|LAC. Wallace Jackson in North Africa and Italy with 70 Squadron, RAF, 1941-1944|
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Flt Sgt William Burgess
Contributed by his son, Bill Burgess
WAR DIARY OF FLIGHT SERGEANT W C J BURGESS (1383879)
70 SQUADRON B FLIGHT
· Kairouan Temmar 17/7/1943 to 14/11/1943
· Djedeida 14/11/1943 to 20/12/1943
· Cerignola 20/12/1943 to 29/12/1943
Crew on all ops except 2,3,5 & 6 (2nd pilot trips) consisted of:
Navigator F/Sgt Meyer (NZ)
Bomb Aimer F/O Urquhart (NZ)
W/Op Sgt Bond
Rear A/G Sgt Kaye
On ops.... B/As were F/O McLaughlin (Can) & F/O Goode due to our Bomb Aimer being sick.
28/04/1943 10/05/43 Wellington III HE646
RAF HURN-GIBRALTAR-CASTEL BENITO-LETE-CAIRO WEST-FAYID
Very straightforward trip. Weather quite good until Spanish coast raised. Plenty of cu-nim. Had difficulty in identifying the Rock owing to low cloud. Route from Gib easy but plenty of high ground encountered. Pranged Lightning spotted in salt lake. No signs of life. Position reported on arrival at Castel Benito.
19/07/1943 Wellington X HF526
BASE (KAIROUAN TEMMAR)-AQUINO-BASE
2nd pilot. 1ST pilot: F/O McNamara. Very little to do except take over controls on trip & keep eyes skinned for other aircraft in the target area in TA. Raid a success & several DH seen. Few fires reported. Opposition-slight-negligible.
21 & 23/07/1943 Wellington III HF675 & HZ182
BASE SALERNO-BASE TARGET:-RAILWAY JUNCTION. 7x500, 30x24 Incendiaries.
2ND pilot. 1ST pilots Sgt Charboneau & S/L Turner. Routine as above. Large fires started on both raids & TA severely pranged. Opposition-moderate to nil.
1/08/1943 Wellington III HF742 W
BASE-NAPLES-BASE TARGET:-MARSHALLING YARDS
2nd pilot. 1st pilot F/Sgt Grundy. Coned in searchlights but evasive action successful. Several fires started in yards. Raid a success. Reception-warm.
5/08/1943 Wellington III HZ182 & HZ121
BASE-MESSINA-BASE TARGET-BEACHES. 6x500,6x250,8x40
2nd pilot for No.6.1st pilot F/O Howell. Flew as 1st pilot with own crew for No.7. Bombs seen to burst on beaches. Reception-fairly warm in places.
16/08/1943 Wellington III HZ182
BASE-VITERBO-BASE TARGET-L/G. 5x500,6x250,8x40
1st pilot.Quite an exciting affair as target was cloud obscured. Claimed DH on target. Fires started. Reception-cold.
20/08/1943 Wellington III HZ182
BASE-VILLA LITERNO-BASE TARGET-MARSHALLING YARDS. 9x500
1st pilot. Straightforward trip. Raid successful. Machine seen to explode in mid air on outward trip. Reception-lukewarm.
28/08/1943 Wellington III HZ182
BASE-TARANTO-BASE TARGET-MARSHALLING YARDS. 9x500
1st pilot. Target difficult to line up as best run up was over defences. Although flak was concentrated & accurate raid was a success. Reception-warm
4/09/1943 Wellington III DF706
BASE GRAZZMNIGE-BASE TARGET-SATELLITE L/G 18x250
1st pilot. Target easy to locate & was well & truly plastered. Several fires started. Saw one of our machines go down, believed to be through flare. Reception-nil.
14/09/1943 Wellington III DF706 Y
BASE-BATTIPAGLIA, EBOLI-BASE TARGET:-ROAD 18x250
1st pilot. Illumination excellent. Road was hit several times. Minor fires started-probably MT. Reception-slight.
15/09/1943 Wellington X HF524
BASE-TORRE ANNUNZIATA, POMPEII-BASE TARGET-ROAD 18x250
1st pilot. Successful raid. Many fires started . Reception-nil.
18/09/1943 Wellington III DF689 S
BASE-VITERBO-BASE TARGET:-AERODROME 18x250
1st pilot. Cloud not present this time. Attack pressed home & was successful. Seven large fires seen. One machine seen to catch fire & crash probably due to heavy flak. Reception-warm & accurate.
21/09/1943 Wellington X HF524
BASE-BASTIA-BASE TARGET:-HARBOUR & DOCK INSTALLATION 9X500
1st pilot. Trip was a strain as weather was bad. Target located through enemy hosing flak. Several fires started & one heavy explosion took place. Reception-slight.
30/09/1943 Wellington III HF796
BASE-FORMIA-BASE TARGET:-ROAD JUNCTION 9X500
1st pilot. Target located & straddled. Straightforward & easy. Reception-nil.
8/10/1943 Wellington III HZ121 S
BASE-MONORAGONE,AVIGNANO,MORCONE 285,000 NICKELS
1st pilot. Weather bad for the whole trip. At times the towns were obscured by cloud. Nickels were dropped in the vicinity of the towns & upwind. Reception-nil.
