 19).

 

 

 

Sergeant John George Lynch, 650438 RAF, later 462 Squadron, Driffield and Foulsham.
Photo supplied by Eddie Lynch.

Sgt John George Lynch, 650438 RAF, in flying gear,
later 462 Squadron, Driffield and Foulsham.

The reverse of the photo above is stamped either 8 or 18 April 1944. Crews usually formed at an OTU, and after further training, were posted on to an Heavy Conversion Unit for training in Halifax bombers. The crew was posted from 1652 HCU at Marston Moor, to 462 Squadron at Driffield in late October 1944 (see later section for individual arrival details and Ridgewell's 1st op on 4 November). On arrival, Lynch's rank of Sergeant was recorded as effective from 14 April 1944. If he had been posted to an OTU soon after he had completed gunnery training (and his subsequent promotion to Sgt), the above photo was most likely taken on the 18 April 1944, at his OTU (location as yet unidentified).

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Inscription on Runnymede Memorial, Panel 267, for Thomas Pawsey, 163583 RAFVR, 462 Squadron.
Photo by John Dann, UK, © Copyright 2013.

Memorial: Panel 267, Runnymede Memorial, Surrey, UK

 

 

Special Duties

Name: Thomas PAWSEY
Service: Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Service Number: 163583
Date of Birth: 24 October 1921
Place of Birth: .....
Date of Enlistment: .....
Locality on Enlistment: .....
Place of Enlistment: .....
Marital Status: Married
Next of Kin: Margaret Pawsey (wife)
Date of Death: 25 February 1945 (Ref CWGC)
Rank at Death: Flying Officer
Posting at Death: 462 Squadron RAAF, Foulsham
Prisoner of War: No

Age at Death: 23
Grave reference: No known grave
Memorial: Panel 267, Runnymede Memorial, Surrey, UK
Son of Thomas and Mary Jane Pawsey;
Husband of Margaret Louisa Pawsey, of Prestwich, Lancashire.

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Additional Crew information (Information sourced from National Archives of Australia Series A9186 Unit History; NAA Series A11385 Loss of Aircraft File containing Air Crew Arrival Forms; The London Gazette; "Footprints on the Sands of Time: RAF Bomber Command Prisoners-of-War in Germany 1939-1945" by Oliver Clutton-Brock; As of 30 June 2016, the NAA Series A9301 Service File and Series A705 Casualty Files for the two RAAF members of this crew (Mann and Boyce) had not been digitized. Therefore, enlistment and training information is not available for them, nor for the other four RAFVR or two RAF members of this crew.)

462 Squadron ORB – There were a few errors for this crew's names and service numbers, but not enough to cause identification problems, and each error was usually only recorded once.

Pilot F H Ridgewell 149967 RAFVR was also listed incorrectly with initials N B and F J; as Ridgeway (File Series A11385); and Service Numbers 148967, 14967 and 1499767.
Nav W J Mann 437274 RAAF was also listed incorrectly with Service Numbers 432274 and 437275.
Bomb Aimer W K Watson 154341 RAFVR was also listed with initials P K and W E; and Service Numbers 154301, and as RAAF 15341 P/O, instead of F/O.
W/OP J R Boyce 432692 RAAF, listed as J W; and with Service Numbers 432274 (very similar to Mann's) and 3422692, and once at rank of F/Sgt instead of F/O.
F/Eng R G Hodgson 1592935 RAFVR, also with initials of R J, and Service Numbers 159293, 1592925, 1592936 and 1897610 (this last Sce No. belonged to Parker who was on the same Op with Smith's Crew).
MU/AG G E Rolls 644506 RAF, with incorrect initials of J D, and once as E C Holls. His Service Number was always correct.
R/AG J G Lynch 650438 RAF was also listed as J C and J W, and once as 650458.
S D W (B/A) T Pawsey 163583 RAFVR was correctly recorded on his only (and fatal) Op with this crew.

