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06 August 2020
Crew 38, Pilot Bruce Anthony Simms – 462 Squadron RAAF

 

Pilot Bruce Anthony Simms 424925 RAAF, and Flight Engineer Maurice Albert Hewlett 3031333 RAF, with Crew 38 of 462 Squadron, Driffield, and Foulsham.
Maurice Albert HEWLETT Archives

 

 

Crew 38, 462 Squadron, Driffield, Yorkshire, and Foulsham, Norfolk

Pilot: Bruce Anthony SIMMS 424925 RAAF
Navigator: Jeffrey CARR 1458228 RAF (VR?)
Bomb Aimer: R NICKLIN 1670112 RAF (VR?)
Mid-Upper Gunner: A N or A H BUIST 1826777 RAF (VR?)
Rear Gunner: K N or K K KIFT 1875516 RAF (VR?)
Wireless Operator: Albert Edward MORRIS 433235 RAAF
Special Duties: WINDOW Dispensers (Foulsham)
Special Duties, Radio Counter Measures – NIL by this crew
Flight Engineer: Maurice Albert HEWLETT 3031333 RAF (VR?)

Links to additional crew information; and Crew Ops;
and Loss of Halifax MZ479 Z5-B.

Photo at left: Original undated, and with no identification details for aircraft or crew, other than HEWLETT.
Standing, left to right –
1. Flight Engineer Maurice Albert HEWLETT
2. Possibly W/Op Albert Edward MORRIS (by comparison with group of Wireless Operators, 462 Squadron Foulsham, March 1945)
3. Possibly Pilot Bruce Anthony SIMMS (by comparison with his enlistment photo, and with group of Pilots, Foulsham, March 1945)
4. Possibly Navigator Jeffrey CARR (by comparison with Geoff CARR, identified in group of Navigators, Foulsham, February/March 1945)
5. Not identified
Front L to R-
6. Not identified (possibly a gunner, with fur-lined collar?)
7. Not identified

Reference sources – Australian WW2 Nominal Roll; The National Archives of Australia (RAAF Service File for MORRIS; 462 Squadron Operational Record Book; Movement of 462 Squadron Series A2217); Nicholas Evans, who supplied information and scans of photos from the Estate of Maurice Albert HEWLETT, a long-time friend, neighbour, and veteran Flight Engineer of 462 Squadron; Mark Weate supplied the photo of Pilot SIMMS, sourced from the NAA.

 

Bruce Anthony Simms, 424925 RAAF, Pilot of Crew 38, 462 Squadron, Driffield and Foulsham.
National Archives of Australia: A9300, 424925

Photo above: Bruce Anthony SIMMS, still in Army uniform, and most likely at enlistment in the RAAF on 09 October 1942.

 

Pilot

Name: Bruce Anthony SIMMS
Service: Royal Australian Air Force
Service Number: 424925
Date of Birth: 14 March 1924
Place of Birth: Waratah, New South Wales
Date of Enlistment: 09 October 1942
Place of Enlistment: Sydney, NSW
Next of Kin: Walter SIMMS
Date of Discharge: 16 January 1946 (?) **
Rank at Discharge: Flying Officer
Posting at Discharge: 462 Squadron

(** WW2 Nominal Roll listed Discharge date as 16 Jan 1945,
at which time SIMMS was still flying Ops with 462 Squadron)

 

 

SIMMS had previously served as a Private with the Australian Army,
and was discharged on 08 October 1942 to enlist in the RAAF.
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Navigator

Name: Jeffrey CARR
Service: Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Service Number: 1458228
Date and Place of Birth: .....
Date and Place of Enlistment: ..... *
Next of Kin: .....
Posting from 462 Squadron: May 1945
Rank at Posting from 462 Squadron: Flight Sergeant
Posting at Discharge: .....

* From the website http://www.ab-ix.co.uk/rfc_raf.pdf which details RFC and RAF Service Numbers: No. 1425001 to No. 1474999 were allocated from April 1941 at Cardington. This batch includes 1458228 for CARR.
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Bomb Aimer

Name: R NICKLIN
Service: Royal Air Force (Volunteer Reserve?)
Service Number: 1670112
Date and Place of Birth: .....
Date and Place of Enlistment: ..... *
Next of Kin: .....
Posting from 462 Squadron: May 1945
Rank at Posting from 462 Squadron: Flight Sergeant
Posting at Discharge: .....

* From the website http://www.ab-ix.co.uk/rfc_raf.pdf which details RFC and RAF Service Numbers: No. 1670001 to No. 1692488 were allocated from November 1941 at Padgate. This batch includes 1670112 for NICKLIN.
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Mid-Upper Gunner

Name: BUIST (A N or A H ?)
Service: Royal Air Force (Volunteer Reserve?)
Service Number: 1826777
Date and Place of Birth: .....
Date and Place of Enlistment: ..... *
Next of Kin: .....
Posting from 462 Squadron: May 1945
Rank at Posting from 462 Squadron: Flight Sergeant
Posting at Discharge: .....

* From the website http://www.ab-ix.co.uk/rfc_raf.pdf which details RFC and RAF Service Numbers: No. 1820001 to No. 1830000 were allocated from November 1943 at Edinburgh. This batch includes 1826777 for BUIST.
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Rear Gunner

Name: KIFT (K N or K K ?)
Service: Royal Air Force (Volunteer Reserve?)
Service Number: 1875516
Date and Place of Birth: .....
Date and Place of Enlistment: ..... *
Next of Kin: .....
Posting from 462 Squadron: May 1945
Rank at Posting from 462 Squadron: Flight Sergeant
Posting at Discharge: .....

