Entire crews or individual airman pasted through the squadron on a regularly basis. Below are a selection of photographs of crews or airman who served with No.218 (Gold Coast) Squadron between 1936 & 1945.
Frederick Bate was the 23-year-old bomb aimer of the crew skippered by Flight Sergeant Keith Shaw RNZAF. The crew joined No.218 Squadron via No.1651 CU in June 1943. They undertook their first operation on June 22nd 1943, a mine-laying sortie to the Nectarines area. There followed a further 10 operations with No.218 Squadron before the Shaw crew were chosen along with six other crews to form No.623 Squadron on August 10th 1943. The crew successfully completed a further 12 operations before they were shot down attacking Kassel on October 3rd 1943 in Short Stirling IC-S EF158. They were intercepted and shot down at 22.37hrs by Lt Hans-Heinz Augenstein of 7./NJG1 over Windhausen, 7 kms E of the target. It was Lt Augensteins’s 16th victory. Fred Bate is remembered on the panels of the Runnymede Memorial. I would like to thank Fred’s niece Catherine Fisher and Graham Etheridge for their permission and help in publishing this wonderful photograph.
Flying Officer Cedric Eyre, Navigator. He was shot down in the Stirling flown by the Squadron Commanding Officer Don Saville and he survived.
Stirling EE909 HA-H. Downham Market. July 1943. L to R: Sgt J. Schofield, F/Eng. Sgt V. Hawkins, M/U. Sgt Dickerson, W/Op. Sgt R. Booth, R/G. P/O Jenkins DFC, Pilot. P/O E. Pierce, Nav. P/O J. Shaw, B/A. Crew and aircraft transferred to 623 Squadron on 12-8-43. Shot down over Nuremberg 28-8-43. P/O Jenkins was killed and the rest of the crew taken PoW.
F/O McAllister (on the left) and crew arriving at Downham Market Station 1943
Squadron John Overton DFC “A” flight commander with air and ground crew celebrating their completed first tour with 218 Squadron. This was taken at Woolfox Lodge 1944 and are seen in front of Stirling EF133 HA-A. They all had their names painted on the rear of the aircraft together with the total Ops the Stirling had flown – 32 to date.
Stirling BF447. HA-F. T/o 2104 Downham Market for mining in the Sweet Pea area. Shot down and crashed at 0030 at Vroending, Denmark. 544104N – 124050E. Crew: P/O D.J. Brown. Pilot + Sgt W. Lowery. F/Eng. Pow Sgt T. Rich. Nav. + Sgt W.T. Jones. B/A. + F/O J.W. Scott. W/Op.+ F/Sgt L. Turner. M/U. Pow Sgt G. Sutton. R/G. + Those who died are buried in Esbjerg Cemetery, Denmark.
F/O M.W. Nesbitt and crew. They were subsequently taken from ‘C’ Flight of 218 Squadron to form 623 Squadron. They are seen here in front of a 623 Stirling BF568 IC-B “Beer”
Sergeant Raymond Lynn Edgoose 1452815.Bomb Aimer. RAFVR. Age 21. 218 Heavy Bomber Squadron. Downham Market, Norfolk. Killed in Action 24 June 1943.
F/O Mablejohn RAAF and crew. They began their tour with 218 and were then transferred to 7 PFF Squadron. Shot down 21-6-44, five survivors.
The crew of New Zealander Pilot Officer William Ian Anstey RNZAF RAF Marham. From L to R Anstey, Sgt Shaw 2nd pilot, Sgt Norton, Nav, Sgt Heyward, Wop, Sgt Black Front gunner and Sgt Rose rear gunner.
Menu Christmas 1943. The back of the Christmas menu signed by the squadron commander, Wing Commander Oldbury and “A” Flights Squadron Leader Overton.
Short Stirling Mk.I N3721 HA-J. The aircraft flew the highest number of sorties on the squadron and the command with 62 ops, 610 hours 55 minute flying time. Seen here with HA-J’s ground crew. Front left is Johnnie Wortley, Johnnie went onto train as a flight engineer and return to the squadron and complete a tour in 1945. Seated front row, 1st and 2nd from right are two crew members of F/Sgt Arthur Aaron VC DFC. 1st right is Jimmy Richmond, 2nd right is Tom McCabe. Sergeant Aaron took N3721 HA-J to Bochum on the night of May 15th 1943 dropping 1080 x 4lb + 96 x 30lb incendiaries. It was the crews first and only operation in this veteran Stirling.
Flight Lieutenant Klenner RAAF and crew. Miles Tripp on the right wrote the classic “The Eight Passenger” The crew completed 40 operations on their first tour a squadron and group record. Photo taken on March 11th 1945 on return from Essen, the crews final operation.
A fascinating document which records the number of operations flown by the individual airman operational on the squadron dated September 15th 1944. Of the twenty eight crews, ten had flown over 20 operations. The section leaders had all flown over the 30 ops for a 1st tour.