All seven permanent members of the Ridgewell crew arrived at 462 Squadron, Driffield in Yorkshire in early November 1944, all being posted on from the same Heavy Conversion Unit, 1652 HCU, Marston Moor, Yorkshire. Ridgewell, Watson, Boyce arrived on 1 November 1944; and Mann, Lynch, Rolls, and Hodgson on 2 November 1944. It seems that some documents were misplaced during November 1944, as the Crew Arrivals in the Squadron ORB Form 540 only list the crew's four officers. Flying Officers Ridgewell, Watson, Mann and Boyce were recorded in the usual sequence of Pilot, B/A, Nav, W/OP in the Officers list; however the arrival of the three NCOs (Sergeants Lynch, Rolls and Hodgson) were not recorded in November nor in any other month.
At the end of December 1944, this crew relocated with the squadron to Foulsham in Norfolk, when it transferred from 4 Group to 100 Group.
Pawsey (Special Duties) arrived on 20 November 1944. He was the Bomb Aimer for Drinkwater's crew 49, posted to 462 Squadron Driffield from 1666 HCU, Wombleton, Yorkshire, commencing Ops on 2 December 1944.

Aircrew Arrival Forms were completed by each crew member in their own hand-writing, and usually signed.

Frederick Harold RIDGEWELL 149967 RAFVR Pilot/Captain – Aircrew Arrival Form, 462 Squadron.
1 November 1944 – arrived at 462 Squadron, Driffield on posting from 1652 Heavy Conversion Unit (HCU), Marston Moor, 4 Group; rank on arrival Flying Officer effective from 18 January 1944; Service RAFVR; aircrew category Pilot; single; next-of-kin was his mother, Mrs C A Ridgewell, of 18 Burstock Road, Putney, London (this address was later changed by letter from Mrs Ridgewell to Florida St, Castle Cary, Somerset); religion Church of England; medical category A1B; types of aircraft previously flown were DH82A, Magister, Master, Oxford, Hurricane, Wellington and Halifax; Courses attended were ITW (Initial Training Wing), Elementary Flying Training School (EFTS), Service Flying Training School (SFTS), FIS (sic, may be EIS?), Advanced Flying Unit (AFU), Operational Training Unit (OTU), and HCU.

From The London Gazette:
Frederick Harold Ridgewell was Commissioned as Pilot Officer 149967 (on probation) from permanent Flight Sergeant 1333210 RAFVR effective 18 July 1943, gazetted 21 September 1943 (Supplement, Issue 36178, page 4179);
Confirmation of Pilot Officer (prob.) and promotion to Flying Officer effective 18 January 1944, gazetted 21 January 1944 (Supplement, Issue 36340, page 423).

Air Force List January 1945 – Flying Officer F. H. Ridgewell effective 18 January 1944.

A letter signed by S/Ldr Jackson regarding the loss of MZ448, refers to F/O Ridgewell as Acting Flight Lieutenant (see later Aircraft Loss section). Later documents and letters in the Aircraft Loss File refer to him as Flight Lieutenant. However this promotion may not have been gazetted, as it has not been located in the London Gazette, and has not been located in the Air Force Lists of January 1945 or July 1945. CWGC lists Ridgewell's rank of Flight Lieutenant at death.

Wilhelm Julius MANN 437274 RAAF Navigator – Aircrew Arrival Form, 462 Squadron.
2 November 1944 – arrived at 462 Squadron, Driffield on posting from 1652 Heavy Conversion Unit (HCU), Marston Moor; rank on arrival Flying Officer; Service GD (Nav B), aircrew category Navigator Bomb Aimer; married as of 23 January 1936; next-of-kin was his wife Dorothy Francis Letty Mann (sic) of Lobethal, South Australia; religion Church of England; medical category not recorded; types of aircraft previously flown were Anson, Battle, Wellington and Halifax; Courses attended were Empire Air Training Scheme (EATS), ACOS, AFU, OTU and HCU.

William Kenneth WATSON 154341 RAFVR Bomb Aimer – Aircrew Arrival Form, 462 Squadron.
1 November 1944 – arrived at 462 Squadron, Driffield on posting from 1652 Conversion Unit (CU), Marston Moor; rank on arrival Flying Officer; Service GD, aircrew category "Air Bomber"; married as of 2 January 1943; next-of-kin was his wife Mrs Joan Watson of Hazeldene, Forest Lane, Harrogate; religion Church of England; medical category suitable all trades flying duties; types of aircraft previously flown were Anson, Wellington and Halifax; Courses attended were ITW, Bombing and Gunnery School (BAGS), Air Observer's School (AOS), Air Crew Officers School (ACOS), AFU, OTU, and CU.