* From the website http://www.ab-ix.co.uk/rfc_raf.pdf which details RFC and RAF Service Numbers: No. 1869809 to No. 1889800 were allocated from May 1943 at Cardington. This batch includes 1875516 for KIFT.
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Wireless Operator

Name: Albert Edward MORRIS
Service: Royal Australian Air Force
Service Number: 433235 (later A216619)
Date of Birth: 13 October 1924
Place of Birth: Marrickville, NSW
Date of Enlistment: 27 February 1943
Locality on Enlistment: Hurlstone Park, NSW
Place of Enlistment: Sydney NSW
Next of Kin: Albert MORRIS
Date of Discharge: 13 March 1946
Rank at Discharge: Warrant Officer
Posting at Discharge: 462 Squadron
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Special Duties WINDOW Dispensers
Total 19 Ops at Foulsham with this crew

H P (Pete) MURRAY 1866940 RAF
James WHYTE 3020584 RAFVR
Kenneth Cavalier PEACHEY 436272 RAAF x 2 Ops
Peter William Clayton HUTTON 434743 RAAF x 5 Ops
James Wallis KIMBER 436523 RAAF x 2 Ops
Michael Patrick TOOHEY 429056 RAAF x 6 Ops
Maurice Kevin MOORE 432059 RAAF
Kenneth John DANSON 431279 RAAF

MURRAY was usually Flight Eng for the Shannon Crew;
WHYTE was usually Rear Gunner for the Whatling Crew;
PEACHEY was usually Wireless Operator for the Sharp Crew.
The others were posted to the Squadron for Special Duties.
Please refer also to SD WINDOW page (photos and information).

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Maurice Albert Hewlett 3031333 RAF, Flight Engineer, 462 Squadron, Driffield and Foulsham.
Maurice Albert HEWLETT Archives

Above: Flight Engineer Maurice Albert HEWLETT 3031333 RAF. Portrait snipped from a group photo of Flight Engineers at Foulsham, ~June 1945 (same group photo as that shown on the Foulsham page, HEWLETT in middle row, 5th from left).

 

Flight Engineer

Name: Maurice Albert HEWLETT
Service: Royal Air Force (Volunteer Reserve?)
Service Number: 3031333
Date and Place of Birth: May 1925, London
Date and Place of Enlistment: 1943, from ATC *
Next of Kin: .....
Posting from 462 Squadron: September 1945
Rank at Posting from 462 Squadron: Flight Sergeant
Posting at Discharge: .....

* From the website http://www.ab-ix.co.uk/rfc_raf.pdf which details RFC and RAF Service Numbers: No. 3030001 to No. 3040000 were allocated from May 1943 to ATC Cadets Euston. This batch includes 3031333 for HEWLETT.

 

Maurice Albert Hewlett 3031333, during training, later Flight Engineer at 462 Squadron, Driffield and Foulsham.
Maurice Albert HEWLETT Archives

Above: Maurice Albert HEWLETT 3031333 RAF, during training, undated and location not recorded, but possibly soon after joining the RAF. His rank is most likely Aircraftman.

 

Flight Sergeant Maurice Albert Hewlett 3031333 RAF, Flight Engineer at 462 Squadron, Driffield and Foulsham.
Maurice Albert HEWLETT Archives

Flight Sergeant Maurice Albert HEWLETT 3031333 RAF. Undated and location not recorded – probably late 1945 or early 1946; perhaps before heading of to India. His Medal Ribbon Bar may be seen below the Flight Engineer's brevet. His 20th birthday was in May 1945.

 

Formal group of Flight Engineers at 462 Squadron, Foulsham, including Maurice Albert Hewlett, 3031333 RAF, between March and July 1945.
Maurice Albert HEWLETT Archives

Flight Engineer's outside the Flight Engineers Office at 462 Squadron, Foulsham, sometime between March and July 1945. By comparison with the Flight Engineers, Foulsham June 1945, and Driffield November 1944, other names have been suggested, but not yet confirmed. Maurice Albert HEWLETT is the only definite identification. Please contact if you can help.
Standing, L to R: 1. Not identified; 2. Maurice Albert HEWLETT;
3. Neil CAMPBELL (FRAZER crew, see De Leacy);
4. John HOLGATE (DRINKWATER crew);
5. H P (Pete) MURRAY (SHANNON Crew, August 1944 to August 1945); 6. Not identified; 7. Not identified.
Seated, L to R: 1. Reginald George Weston RICHARDS (Deputy Engineer Leader, and HOURIGAN crew);
2. J W NEALE (BAILEY Crew);
3. Not identified; 4. Not identified;
5. J J BOWDEN (HINES crew, March 1945 to July 1945).

Except for MURRAY and BOWDEN, those named were posted from 462 Squadron in September 1945.

 

Informal group of Flight Engineers at 462 Squadron, Foulsham, including Maurice Albert Hewlett, 3031333 RAF, between March and July 1945.
Maurice Albert HEWLETT Archives

Flight Engineers at 462 Squadron, Foulsham, outside the Flight Engineers Office, sometime between March and July 1945, and assumed to have been taken soon after the photo shown on the left.
Except for BOWDEN, it appears to be the same group.

Maurice Albert HEWLETT is behind the group, partially obscured, but indicated by the blue arrow.
Pete MURRAY is in the doorway, almost obscured by the tyre.
Reginald George Weston RICHARDS is standing, front left, with his foot on the jerry-can.
J W NEALE is seated on the bicycle.
Neil CAMPBELL is standing, front right, holding the fuel jug.

