RAF air gunner's log book grouping, 61 Squadron

RAF air gunner's log book grouping, 61 Squadron

Code: P27183-44


Form 1767.  Navigators, Air Bombers, Air Gunners & Flight Engineers Flying log book.  An interesting log book to Air Gunner, Sgt. Alfred Henry Siddons (221049).  Siddons was born on 21st August 1915 and lived in Eccleshall near Huddersfield, West Yorkshire.  The log starts at No.7 Air Gunnery School, Stormy Down, South Wales, in December 1943 on Ansons.  He qualified with effect from 26th February 1944 and was described as an 'intelligent pupil of whom better results were expected'!  In April he moved to 29 Operational Training Unit, based in Rutland, where he trained on Wellington bombers and in July moved again to 1660 Heavy Conversion Unit, Swinderby, Lincolnshire, on Stirlings.  On September 10th he moved to No.5 Lancaster Finishing School before being posted to No.61 Squadron, Skellingthorpe, on 28th September 1944.  His first operational sortie on the 5th October was a raid on Wilhelmshaven and another on 28th attacked the U-boat pens at Bergen.  During November he flew Ops to Homberg, Dusseldorf, the Dortmund Ems Canal and Munich.  In December targets included Giessen and the Urft Dam at Heimbach. Operational flight continued throughout January, February and March including Bohlen, Sassnitz, Wessel and on 11th March, a very successful attack on Essen.  In excess of 1000 aircraft including 750 Lancasters, 293 Halifaxes and 36 Mosquitoes dropped 4661 tons of bombs in the biggest raid of the war to date (numbers of A/c) and the last on the city.  On the 4th April a sortie to attack what were believed to be military barracks killed large numbers of concentration camp POWs and forced labourers.  An underground complex for secret weapons research had been set up there following earlier Bomber Command raids on the V-weapons site at Peenemunde.  On 9th April Siddons flew on the last major raid to Hamburg and on 18th, the last raid on railway yards at Komotau in Czechoslovakia.  His final Op, to the oil refinery at Tonsberg, Norway, was also the last raid of the war undertaken by heavy bombers.  During May he flew on Operation Exodus, repatriating POWs from Brussels.  His final entry is dated 26th July 1945.  He recorded 11 daylight and 17 night Ops totalling 483 hours.   Each month recorded has been signed off by Siddons, his Captain, Flying Officer Crocombe and the Squadron Commanding Officer.   There are also a few official stamps/marks and course results pasted in. 

With the log comes his call-up papers for the RAFVR dated 25th March 1941, a 'postponement of calling up for service' chit dated June 1943 and a letter from the Air Ministry dated 6th September 1943, welcoming him into the Royal Air Force.  Also a small booklet 'Royal Air Force Guide To Service' for non-commissioned officers (1942 dated, 16pp), handwritten notes on air-gunnery and his Flying Clothing 'Card' c. November 1943, this is actually typed on paper and in poor condition but details a Sidcot suit, liner, collar, MK.VII goggles, early C-type, G-mask etc.  A second card dated March 1944 details more kit including a G-type mask, Mk.VIII anti-glare specs, chamois gloves and D-type gauntlets, frock white, whistle etc.  Another form (1383) notes the issue of a pistol holster, ammo pouch and pistol lanyard c. Feb. 1944.  Other documents include A.M. pamphlet 160 'Health Hints For Warm Climates'.  This 1st edition p/b copy is dated September 1944 and measures approximately 13.5 x 21cm, 24pp.  It provides information, hints and tips for all personnel proceeding to the tropics and subtropics.  It covers the preparation of kit, transit aircraft and troopships.  There is lots of information on mosquitoes, malaria, yellow fever and other diseases and hazards.  It also covers general health instructions, personal hygiene and so on.  Illustrated throughout with amusing line drawings.  Also included is a handwritten notebook with details on loading C47 Dakotas and RAF Transport Command Aircraft Load Sheets, passenger and cargo manifests etc for flights in Egypt c. Feb. 1946.  Next are some photos of him - as a trainee aircrew, on his AG school course with his crew at Skellingthorpe c. 1944 and a small headshot for escape purposes.  Finally there is his yellow fever innoculation certifcate, one single Sergeant stripe, his OR cap badge, flat AG brevet, a few buttons and his aircrew trainee field service cap flash.  

An very interesting log worthy of further research.  Stock code P27183-44.