From The London Gazette:
William Kenneth Watson was Commissioned as Pilot Officer 154341 (on probation) from Leading Aircraftman (LAC) 1624196 RAFVR effective 26 November 1943, gazetted 8 February 1944 (Supplement, Issue 36365, page 678);
Confirmation of Pilot Officer (prob.) and promotion to Flying Officer 26 May 1944, gazetted 23 June 1944 (Supplement, Issue 36577, page 2985);
Promotion from Flying Officer to Flight Lieutenant 26 November 1945, gazetted 21 December 1945 (Supplement, Issue 37398, page 6204);
William Kenneth Watson's Commission was relinquished, with permission to retain the rank of F/Lt, effective 16 November 1954, gazetted 1 February 1955 (Supplement, Issue 40396, page 644), indicating that he remained in the RAF post-war.
He must have shown outstanding Officer potential to be Commissioned from the rank of Leading Aircraftman.

John Raymond BOYCE 432692 RAAF Wireless Operator – Aircrew Arrival Form, 462 Squadron.
1 November 1944 – arrived at 462 Squadron, Driffield on posting from 1652 CU, Marston Moor; rank on arrival Flying Officer effective from 11 May 1944; Service GD (WOP/AG), aircrew category WOP/AG; single, next-of-kin was his mother Amy Grace Boyce of 77 Northwood Road, Lane Cove, Sydney; an additional contact person was his uncle Sir Leslie Boyce, of "Rhossili", Brunswick Road, Gloucester; of no religion; medical category not recorded; types of aircraft previously flown were CAC Trainer, DH84, Fairey Battle, Anson, Wellington and Halifax; Courses attended were EATS, ACOS, pre-AFU, AFU, OTU and Conversion.

Robert Greenwell HODGSON 1592935 RAFVR Flight Engineer – Aircrew Arrival Form, 462 Squadron.
2 November 1944 – arrived at 462 Squadron, Driffield on posting from 1652 Heavy Conversion Unit (HCU), Marston Moor, 4 Group; rank on arrival Sergeant effective 6 April 1944; Service for Duration of Present Emergency (DPE); aircrew category Flight Engineer; single, next-of-kin was his father Mr Robert William Hodgson of Brookside, Crakehall, Bedale, Yorkshire; religion Church of England; medical category A1B; types of aircraft previously flown were Halifax II and III; Courses attended were not listed.

George Edward ROLLS 644506 RAF Mid-Upper Gunner – Aircrew Arrival Form, 462 Squadron.
2 November 1944 – arrived at 462 Squadron, Driffield on posting from 1652 HCU, Marston Moor, 4 Group; rank on arrival Sergeant effective 14 April 1944; Service for 7 years; Category "fit all aircrew"; married as of 19 June 1943; next-of-kin was his wife Audry Joan Rolls (sic) of 15 Birch Grove, Hinton Court, Hereford; additional contact person was his mother, Janet Margaret Rolls, of 1 Breinton Road, Hereford; religion Church of England; medical category Grade I; types of aircraft previously flown and Courses attended were not listed.

John George LYNCH 650438 RAF Rear Gunner – Aircrew Arrival Form, 462 Squadron.
2 November 1944 – arrived at 462 Squadron, Driffield on posting from 1652 HCU, Marston Moor, 4 Group; rank on arrival Sergeant effective 14 April 1944; Service for 6 years; Category "fit all aircrew"; single, next-of-kin was his father Mr Edward Lynch of 28 Ewe Hill, Ouston, Co Durham; additional contact person was his uncle, Mr Joseph Harle of 285 Tipperary St, Ouston, Co Durham; religion Roman Catholic; medical category Grade I; types of aircraft previously flown and Courses attended were not listed. (Both gunners were Sergeants effective the same date.)

Thomas PAWSEY 163583 RAFVR Special Duties (Window Dispenser) – Aircrew Arrival Form, 462 Squadron.
20 November 1944 – arrived at 462 Squadron, Driffield on posting from 1666 CU Wombleton; rank on arrival Flying Officer effective from 14 July 1944; Service for Duration of Present Emergency (DPE); aircrew category Air Bomber; married, next-of-kin was his wife Margaret Louise Pawsey (sic) of 2 Yew Tree Drive, Prestwich, Manchester, Lancs; religion Church of England; medical category Grade I; types of aircraft previously flown were DH82, Cornell, Anson, Wellington and Halifax; Courses attended were not listed. Pawsey was the usual Bomb Aimer for Drinkwater's crew 49, and his arrival is recorded in sequence with other members of that crew in the Squadron ORB, Form 540, November 1944.