The ORB for March/April/May 1945, was checked, to identify any Ops requiring 10 to 12 Flight Engineers, which included HEWLETT, and others as identified here. Results were inconclusive, with no more than three, including HEWETT, on the same Op. The group as shown here, may have been required for a meeting or training session, or maybe it was simply a social gathering to fill in time.

 

 

Halifax MZ479 Z5-B of 462 Squadron, November 1944 to 07 February 1945.
Maurice Albert HEWLETT Archives

Photo undated and not identified by Serial Number or Code letter, this photo from F/Eng HEWLETT is assumed to be Halifax MZ479 Z5-B of 462 Squadron, in use from November 1944 to 07 February 1945. Nose artwork names it as Brenda's Baby, with a flying stork carrying a bomb in the baby-sling. There are 12 Bombs depicted underneath the artwork, indicating that 12 successful Ops had already been carried out in this Halifax.

Op 12 for MZ479 was on 05 January 1945, so it may be concluded that the photo above was most likely taken on 06 January 1945, when SIMMS and crew were about to embark on the aircraft's 13th Op.

This crew came to 462 Squadron, from HCU, previously OTU, with no known postings to other squadrons, hence the assumption it was a 462 Squadron Halifax.
DT-B "Babe" of 192 Squadron, also at Foulsham, had quite different nose art.

 

 

Halifax MZ479 Z5-B – Ops information from the 462 Squadron ORB, Forms 541 Operations. Data does not include air tests, or other non-operational or training flights.

Op Date Pilot and crew
1 16/11/1944 Simms Crew 38
2 18/11/1944 Simms Crew 38
3 21/11/1944 Simms Crew 38
4 29/11/1944 Taylor Crew 12
5 30/11/1944 James Crew 24
6 02/12/1944 Drinkwater Crew 49
7 05/12/1944 Drinkwater Crew 49
8 06/12/1944 Simms Crew 38
9 12/12/1944 Drinkwater Crew 49
10 21/12/1944 Simms Crew 38
11 02/01/1945 Simms Crew 38
12 05/01/1945 Astill Crew 52
13 06/01/1945 Simms Crew 38
14 07/01/1945 Bailey Crew 46
15 14/01/1945 Drinkwater Crew 49
16 21/01/1945 O'Sullivan Crew 43
17 22/01/1945 Drinkwater Crew 49
18 28/01/1945 Byrom Crew 16
19 01/02/1945 Simms Crew 38
20 02/02/1945 Simms Crew 38
21 04/02/1945 Simms Crew 38
22 07/02/1945 Simms Crew 38

 

 

Souvenir tea towel showing WW2 Squadrons and bases for Handley Page Halifax, including 462 Squadron, Driffield and Foulsham.
Maurice Albert HEWLETT Archives

Souvenir Tea Towel, belonging to Maurice Albert HEWLETT, showing Squadrons and bases for the Handley Page Halifax, including 462 Squadron in the UK, and previously in the Middle East.

 

Details of WW2 Squadrons and bases for Handley Page Halifax, including 462 Squadron, Driffield and Foulsham.
Maurice Albert HEWLETT Archives

Details of Squadrons and bases for the Handley Page Halifax

As indicated by the blue arrows:

Left column:
Celone (Italy) – 462 Squadron, re-named as 614 Squadron, RAF.

Right column:
Driffield (Yorkshire) – 462 Squadron, and 466 Squadron RAAF
Foulsham (Norfolk) – 462 Squadron, and 192 Squadron RAF
Gardabia (Cyrenaica, now Libya) – 462 Squadron
Hosc Raui (Cyrenaica, now Libya) – 462 Squadron and 178 Squadron

 

Group 67B CLK/PROV - Air Force group, including Maurice Albert Hewlett 3031333 RAF.
Maurice Albert HEWLETT Archives

Group 67B CLK/PROV – Air Force group of 23 men, including Maurice Albert HEWLETT, middle row, 5th from left (blue circle). Photo was undated, location not recorded, and with no descriptive details.

Front row, 4th and 5th from left, are two Corporals each with and "INST" band on their left arm (Instructors?). There is one Pilot in the back row, far left. Fourteen are wearing their trade brevets, HEWLET with "E" (Engineer), and others with N (Navigator), B (Bomb Aimer), one with AG (Air Gunner), and one S? (Signals?). One appears to be a Wireless Op, as his "Sparks" badge is visible on his upper right arm. Ten are at the rank of Sergeant or Flight Sergeant. Some are wearing Service Dress (Best Blues), others are wearing Battle Dress (work uniform). Several have no rank visible, and do not show any trade brevets. Two are wearing Medal Ribbon bars. There appears to be a variation in ages. Other Air Force personnel are in the background.

What is this group? Perhaps prior to HEWLETT being posted to 312 MU in India for clerical duties?
Is CLK an abbreviation for Clerk? If you can assist with identification of when, where and why – please make contact.

 

Dance Band in India, including Maurice Albert Hewlett 3031333 RAF, during 1946.
Maurice Albert HEWLETT Archives

Dance Band in India, sometime during 1946, including Maurice Albert HEWLETT, playing the piano. He was posted from 462 Squadron in September 1945, and posted to 312 Maintenance Unit, somewhere in India, to carry out clerical duties.

