This rather nice Short Brothers advert was published in The Aeroplane magazine December 11th 1942 and depicts Short Stirling Mk.I W7530 HA-Q of No.218 (Gold Coast) Squadron .
Seen below, W750 HA-Q photographed for a series of press photo’s, the actual date is unknown. Details from the son of Pilot Officer Green, the crews navigator suggests the photo’s were taken either on June 19th or the actual morning the crew failed to return from Emden. There is another possible date, May 21st, the crew carried out a 75 minute formation flight over the airfield, this was the only time that they recorded formation flying.
Short Stirling Mk.I Series III was built by Austin Motors Ltd under contract B982939/38. It was allocated to No.149 (East India) Squadron on April 30th 1942, however it did not undertake any operations before it was moved on. On May 8th 1942 it was transferred to No.218 Squadron, based at RAF Marham. Being a new aircraft it was immediately bagged by “B” Flights commanding officer, Squadron Leader Harold Ashworth. The aircrafts first operation was on May 17th to the Daffodils garden area, it was not a good start, within 30 minutes the aircraft and its crew were back at Marham the result of engine problems. On May 29th Squadron Leader Ashworth took Queenie to Gennevilliers without experiencing any problems. Wing Commander Paul Holder DFC decided that he would commandeer Queenie for the 1000 bomber raid against Cologne on May 30th 1942, he was joined by No.3 Group’s commander AVM Baldwin.
Squadron Leader Ashworth was back at the controls for the following 3 operations, Essen, June 1st, Bremen June 3rd and Emden June 6th. W7530 final operation was on June 20th, against Emden. Soon after leaving the target area the crew were attacked by Lt Johannes Werth of 7./NJG2 at around 02:00 hours, five of the crew managed to take to their parachute before Queenie smashed into the ground near Wognum, 4 kms NNW of Noorm, Holland. Sadly Squadron Leader Harold Ashworth died in the crash.
W7530 HA-Q “Queenie” had flown 43 hours 45 minutes flying time when lost.