From The London Gazette:
Thomas Pawsey was Commissioned as Pilot Officer 163583 (on probation) from Leading Aircraftman 1672050 RAFVR effective 14 January 1944, gazetted 4 April 1944 (Supplement, Issue 36451, page 1542);
Confirmation of Pilot Officer (prob.) and promotion to Flying Officer 163583, effective 14 July 1944, gazetted 11 August 1944, (Supplement, Issue 36648, page 3709).

Similar to Bomb Aimer William Kenneth Watson, Thomas Pawsey must have shown outstanding Officer potential to be Commissioned from Leading Aircraftman.

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Ops by Crew 37 at Driffield, Yorkshire in 1944, and at Foulsham, Norfolk in 1945 (Information extracted from 462 Squadron RAAF Operational Record Book – Forms 541, Detail of work carried out; and Forms 540, Summary of Events).

After his posting to 462 Squadron in November 1944, Ridgewell flew his first Op on the night of 4 November 1944, as 2nd Pilot with Pilot/Captain Frank Herbert James (Crew 24); Halifax MZ341, one of 13 crews from 462 Sqdn to target Bochum.
With his permanent crew, Ridgewell flew a further 18 Ops, making his total 19 Ops. The last Op for Ridgewell and his crew was 24 February 1945, when they failed to return from a Special Duties WINDOW flight to the Ruhr.

Five of the other six permanent members of the crew flew together with Pilot/Captain Ridgewell in the same 18 Ops, with no substitutes.
Flight Engineer Hodgson only carried out 15 Ops, with his substitution on three consecutive Ops in mid January (twice by Reginald George Weston Richards, and once by William Folger Readhead). Hodgson did not fly with any other crew, nor did any of the other permanent members of Ridgewell's crew.

At Foulsham, when an 8th crewman was required for Special Duties to dispense WINDOW, the Ridgewell crew had eleven different men in this role on twelve Ops. Their names are included in the following table of Ops.

No German-speaking Special Duties equipment-operators flew an any Radio Counter Measures (RCM) Ops with the Ridgewell crew. RCM Ops were first recorded in the Squadron ORB on 13 March 1945.

Halifax aircraft flown on Ops by Ridgewell were ......

MZ341 as 2nd Pilot with James, November 1944
With usual crew ....
MZ341 x 2 Ops, January 1945
MZ402 x 2 Ops, Jan and Feb 1945
MZ457 x 1 Op, Jan 1945
NA619 x 1 Op, Nov 1944
NR284 x 2 Ops, Feb 1945
PN166 x 1 Op, Feb 1945 (probably an error for PN168)
PN168 x 7 Ops, Nov 1944 to Feb 1945 (probably 9 Ops)
PN178 x 1 Op, Dec 1944 (probably an error for PN168)
MZ448 x 1 Op, Missing, Feb 1945
Total 18 Ops with crew.

The following Table lists Ops for Ridgewell and his crew.

Aircraft Code numbers Z5- and Serial Numbers have been cross-referenced with ORB and available log books from other 462 Squadron veterans. (There are discrepancies within the ORB, and between the ORB and various authors.)
Times up and down in black are day flights, and times in red are night flights.
Target "Essen x 17" means 17 aircraft tasked from 462 Squadron to the target of Essen, with Ridgewell's crew being one of those 17 (and so on for the other dates). "Ruhr x 5 (of 12)" means crew was in one of 5 aircraft to that Target, but a total of 12 Squadron aircraft were on Ops that night, with 7 to a different target. There is some variation in the spelling of Target names in the original ORB, with the names recorded below as per the ORB.
Code for Op Type – B Bombs; SD Special Duties; SP Spoof; W WINDOW; F Flares; TI Target Indicators; I Incendiaries.