 

Sergeants' Mess, including Maurice Albert Hewlett 3031333 RAF, at 312 Maintenance Unit, India, October 1946.
Maurice Albert HEWLETT Archives

Sergeants' Mess, including Maurice Albert HEWLETT, at 312 Maintenance Unit, India, October 1946, possibly taken to mark the impending return of the Unit to the UK, for demobilisation of personnel. The Wikipedia list of Royal Air Force Maintenance Units includes 312 MU, but does not give an airfield location or any other details. Other Maintenance Units in that numbering sequence, record airfields in India.

The photo was taken by Krishnan Nair Bros., which are still in operation as a Photographic Studio in Thrissur, in the state of Kerala, in south-west India. According to their website (March 2020), the studio was started in 1906, later with a branch in Calicut (on the coast).
It is probable that 312 MU was located somewhere within driving distance of Thrissur or Calicut.

 

Close-up of Sergeants' Mess, including Maurice Albert Hewlett 3031333 RAF, at 312 Maintenance Unit, India, October 1946.
Maurice Albert HEWLETT Archives

Close-up of Sergeants' Mess, at 312 Maintenance Unit, India, October 1946. Maurice Albert HEWLETT is in the back row, 6th from left, as indicated by the blue arrow. None of the other names in the caption have been matched with anyone who was previously in 462 Squadron.
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Additional crew information – Summary of Crew postings extracted from MORRIS's A9301 Service File; and 462 Squadron ORB (Forms 540 for Postings TO/FROM). No RAF Service Files were accessible.

09 May 1944 – W/Op MORRIS posted to 20 Operational Training Unit (20 OTU), RAF Milltown near Lossiemouth, Scotland. It is assumed that the SIMMS crew formed at 20 OTU sometime soon after that date.

19 August 1944 – W/Op MORRIS posted to 41 Base, Acaster Malbis, Yorkshire (not mentioned but probably then to 1652 HCU at Marston Moor). It is assumed that the SIMMS and crew were all posted on the same date.

November 1944Posted TO 462 Squadron – ORB, Form 540, Part III Personnel, NCO Aircrew Postings, in the sequence
Pilot F/Sgt B A SIMMS, Bomb Aimer Sgt R NICKLIN; Navigator Sgt J CARR; Wireless Operator F/Sgt A E MORRIS; Rear Gunner Sgt K K D KIFT; Mid-Upper Gunner Sgt A N BUIST; and Flight Engineer Sgt M A HEWLETT.
According to MORRIS's RAAF Service File, he was posted TO 462 Squadron on 31 October 1944 – it is probable that they were all posted on that date.

There were the usual variations in spelling of surnames, initials, and Service Numbers, as well as a transposition of crew positions for their last Op on 23 April 1945 – i.e. MU/AG BUIST listed as SD/WIN; F/Eng HEWLETT listed as MU/AG, and SD/WIN DANSON listed as F/Eng.
However each of this crew was the only one with their surname, so hopefully the crew has been correctly matched with Ops, and postings.
B A Simms 424925 – also with initials B S, and W A; surname SIMS; and Service number 424935
R NICKLIN 1670112 – also with initial H, and Service number 167011, and 16701112
J CARR 1458228 – also recorded as J Clark but with CARR's Service Number; also Sce No 1455228
A E Morris 433235 – also recorded as A E NORRIS, but with MORRIS's Service Number; also Sce No 433255
KIFT 1875516 – with initials K K (most often), K K D, K D, K R, and K N (frequent); and with Service Number 187516 and 1775516
BUIST 1826777 – with initials A N, and A H (about equal frequency), also J N, and A M; and Service Number 1836777.
M A HEWLETT 3031333 – also with initials N A, A M, H A, M E, M H; surname Hewlitt, and Rewlett.
(Research has found that the most frequent use of a surname (i.e. spelling), or initials, or Service Number, does not necessarily mean that version was the correct one.)

Ops – November/December 1944 Driffield, and January to April 1945 Foulsham – details in later Section
Bombing from Driffield – 6 Ops by usual crew; Pilot SIMMS carried out one previous Op as Second Pilot with Byrom Crew 16;
Special Duties from Foulsham – 19 Ops, plus one cancelled (did not take off)

May 1945 – Posted FROM 462 Squadron – F/Sgt R NICKLIN; F/Sgt J CARR; F/Sgt K N KIFT, F/Sgt A H BUIST. Their forward postings were not recorded.
September 1945 – Posted FROM 462 Squadron
– F/O B A SIMMS In the first draft of 27 RAAF Officers to go on leave, then report to 9 Air Crew Holding Unit, Gamston on 17 September 1945, for repatriation to Australia.
– F/Sgt M A HEWLETT in the first draft of 38 RAF and RAAF NCOs; RAAF men to go on leave, then report to 9 Air Crew Holding Unit, Gamston, on 17 September 1945 for repatriation to Australia; the 25 RAF Flight Engineers were apparently posted to Bruntingthorpe; HEWLETT was subsequently posted to India (please refer to his Obituary, and photos shown in previous section).
– W/O A E MORRIS, in the second draft of 41 NCOs to go on leave, then report to 9 ACHU on 18 September 1945 for repatriation to Australia. Morris's Service File records his posting to 9 ACHU as 18 September 1945. Further details follow (below).
All of the crew had been promoted to higher rank during their time at 462 Squadron.

