Tag Archives: F/Lt James ‘Jimmy’ Gunn

New Biographies Added

2 new Aircrew Biographies are now available to see on this site. Both were made possible by individuals who stumbled across the site and made contact. The first contact was from the nephew of George Carcasson, a Navigator with the Squadron between September 1944 and March 1945. The original email contact said:

“Hello, I have just discovered your blog. George Carcasson was my uncle. I have his log book and it has been fun matching up the dates with the ones you have posted here.”

George’s nephew was in possession of lots of resources including his logbook and many photographs. The logbook was of particular interest, as George had recorded the aircraft he flew in by the Tail Code, and not the Serial Number.

I have seen a few pages of the logbook, and hope to see more when my contact has some spare time on his hands, but already I have been able to identify some new Tail Codes which have been added to the Squadron Aircraft page. This is of huge benefit to everyone with an interest in the history of the Squadron.

George was obviously a very intelligent man, and came to the Squadron with a number of patents relating to aircraft navigation to his name. He served as Navigation Officer for the squadron during his time with 488(NZ) Squadron. You can read George’s biography here.

The second contact was from a nephew of Jim Affleck, one of the early casualties of Broody’s tour. The initial contact was via a comment on the post recording the loss of Affleck and his pilot James Gunn. My contact and his brother were kind enough to provide a wealth of information relating to Jim, including some fantastic photos and his Service History.

They were also able to provide a copy of the Combat Report relating to the Heinkel III that Gunn and Affleck destroyed shortly before they crashed. This was interesting and sobering as, rather than having been completed and signed by the pilot and his navigator, it was written and signed by the Squadron’s Intelligence Officer, Leslie Hunt.

Jim was another interesting character who had already flown with 29 and 409 Squadrons before he arrived at 488(NZ) in July 1942. Throughout his RAFVR career, he flew many flights with S/Ldr Richard Macklow Trousdale. These included Operations that resulted in the destruction of 2 enemy aircraft and 1 locomotive, and one further enemy aircraft claimed as damaged. You can read Jim’s biography here.

I am delighted that relatives of these airmen have got in touch and have been able and willing to provide information that has allowed me to publish biographies of these men.

I would urge anyone else with information relating to airmen of 488(NZ) Squadron to get in touch so  that further biographies can be added to serve both as useful historical research tools and of course lasting tributes to these brave men. It does not matter how much or how little information you have – I am more than happy to dig deeper if I get an interesting lead.

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488(NZ) Squadron leaves RAF Bradwell Bay

On 01/v/44, the the following entry was made in the Squadrons Operations Record Book:

“Information received that Squadron would proceed to Zeals in Wiltshire on the 4th instant”

So ended an 8 month tenure at Bradwell Bay, defending London and the South East of England from Luftwaffe raids coming from Continental Europe. In hindsight, of course, it is likely that this move was in anticipation of the planned invasion of Europe, and a tactical deployment of Night Fighters to protect the invasion and subsequent Allied advance.

Broody recorded his flying summary for his time at Bradwell Bay:

SUMMARY for BRADWELL-on-SEA
4/ix/43 to 5/v/44

TOTAL BEAUFIGHTER DAY 7H40M
TOTAL MOSQUITO DAY 73H35M
TOTAL OXFORD DAY 9H25M
TOTAL TIGER MOTH DAY 1H30M
TOTAL DAY FLYING 92H10M
TOTAL MOSQUITO NIGHT 100H20M
TOTAL NIGHT OPERATIONS 96H35M
TOTAL DAY OPERATIONS 00H35M

During their time at Bradwell Bay, the Squadron suffered the loss of 17 airmen. Their stories have already been told on this blog, and their names recorded in the Roll of Honour.

At what remains of the airfield today, there is a memorial to all those who lost their lives operating from the airfield. The names of 488’s 17 are recorded there.

The memorial at the site of RAF Bradwell Bay

The memorial at the site of RAF Bradwell Bay

The inscription reads: “This memorial has been erected in memory of the 121 members of the Allied Air Forces who in answer to the call of duty left this airfield to fly into the blue forever

RAF Zeals is at Grid Reference ST 78018 32945, between the villages of Stourton and Mere, just off the A303. Not much remains of the airfield today – it has returned to agricultural use – apart from the old control tower which has been converted into a private residence. On the aerial phot below, you can still see the perimeter fence and some dispersal pans in the wooded area on the North East side.

The site of RAF Zeals as it looks today. (Image from Google Earth)

The site of RAF Zeals as it looks today. (Image from Google Earth)

B Flight left for RAF Zeals on the morning of 4th, with A Flight (including Broody) remaining at Bradwell bay to maintain defensive flying. The main party moved by road in a convoy of 58 vehicles.

The ORB recorded on the 4th that: “On arrival at Zeals, it was found that they were not really in a position for us to operate from there, and W/C R.C.Haine visited 10 Group and obtained permission to move to Colerne until Zeals was ready.”

 The Squadron duly relocated to Colerne, some 25 miles to the North, where they remained for 7 days until moving back to Zeals on 11/v/44.