 

 

Date Op No A/C Serial Code Z5- Up Down Target Op Type Comments
04/11/1944 1 MZ341 P 1712 2244 Bochum x 13 B Ridgewell as 2nd Pilot for Frank Herbert James (Crew 24)
29/11/1944 2 NA619 Q 0244 0831 Essen x 17 B 1st Op for Ridgewell & his usual crew
30/11/1944 3 PN168 T 1628 2218 Duisburg x 16 B .
02/12/1944 4 PN178
( PN168 ?)
T? 1745 0045 Hagen x 15 B Recorded in ORB as PN178 (error for PN168?)
05/12/1944 5 PN168 T 1808 0059 Soest x 14 B .
06/12/1944 6 PN168 T 1558 2251 Osnabruck x 14 B .
12/12/1944 7 PN168 T 1624 2206 Essen x 11 B .
05/01/1945 8 PN168 T 1630 2044 Ruhr x 5 (of 12) SD SP W 8th crew member to dispense WINDOW, R Wilson
06/01/1945 9 PN168 T 1624 2146 Ruhr x 12 SD SP W 8th crew member to dispense WINDOW, J L Morton
14/01/1945 10 MZ341 P 1625 2227 Mannheim x 13 SD SP W B 8th crew member to dispense WINDOW, Malcolm John Husband (later KIA in Rate Crew, 24/02/1945)
16/01/1945 11 MZ457 Y 1828 2250 Sylt x 9 SD SP W 8th crew member to dispense WINDOW, Matthew Ogilvie (later KIA in Ely Crew, 24/02/1945)
17/01/1945 12 MZ402 V 1630 2134 Bochum x 8 SD SP W B 8th crew member to dispense WINDOW, F C Taylor
22/01/1945 13 MZ341 P 1708 0043 Ruhr x 11 SD SP W 8th crew member to dispense WINDOW, K J Faithful
07/02/1945 14 PN166
( PN168 ?)
T? 2112 0152 Bonn x 11 SD SP W B I 8th crew member to dispense WINDOW, A S Hawkins;
Recorded in ORB as PN166 (error for PN168?)
09/02/1945 15 MZ402 V 0325 0815 Ruhr x 10 SD SP W 8th crew member to dispense WINDOW, Garth Fink
13/02/1945 16 NR284 Q 1836 0010 Ruhr x 9 SD SP W I 8th crew member to dispense WINDOW, Garth Fink
20/02/1945 17 PN168 T 2150 0424 Heilbronn x 14 SD SP W F 8th crew member to dispense WINDOW, Ronald George Irminger
22/02/1945 18 NR284 Q 1731 2359 Ruhr x 8 SD SP W 8th crew member to dispense WINDOW, George Arthur Edgar Sanday (KIA in Ely Crew, 24/02/1945)
24/02/1945 19 MZ448 W 1701 Missing Ruhr x 10 SD SP W B I 8th crew member to dispense WINDOW, Thomas Pawsey
Aircraft FTR; Missing.

Halifax NA619 Z5-Q had been damaged by flak on the night of 15 October 1944, Pilot Cockerill (later DSO) severely injured and landed at Manston. Cockerill (and crew 20) had flown 12 Ops in NA619. The aircraft was repaired and back on Ops 23 Oct 44 (Pilot Sydney John Carthy, crew 17), and continued in use until last recorded Op on 1 February 1945 (Pilot John Edward Byrom, crew 16).
Halifax MZ402 Z5-V crash landed on return from Ops with James crew on 11 February 1945.

Photos of Halifax MZ341 Z5-P, and NR284 Z5-Q, and PN168 Z5-T may be seen on the Halifax page.

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Aircraft Loss (Information sourced from National Archives of Australia Series A9186 Unit History & Series A11385 Loss of Aircraft File.)

Halifax III MZ448 Z5-W – Failed to Return from a night Op to the Ruhr area, Target Neuss, on 24 February 1945 and listed as Missing.

A letter dated 27 February 1945, from S/Ldr C W Jackson (Officer Commanding 462 Squadron, RA Station Foulsham) to the Air Ministry, and referring to a Signal P43 of 25 February 1945, stated in part .....

"Halifax III aircraft number MZ448, captained and
flown by F/O (Actg. F/LT.) F.H. Ridgewell was detailed
for a protective patrol in the Ruhr area on the night 24th
February, 1945.

The aircraft took off at 1701 hours carrying 7,000
rounds of ammunition, 3 x 750 lbs incendiaries clusters,
1 x 500 lbs G.P. bombs and 67 packages of window. It also
carried 1,994 gallons of fuel which allowed for 8 hours
18 minutes flying time. It has not been heard of since."