Pilot Bruce Anthony SIMMS – His A9300 service File had not been digitised at the time of writing (late March 2020). From the WW2 Nominal Roll, he had previously enlisted in the Australian Army on 10 April 1942, at Newcastle, NSW, Service Number N435783. He was discharged at the Rank of Private, from the General Details Depot, on 08 October 1942, to enlist in the RAAF. Date of birth and Next-of-kin were the same as for the RAAF enlistment. (Photo of SIMMS shown previously)

Navigator Jeffrey CARR 1458228 RAFVR, Commissioned to rank of Pilot Officer 197768 with effect from 28 Apr 1945 – London Gazette Issue 37135, Tuesday 19 June 1945, Second Supplement to Friday 15 June 1945, page 3181. His name and Officer Service Number was also located in the RAF List for July 1945, under Navigators, Pilot Officers, 1945, 28 April.

Bomb Aimer NICKLIN and MU/AG BUIST and R/AG KIFT – not located in the RAF List for July 1945, nor in the London Gazette, however uncertainty regarding their correct initials made searching difficult.

Wireless Operator Albert Edward MORRIS – 433235 (later A216619) indicating that he remained in, or re-enlisted in the RAAF. The Service File for A216619 is still closed; and the A9301 Service File for 433235 contained 4 pages only.
Details as below ......

27 February 1943 – Enlisted in the RAAF at No 2 Recruiting Centre (2 RC), Sydney, NSW; aged 18, single, Roman Catholic; previous civil occupation Trainee Machinist; next-of-kin his father, Albert MORRIS of Hurlstone Park, with his mother listed as additional contact of the same address.
27 February 1943 – Allocated Service Number 433235
27 February 1943 – Classified as Aircraftman 2 (AC2)
27 February 1943 – Mustered as Aircrew V
27 February 1943 – Posted to 2 Initial Training School (2 ITS), Bradfield Park, Sydney, NSW
27 February 1943 (?) – Commenced No 38 Aircrew (G) Course at 2 ITS, to 21 April 1943

19 April 1943 – Re-mustered as Aircrew VG
24 April 1943 – Promoted to Leading Aircraftman (LAC)
27 April 1943 – Posted to 3 Wireless and Gunnery School (3 WAGS), Maryborough, Queensland

14 October 1943 – Re-mustered as Aircrew IIG
18 October 1943 – Posted to 1 Bombing and Gunnery School (1 BAGS), Evans Head, NSW; commenced No 38 Gunners Course at 1 BAGS, to 11 Nov 1943 – Passed

11 November 1943 – Awarded Air Gunner's Badge
11 November 1943 – Re-mustered as W.O.A.G. (Wireless Operator Air Gunner)
11 November 1943 – Promoted to Sergeant

21 November 1943 – Posted to 2 Embarkation Depot (2 ED), Bradfield Park, Sydney, NSW
26 November 1943 – Embarked form Sydney for the UK

10 January 1944 – Disembarked in UK
10 January 1944 – Posted to 11 Personnel Despatch and Reception Centre (11 PDRC), Brighton, UK

09 February 1944 – Attached to Aircrew NCO School, Whitley Bay, to 07 March 1944; Commenced Aircrew NCO Course, to 07 March 1944 – Passed
01 March 1944 – Admitted to Station Sick Quarters, Whitley Bay; no details of reason why, or date of Discharge
11 March 1944 – Re-mustered as W. O. (Air)

28 March 1944 – Posted to 1 (Observers) Advanced Flying Unit (1 (O) AFU), RAF Wigtown, Dumfries and Galloway; for Wireless Operator Air Gunner (WOAG) Course

09 May 1944 – Posted to 20 Operational Training Unit (20 OTU), RAF Milltown near Lossiemouth, Scotland; assume SIMMS crew was formed here; training in Wellington bombers
11 May 1944 – Promoted to Flight Sergeant

18 August 1944 – Attached to No 4 Group Aircrew School
19 August 1944 – Posted to 41 Base, Acaster Malbis (no mention of HCU, but probably 1652 HCU, Marston Moor, for conversion to Halifax bombers)

31 October 1944 – Posted to 462 Squadron, Driffield, Yorkshire, 4 Group.

29 December 1944 – Relocated with 462 Squadron to Foulsham, 100 Group – MORRIS travelled with the Main Party by train. (SIMMS and crew flew in the Air Party in MZ579 Z5-B, with substitute W/OP Sydney Robert FULLER; sadly, FULLER was KIA with the ASTILL crew on 14 January 1945)

11 May 1945 – Promoted to Warrant Officer

18 September 1945 – Posted FROM 462 Squadron, Foulsham, TO 9 Air Crew Holding Unit (9 ACHU) Gamston, for repatriation to Australia

10 Nov 1945 – Posted to 11 PDRC, Brighton
13 Nov 1945 – Attached to 9 ACHU (sic, appears to be out sequence, may be 18 September 1945)
Undated December (?) 1945 – Embarked from the UK for Australia

22 January 1946 – Disembarked in Melbourne, Vic
22 January 1946 – Posted to 1 Personnel Depot (1 PD), Melbourne

13 March 1946 – Discharged from the RAAF on demobilisation

Medals – 1939-45 Star; France and Germany Star; Defence Medal; war Medal 1939/45

Flight Engineer Maurice Albert HEWLETT – The original of the following Obituary appeared in the Birchington village magazine (Kent), in the summer of 2019, soon after Maurice's death in July 2019. The version below was modified and updated in late March 2020. Maurice was a long standing family friend of Nick Evans, his parents, and his family (for over 50 years). In accordance with Maurice's wishes, and shortly after his death, his Log Books were sent to the Yorkshire Air Museum for safe-keeping. Maurice never married, and has no living family. Like many of his fellow veterans, he said little about his war experiences, other than that he enjoyed his time in India where he was able to be part of dance band (photo in previous section). He had made mention of Ops to drop WINDOW over Germany, and also of being in Malta. However Malta was most likely a stop-over on the way to his later posting to 312 MU in India. Details of the Op which caused his parachute jump (as mentioned in his Obituary), are included in a later section on the Halifax Loss.