20/10/1943 Wellington X LN488 K
BASE-FURBARA-BASE TARGET:-AERODROME 12x250, 24x40
1st pilot. Target was well covered especially with ??? Several fires started probably aircraft. Reception-nil.
22/10/1943 Wellington X LN488 K
BASE-PORTO CIVITANOVA-BASE TARGET:- RAILWAY BRIDGE 6x500, 2x250
1ST pilot. Although the target area was well covered the bridge was not hit. The approaches however were destroyed. Our aircraft bombed from 2000 feet but owing to flames could not get a decent run up. Reception-nil.
24/10/1943 Wellington X LN337 P
BASE-PISTOIA-BASE TARGET:-MARSHALLING YARDS 6x500, 2x250
1st pilot. Altogether a gen trip as weather was adverse & aircraft were bombing through cloud. Several large fires started. This trip supposed to be the longest undertaken by Wellington aircraft during this war. Reception-very slight.
22/11/1943 Wellington X LN317 W
BASE-CIAMPINO-BASE TARGET:-AIRFIELD 6x250, 36x40
1st pilot. This was the first trip from the new field. The take off was in daylight. The weather was fairly lousy, there being plenty of cloud & haze. Three guns were in action at the pp on the Italian coast. The airfield was pranged & should be U/S for quite a time. Return trip was OK & we were the first in 70 to make a night landing at the drome. Reception-slight & very erratic.
24/11/1943 Wellington X LN317 W
BASE-TURIN-BASE TARGET:-BALL BEARING WORKS 6x500
1st pilot. The trip was undertaken through pretty terrible weather. Cloud obscured practically everything. Snow,rain & icing conditions were encountered. The target area was totally obscured by cloud so it was not pranged. However on the return we dropped our bombs near or on a busy road near Savona. After the P/F had exploded etc. Six heavy guns opened up from the coast but the flak was easily evaded. The sack of nickels was scattered in the Turin area. On return to base learnt that 15 aircraft were missing of which five were from 70 squadron.
28/11/1943 Wellington X LN488 K
BASE-CIAMPINO-BASE TARGET:- AERODROME
1st pilot. The weather for a change was reasonably good. Pinpoints in Italy were hard to pick up as cloud & haze were fairly abundant. The first flares were dropped well away from the target. We bombed the second lot of flares & hangars were identified as being those of the target detailed. Some dispute has arisen as to whether the target was the actual one. One aircraft was hit by flak & crashed in the target area. Parachutes were reported. Reception-was of light flak, which was fairly accurate.
1/12/1943 Wellington X LN337 P
BASE-PONTASSIEVE-BASE TARGET:- MARSHALLING YARDS 9x500
1st pilot. We were reserve aircraft. Owing to an aircraft going U/S & difficulty in starting the aircraft in front of us we were about 20 minutes late in getting airborne. Trip was uneventful until the Italian coast was crossed, as our other aircraft had aroused the defences we had to run the gauntlet alone. The searchlights & flak were easily evaded but were extremely awkward. The target was lightly defended but owing to the proximity of high ground & other aircraft evasive action had to be kept to a minimum. The target was successfully pranged & the return trip was uneventful. Reception-moderate but accurate when encountered
29/12/1943 Wellington X LN317 W
1ST pilot. This should have been No.25. Unfortunately F/O Urquhart collapsed after we had been airborne just over an hour. A message was sent to base giving reasons & details of our return. We were diverted to Foggia Main. F/O Urquhart was then taken to 30MFH. From there he went to Algiers & to date is awaiting a medical.
10/01/1944 Wellington X LN317 W
BASE-PIRAEUS (ATHENS)-BASE TARGET:- DOCKS ILLUMINATOR
1st pilot. As Sgt.Bond was indisposed, Sgt Newey came as W/Op, F/S Knowles as B/A. The trip out was uneventful, but on arriving at the target we found that several aircraft were bombing out of turn. We sneaked in when somebody else was the centre of interest. However the defences switched over to us. We kept on course with all possible speed. The flak proved too hot & we dropped the flares just short of target. Owing to the intensity of the defences we were forced down to 1500 feet (indicated). At this height & with an airspeed of 270 mph (indicated) we were too fast for the light guns to line up on us. On instructions the R/AG Sgt Kaye fired at searchlights which coned us & successfully extinguished two of their number. Return was uneventful.
15/01/1944 Wellington X LN488 K
1st pilot. On this trip we took a second nav Sgt Barkla. F/Sgt Meyer our nav acting as screen. The navigator did little to inspire confidence & our own nav kept checking his work at vital points. In spite of this we finished up about 20 miles from the target & as it was near blitz time we did the next best thing & dropped them where there should have been a few of the enemy. Sgt Appleton came as B/A.
20/01/1944 Wellington X LN488 K
BASE-CECINA-BASE TARGET:- RAILWAY BRIDGE 6x500,6x250
1st pilot. Our B/A was Sgt Taylor. For his first operation he did a fine job & should do quite well in the future. We arrived at the target just before the flares went down. Several runs were made & at least one bomb in each stick was near the bridge. Return was uneventful.