More details will be added at a later date, but entries of interest are as follows.

On 7 March 1945 Miss Barbara Barclay of Hyde Park Place, Paddington, London wrote a letter to the 462 Squadron Commanding Officer P M Paull, requesting information regarding F/Lt Ridgewell and his missing crew. Miss Barclay advised that she had expected him on leave on 28 February, and "Harry and I were shortly to have been engaged". She had not been informed of his status of "Missing", so may not have been added as an "additional contact person" to his service file.

A signal from the Air Ministry to 462 Squadron received 4 May 1945, advised that ....
Aus 432692 F/O J R Boyce arrived in the UK on 14 April 1945 and had been admitted to Wroughton Hospital, and
Aus 437274 F/O W J Mann arrived in the UK on 20 April 1945 and had been admitted to Cosford Hospital.
Both were reclassified as "SAFE UK".
Prior to their discharge from the RAAF, the last posting for each of Mann and Boy
ce was at a Medical Rehabilitation Unit, (Mann at 5 MRU, discharged on 21 December 1945; Boyce at 2 MRU, discharged on 26 April 1946) thus indicating they had a long recovery from injuries.
(RAF Wroughton Hospital near Swindon, Wiltshire; RAF Cosford Hospital in Shropshire.)

A signal from the Air Ministry to 462 Squadron received 24 May 1945, advised that ....
"23/5/45 Burial Return received states 650438 Sgt J C Lynch is buried Plot E, Row 2, Grave 40, in US Military Cemetery, Margraten".
He was reclassified as "Killed in Action".
His remains were later relocated to the Venray War Cemetery, Limburg, Netherlands, CWGC Grave reference VII. G. 13 (headstone photo in previous section).

A signal from the Air Ministry to 462 Squadron received 27 June 1945, advised that ....
154341 F/O W K Watson arrived safe in the UK on 10 May 1945
He was reclassified as "SAFE UK".

A later undated crew list in the Aircraft Loss File, also records 1592935 Sgt R G Hodgson as "SAFE UK" but no details are given regarding the date of his return.
The same document lists Watson, Mann and Boyce as "SAFE UK" and Lynch as "Killed in Action".
The names of Ridgewell, Rolls and Pawsey in that document have no classification. As they have no known graves, their names are recorded on the Runnymede Memorial (photos for each, shown in a previous section).

PoW information from "Footprints on the Sands of Time: RAF Bomber Command Prisoners-of-War in Germany 1939-1945" by Oliver Clutton-Brock ............
Boyce, page 250, PoW Number not known, PoW Camp not listed, badly burned, to RAF Wroughton Hospital on return to UK;
Hodgson, page 319, PoW Number not known, PoW Camp not listed, injured;
Mann, page 352, PoW Number not known, PoW Camp not listed, injured, to RAF Wroughton Hospital on return to UK (hospital name differs from that in the Aircraft Loss File);
Watson, page 429, PoW Number not known, PoW Camp not listed, UK 10/5/45.

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Football / Soccer link?

A query has arrived from one of the Trustees of the Norwich City Football Club Historical Trust, who has been engaged in detailed research of the club's history for many years. Goalkeeper W K Watson played for Norwich City in a friendly match on 4 September 1943. He also played on 11 September 1945. The local press at the time reported that he was serving in the RAF. He had previously played for an amateur club in the Derby area. The Club's record books have no further details recorded about him and no photos of him or the the team exist. During the war, the club only played friendly matches, and there was no requirement to register players. He was one of many who arrived with only a minimal introduction and his age was not recorded.

William Kenneth Watson (later of 462 Squadron) was aged 33 in September 1943 and was possibly already in the RAF by that time, and training somewhere in the UK. At the rank of Leading Aircraftman, he was Commissioned and appointed to the rank of Pilot Officer, effective 26 November 1943, shortly after his 34th birthday (born 16 November 1909). He had married in January 1943 and his wife was living at Harrogate during his posting to 462 Squadron in 1944/1945.

Is Norwich City goalkeeper W K Watson the same person as Bomb Aimer William Kenneth Watson of 462 Squadron?
Can you assist with information, or a photo? If so, please make contact. Details can then be added to this site, as well as to the records of the Norwich City Football Club Historical Trust. Alternately, if not the goalkeeper, Bomb Aimer Watson of 462 Squadron can be eliminated from further enquiries.

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