Maurice Hewlett – an appreciation by Marian and Nick Evans.

Musician and stalwart of the Birchington Guild of Players for many years, Maurice Hewlett, died at his Albion Road home in late July 2019, aged 94.
Maurice moved to the village with his parents in the mid 1950s from Banstead, Surrey, where he had grown up and spent his pre-war days.
Born in London in May 1925, Maurice was called up in 1943, after being a member of the Air Training Corps, to join the Royal Air Force as a flight engineer serving with 462 Squadron’s four-engined Halifax bombers. The squadron was in fact an Australian one and Maurice was seconded to it on its formation in Driffield, Yorkshire. By late December 1944 his squadron had been transferred to Foulsham in Norfolk.
He would see service over Germany. Shortly after take-off for one raid, an engine caught fire, he and his crew were ordered to bail out. The pilot eventually landed safely but Maurice’s parachute descent from the stricken aircraft qualified him for membership of the GQ Parachute Club, denoted by a golden lapel badge he would occasionally wear. He was the 406th recipient of the badge.
(This was an unofficial award given by the Gregory & Quilter Parachute Company of Guildford to all whose lives were saved by its products. This was an equivalent unofficial award to the better known Caterpillar Club badge awarded by the makers of Irvin parachutes).
Maurice came down in a field in the middle of the night. He made his way to a farmhouse, knocked on the door and explained he was an airman who had just bailed out. Of course, he was greeted as a hero, taken inside and offered a whisky. “Oh no” said Maurice, “but I’d love a cup of cocoa !”
The GQ Parachute Club badge and the metal D-shaped handle from Maurice’s parachute are now safely kept by Nick Evans along with his war medals. It is worth remembering that Maurice was still 19 years old when he made that jump.
With the war over in Europe, Maurice was transferred out of 462 Squadron in September 1945 and posted to India because not all the men could be demobbed at the same time. Ostensibly in a clerical role, it was a period he greatly enjoyed as there was lots of music – Maurice was pianist in a dance band – and there was no more fighting. He took every opportunity to enjoy seeing the best of that country too.
He was still in India during October 1946 but by the end of the year, now aged 21, he had returned to Banstead. He took back his job in the London insurance business and soon caught up with his old life, indulging his pastimes in cycling – he toured to many parts of the country – enjoying music and model making.
When the time came for his father to retire they chose Birchington and Maurice decided to come too, travelling back to the city everyday on the train.
Like many moving to the village, Maurice soon joined the Guild of Players and became a firm fixture of the orchestra for countless pantomimes and song & dance shows, playing either guitar, piano or drums. In the days before digital recordings he provided bespoke sound effects for the group’s plays.
By the early 1970s, Maurice was able to give up the commuter lifestyle, opting for early retirement. This enabled him to follow his interests and support local groups which by now included the village residents’ and carnival associations.
It was while travelling on the trains to and from London that he met Dorrie Parkin, herself a commuter and a near neighbour. They remained close for more than 30 years and were long regarded as a couple by their many friends until her death in 2014.
As Maurice grew older, and after an accident in 2015 when he badly injured his leg falling over on a bus, he was forced to give up so much. He was missed in many places but was blessed with the care of his amazing neighbours Mike and June O’Hara.
Maurice’s funeral was held in mid-August 2019 at Thanet Crematorium, Margate, and attended by 35 of his friends.
Maurice’s RAF Service Number was 3031333, according to a note found in the bottom of a medal box, now held by Nick Evans.

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Crew Ops – Summary of Crew Ops extracted from the 462 Squadron ORB:- Forms 541 – Detail of Work Carried Out; and
Forms 540 – Summary of Events, Part 1. Operations. No Log Books for this Crew were available.

The following Table lists Ops for SIMMS and Crew. Included below the Table, is information regarding the crew's various aircraft. Details of extra Ops carried out by individual members of this crew, are listed after the aircraft info.

Aircraft Code numbers Z5- have been cross-referenced between ORB and various log books of other crews. (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 "Jülich x 16" means 16 aircraft tasked from 462 Squadron to the target of Jülich, with the SIMMS crew being one of those 16 (and so on for the other dates).
Target "Hamburg x 10 (of 12)" means 10 of the Squadron's aircraft were tasked to the target of Hamburg, with another 2 tasked to a different target (and so on for the other dates).
There is some variation in the spelling of Target names in the original ORB.

Code for Op Type – nr – not recorded; DNTO – did not take off;
B Bombing; SD Special Duties; SP Spoof;
W WINDOW; I Incendiaries; F Flares;
TI Target Indicators.

