Claims to Fame - The
Lancaster by Norman Franks (ISBN 1-85409-311-8)
One cannot say
with any real accuracy just how many Lancasters flew on operations
but it had to be around 6500. Yet of this supposed total, only 34 -
a mere 1.9 per cent - managed to complete 100 or more ops. The
highest number of operations completed by a Lancaster was a
miraculous 140 .
ND875 - NUTS
aircraft order No 1807, this Avro-built machine came off the
production line in early 1944 as a MKIII, having 4 Merlin 38
engines. After going to No 32 MU on 9 April it was assigned to No 7
Squadron PFF on the 14th , but a week later was re-assigned to No
156 Squadron PFF at Upwood, Huntingdonshire and coded GT-N.
ND875 began ops
on 24/25 April with a raid to Karlsruhe in the hands of Squadron
Leader H. F. Slade DFC, who had with him that night the Squadron
Navigation Leader, Squadron Leader A. J. Mulligan DFC (Mulligan was
to receive the DSO that summer). Herbert Frank Slade flew the
aircraft on 12 sorties before becoming tour-expired at the end of
July, having completed a total of 58 ops with the Squadron, for
which he received an immediate DSO. ND875 was also flown by the CO,
Wing Commander T. L. Bingham-Hall DSO DFC, who had come to the
Squadron in the same month as this aircraft.
notable pilots to fly ND875 were Squadron Leader A.W.G. Cochrane,
who would end the war with the DSO DFC and two Bars, Squadron Leader
T.E. Ison DSO, DFC, Squadron Leader P.F. Clayton DFC, who arrived
from No 582 Squadron in August 1944, and Squadron Leader Reg F
Griffin DSO, DFC. Cochrane had already flown a tour on Wellingtons
and by February 1945 had himself completed 80 operations. He flew at
least 14 of these as either Master or Deputy Master Bomber.
ND875 flew on
D-Day, was shot-up by a night fighter on 23 June which knocked-out
the port outer engine (becoming Cat AC), then flew over Caen when
the Allied outbreak started. On 7 October, Thomas Ison flew a 'Long
Stop' mission to Cleve, his duty being to ensure bombers did not
overshoot the bomb-line and drop their loads onto Allied troops in
the Nijmegen Salient.
In total, Ison
took ND875 on 17 trips, and Cochrane four - including one during
which, acting as Master Bomber over Goch on 7/8 February 1945, they
collided with another aircraft. Although the Lanc lost a chunk of
its port wing, Cochrane continued to direct the bombing and stayed
over the target until all had bombed.
Its 100th op
was recorded as being flow on 24 March 1945 with Squadron Leader
Clayton in command, on another 'Long Stop' sortie for a raid against
a Benzol plant near Dortmund. ND875 was credited with a total of
108 raids, although not all can be verified, but the aircraft
certainly flew over 100 ops.
ND875 went to No 1660
CU on 26 July, then to No 1668 CU on 20 October, where the aircraft
remained until March 1946, when it returned to No 1660 CU. Its final
service was with no 1653 CU with effect from 9 November 1946 and
then the Lanc went to No 15 MU on 9 May 1947 where it was Struck off
Charge on 28 August.