22/01/1944 Wellington X HE341
1st pilot. F/Sgt Knowles came as B/A. Unfortunately when only a short run from the target we were unable to maintain height owing to icing conditions affecting engines & airframe. The bomb was jettisoned over a defended point that had given us trouble.
12/02/1944 Wellington X HE342 R
BASE-ANZIO BRIDGEHEAD-BASE 1x4000
1st pilot. On this occasion our B/A was F/Lt Wagstaffe. The raid was designed to relieve our troops at the Rome landing. We searched for a while to find a village to prang. Eventually we sighted Willetra but as it was hazy it was hard to say where the bomb fell.
14/02/1944 Wellington X HE342 R
BASE-CECCHINA BEACH AREA-BASE 1x4000
1st pilot. B/A F/O Fisher. On arriving at the target area we P/P on a lake, turned over it & headed towards a marker T behind our lines. After 30 seconds we released a flare. The flare opened overa village. After dropping another we did our run up & bombed. The bomb undershot & fell on the outskirts of the village. Later we saw that two of our flares had fallen on the village & started small fires. Next day we found that we had bombed the village we looked for on our previous trip. As it was in the same area the result was the same.
16/02/1944 Wellington X LN851 Y
BASE-SAN STEFANO-BASE TARGET:-MARSHALLING YARDS 9x500
1ST pilot. Our B/A this trip was Sgt. Osborne. The target was located without any difficulty, & we made two runs by the light of the flames. After completing our second run the W/OP F/Sgt Bond saw about 20 ships in a bay east of the target. We dropped a flare in the hope that following aircraft would concentrate on it but our idea failed. Anyway we left the target in a sorry mess as most of the bombs fell in the same area.
24/02/1944 Wellington X LN352 P
BASE-STEYR AUSTRIA-BASE TARGET:- A/C Factory 9X500
1st pilot. Our extras this time were Sgt. Smythe B/A & Sgt. Blockdale 2 W/OP. The trip was OK except that most of us pranged the wrong target which was very similar to the intended target. A factory was definitely pranged. On return extremely low cloud kept us out at sea until it had lifted sufficiently enough for us to get beneath with a safety margin.
11/03/1944 Wellington X LN317 W
BASE-GENOA-BASE TARGET;- MARSHALLING YARDS ILLUMINATOR
1ST pilot. F/Sgt Hanrahan had been put in the crew as B/A & this was his first trip with us. The outward trip was easy. The target area was 10/10 cloud, but the boys bombed on the flak. Our flares were dropped the same way, in the hope that if anybody was below cloud it would help hem. On the return flak was encountered off Orbocella & ten minutes off the Volturno the starboard engine cut for lack of petrol. Made a forced landing at Marsenaisse & just after landing the port engine cut causing the aircraft to swing off the runway taking a Piper Cub with it. Prop tip was bent & flaps damaged.
28/03/1944 WellingtonX LN985 K
BASE-MILAN-BASE TARGET:- MARSHALLINGYARDS 6x500
1st pilot. As usual the outward trip was OK until we reached Verona which was quite heavily defended for its size. At Milan defences if any took a night off & quite a good prang was achieved. The trip back was routine as we took care to avoid Verona.
2/04/1944 Wellington X LN498 P
BASE-VICENZA-BASE TARGET:- MARSHALLING YARDS ILLUMINATOR
1ST pilot. After a decent trip up we boobed horribly. The B/A was map reading & gave alterations etc. A few minutes before blitz & on our ETA a town similar to Vicenza lay beneath us. We dropped a shufti flare & the B/A said it was the target. As it was time we dropped our 54 flares & despite reflection from ground haze saw that it wasnt what we thought. Half a dozen long trains were in the marshalling yards & although two other aircraft dropped their flares the few aircraft that did bomb these did not meet with success.
12/04/1944 Wellington X HE341
BASE-BUDAPEST-BASE TARGET:- MARSHALLING YARDS 1x4000
1st pilot. As we could not carry an overload we were routed direct. Nothing was encountered until we reached a lake near the town. From there flak followed us in. In the target area it was inclined to be uncomfortable, but a liberal sprinkling of window had a marked effect on the defences controlled by RDF. The target was hit hard & when we left several fires were blazing. The trip back was uneventful.
16/04/1944 Wellington X LN498 P
BASE-BUDAPEST-BASE TARGET:- MARSHALLING YARDS 7x500
1st pilot. This time we went to Budapest a different way. Slight opposition was encountered on the way up but the fun started at the lake. The target area was south of the previous one & the bombing had to be south-north. After the completion of the run an extremely thick curtain of mixed flak went up dead ahead. A turn was made onto 90 degrees & held there until the flak had gone off. Then a turn to 180 degrees & we were on our way home.
23/04/1944 Wellington X LN985
BASE-SAN STEFANO-BASE TARGET:- HARBOUR & SHIPPING 9x5001st pilot. A nice easy trip & a short one. The three gun batteries made things exciting, especially as the run in was over whose crews knew their job. The target area was well covered & was left in nice mess. On returning to base was told that we had been Tour Expired.