Date Op No A/c Serial Code Z5- Up Down Target Op Type Comments
04/11/1944 1 NA621 S 1718 2231
Carnaby
Bochum x 13 B SIMMS as 2nd Pilot for Pilot John Edward BYROM and Crew 16; bombed primary target from 17,000 ft at 1940; photo report: fires and smoke; landed away at Carnaby with hydraulic trouble
16/11/1944 2 MZ479 B 1240 1822 Jülich x 16 B Bombed primary target from 12,700 ft at 1532;
photo report: target area
18/11/1944 3 MZ479 B 1238 1748 Munster x 15 B Bombed primary target from 18,000 ft at 1506;
photo report: cloud only
21/11/1944 4 MZ479 B 1711 2339 Sterkrade x 15 B Bombed primary target from 19,000 ft at 2103;
photo report: Target Indicators and faint ground detail
05/12/1944 5 MZ429 F 1754 0046 Soest x 14 B Bombed primary target from 21,000 ft at 2128½;
photo report: tracks of incendiary and/or TI
06/12/1944 6 MZ479 B 1602 2230 Osnabruck x 14 B Bombed primary target from 20,000 ft at 1946;
photo report: Target Indicators
21/12/1944 7 MZ479 B 1511 2105 Cologne x 11 B Bombed primary target from 18,000 ft at 1842;
photo report: cloud only
29/12/1944 - MZ479 B nr nr Squadron relocation Air Party 462 Squadron relocation FROM Driffield (4 Group) TO Foulsham (100 Group); W/Op Sydney Robert FULLER
02/01/1945 8 MZ479 B 1535 2101 Nuremburg (sic) x 8 SD SP W Nuremberg; WINDOW released; Additional 8th member of crew to dispense WINDOW, H P MURRAY
06/01/1945 9 MZ479 B 1629 2138 Ruhr x 12 SD SP W WINDOW released; Additional 8th member of crew to dispense WINDOW, James WHYTE
28/01/1945 10 MZ913 N 1712 2117 Mainz x 11 SD SP W B Early return, due to failure of "Secret Equipment",
Additional 8th member of crew to dispense WINDOW, Kenneth Cavalier PEACHEY
01/02/1945 11 MZ479 B 1644 2205 Mannheim x 13 SD SP W B WINDOW released and bombs dropped; Additional 8th member of crew to dispense WINDOW,
Peter William Clayton HUTTON
02/02/1945 12 MZ479 B 2100 0219 Mannheim x 8 SD SP W B WINDOW released and bombs dropped; Additional 8th member of crew to dispense WINDOW,
Peter William Clayton HUTTON
04/02/1945 13 MZ479 B 1747 2301 Ruhr x 10 SD SP W WINDOW released; Additional 8th member of crew to dispense WINDOW, Peter William Clayton HUTTON
07/02/1945 14 MZ479 B 2137 2215
Hethel
Bonn x 11 SD SP W B I Crash landed at Hethel (Loss of Aircraft in next section)
Additional 8th member of crew to dispense WINDOW,
Peter William Clayton HUTTON
27/02/1945 15 MZ431 J 1823 2211 Sylt x 7 SD SP W WINDOW released; Additional 8th member of crew to dispense WINDOW, James Wallis KIMBER
02/03/1945 16 NA147 G 1929 2233 Emden x 7 SD SP W B I Window released; 4 x 500 lb GP bombs, (2 x 750 lb) and (1 x 500 lb) Incendiary clusters dropped; Additional 8th member of crew to dispense WINDOW, Michael Patrick TOOHEY
03/03/1945 17 MZ306 K 1938 2350 Dortmund Ems Canal x 8 SD SP W F Window released; (10 x 75 lb) Flare clusters dropped; Additional 8th member of crew to dispense WINDOW,
Peter William Clayton HUTTON
07/03/1945 18 MZ370 L 1835 0044 Rostock x 6 SD SP W Window released; Additional 8th member of crew to dispense WINDOW, Michael Patrick TOOHEY
09/03/1945 19 NA147 G 1730 2304 Ruhr x 7 SD SP W Window released; Additional 8th member of crew to dispense WINDOW, Michael Patrick TOOHEY
13/03/1945 20 MZ467 C 1745 2333 Frankfurt x 11 SD SP W TI I Window released; (2 x 250 lb) TI, and (4 x 750 lb) and (1 x 500 lb) Incendiary clusters dropped; Additional 8th member of crew to dispense WINDOW, Maurice Kevin MOORE
15/03/1945 21 MZ467 C 1750 2322 Munster & Hagen x 8 SD SP W TI I Attacked Munster only, then returned to base due to hydraulic failure; Attacked by enemy fighter; Window released; 4 x TI, and 5 x Incendiary clusters all dropped in Munster area; Additional 8th member of crew to dispense WINDOW, Kenneth Cavalier PEACHEY
20/03/1945 - MZ467 C DNTO DNTO Target nr x 5 nr First aircraft to attempt take-off; burst tyre at end of runway in use, remaining 4 aircraft held-up; lighting unserviceable on other runway; Op cancelled. Additional 8th member of crew to dispense WINDOW, not named
22/03/1945 22 MZ467 C 1951 0019 Ruhr x 4 SD SP W WINDOW released; Additional 8th member of crew to dispense WINDOW, James Wallis KIMBER
13/04/1945 23 MZ467 C 2024 0139 Hamburg x 10 (of 12) SD SP W F I WINDOW released; 6 Flares, and (1 x 750 lb) and (2 x 500 lb) Incendiary clusters dropped; Additional 8th member of crew to dispense WINDOW, Michael Patrick TOOHEY
14/04/1945 24 MZ467 C 1832 0247 Neuruppin x 4 (of 12) SD SP W F I WINDOW released; 6 Flares, and (1 x 750 lb) and (2 x 500 lb) Incendiary clusters dropped; Additional 8th member of crew to dispense WINDOW, Michael Patrick TOOHEY
16/04/1945 25 PN450 L 2347 0740 Prague x 1 (of 10) SD SP W F I Operated with the Main Force; Window released; (5 x 75 lb) Flares, and (2 x 750 lb) Incendiary clusters dropped;
Additional 8th member of crew to dispense WINDOW, Michael Patrick TOOHEY
23/04/1945 26 MZ396 B 2116 0218 Lubeck x 8 SD SP W WINDOW released; Additional 8th member of crew to dispense WINDOW, Kenneth John DANSON

 

NA621 Z5-S – 1 Op
MZ479 Z5-B – 11 Ops, plus relocation flight from Driffield to Foulsham – photo of Nose Artwork shown in previous section, also added to the Halifax page
MZ429 Z5-F – 1 Op
MZ913 Z5-N "Jane" – 1 Op – Photo and Artwork on Halifax page
MZ431 Z5-J – 1 Op – Photo on Halifax page
NA147 Z5-G – 2 Ops – Photos on Halifax page
MZ306 Z5-K and MZ370 Z5-L – 1 Op in each – both in one photo (near and far) on Halifax page
MZ467 Z5-C – 5 Ops, plus one DNTO (this aircraft FTR on 17 April 1945, LODDER Crew)
PN450 Z5-L – 1 Op
MZ396 Z5-B x 1 Op, some authors list this as Z5-E

SIMMS, Total 26 personal Ops. 1st Op on 04 November 1944 as 2nd Pilot for Pilot BYROM and Crew 16.
SIMMS subsequently flew 25 Ops with his usual crew, with no substitutions.
Driffield – Bombing, with usual crew of 7, x 6 Ops
Foulsham – Special Duties, Spoofs (WINDOW), with crew of 8 (8th man to dispense WINDOW). x 19 Ops
Foulsham – Special Duties, Radio Counter Measures – NIL by this crew
A summary of extra Ops for individual crew members, is included in the table below. It is supposed that the extra Op was to "catch-up" and match Op numbers with their Pilot, so that all of the crew would finish their Tour at the same time.

Name Total ops SIMMS crew Extra Op with another crew
Pilot SIMMS 26 25 04/11/1944, Personal Op 01, as 2nd Pilot BYROM and Crew 16
Nav CARR 25 25 Nil
B/A NICKLIN 26 25 22/02/1945, Personal Op 14, as SD/WINDOW Dispenser with Pilot LANGWORTHY and Crew 34
W/Op MORRIS 26 25 22/01/1945, Personal Op 9, as SD/WINDOW Dispenser with Pilot WHATLING and Crew 42 (see also John HARRIS, of that crew)
MU/AG BUIST 27 25 21/02/1945, Personal Op 14, as SD/WINDOW Dispenser with Pilot TAYLOR and Crew 12;
22/02/1945, Personal Op 15, as SD/WINDOW Dispenser with Pilot DRINKWATER and Crew 49
R/AG KIFT 26 25 22/01/1945, Personal Op 9, as SD/WINDOW Dispenser with Pilot SHARP and Crew 41
F/Eng HEWLETT 26 25 21/01/1945, Personal Op 9, as SD/WINDOW Dispenser with Pilot RATE and Crew 13 (sadly the RATE crew FTR on 24/02/1945; 7 KIA, 1 PoW)

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Loss of Halifax MZ479 Z5-B on 07 February 1945 (photo of Nose Artwork in previous section)

462 Squadron ORB, Form 541, Detail of Work carried out for February 1945 (page 256)

7/8 February 1945 – Halifax MZ479
SIMMS crew of 8, listed by Service Number, Rank, Initials, Surname, and Duty (crew position), including his usual crew members, and additional WINDOW Dispenser P W C HUTTON.
Time UP – 2137 at Foulsham Base
Time DOWN – 2215 at Hethel
Flight Details: ... (quote as written) ... "Shortly after take off, one of the Engines caught fire and the Pilot was unsuccessful in the feathering of the Engine. The propeller flew off and after orders to "Abandon Aircraft" the crew with the exception of the Pilot made a successful parachute jump. The fire was later extinguished and the Pilot made a successful belly landing at HETHEL aerodrome. None of the crew was injured. This Aircraft landed with a full BOMB load i.e. 1x500 lb. M.C. Bomb, 5 x 500 lb. Incendiary Cluster."

462 Squadron ORB, Form 540, Summary of Events, February 1945 (page 49)

Foulsham 7 February 1945 .. (quote as written) ... "Good weather with local showers. Twelve were required for night WINDOW and BOMBING Operations, and Eleven were airborne by 2200 hours. "L"/462 (Captain – F/O. F.M. LODDER sic) was a non starter owing to defective brakes, and "B"/462 (Captain – W/O SIMMS B.A.) had the Starboard outer engine catch fire in the air, this could not be subdued, and the crew were ordered to "Abandon Aircraft" and all with the exception of the Captain made a successful Parachute descent. W/O SIMMS made a safe belly landing at HETHEL airdrome. W/O SIMMS and crew are to be congratulated on perfect crew discipline. The remaining ten aircraft completed completed a successful and uneventful sortie. Three training flights were made by day and one cross country by night."
[correction ... F/O A.M. LODDER]

Although not noted in the ORB, it seems that this aircraft was written off as a result of the belly landing. MZ479 was not recorded in any later Ops at 462 Squadron, and various authors and websites describe it as W.O. (Written Off) on the 07 February 1945. RAF Hethel was 7 miles (11 km) south-west of Norwich.
This aircraft flew in 22 Ops at 462 Squadron, with 11 of those Ops by the SIMMS crew. (Ops list next to photo)

 

If you can provide photos of, or further information on anyone in this crew, or wish to correct any factual or other errors, please make contact.

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