RAF air gunner log book group KIA

RAF air gunner log book group KIA

Code: 10385


RAF air gunner log book group, killed in action.

Thomas Nelson was from Co. Antrim in Northern Ireland, and he joined the RAF as a volunteer reserve in 1943.

He trained as an air gunner and gained his AG brevet in April 1943. After months of further crew training on the cumbersome Whitley bomber, Sgt Nelson was then posted to 158 Squadron, Lissett on Halifax bombers. Here he teamed up with fello Irishman and pilot F/O Holmes with his crew, Sgt Nelson became the rear gunner.

Their first operation was on 8th October 1943 to Hanover, which was successful but upon returning to England the ground visibility was poor and assistance was given by ground control to land at RAF Coltishall. Then came operations to Kassel, Cannes, Leipzig. Operation to Frankfurt on the night 20/21st December saw them attacked by a night fighter near to Antwerp, but without any damage. January 20/21st 1944, saw operations to the Magdeburg which was bombed successfully. Next night saw another operation but this time to the 'big city' - Berlin, which was not as easy as the night before as they were hit by flak. February 15/16th, saw another trip to Berlin.

The night of February 19/20th, saw the squadron on operations to Leipzig. F/O Holmes and his regular crew with Sgt Nelson as the rear gunner, took off from Lissett at 0012 hours in Halifax LW501, M 'mother'. After nearly 2 1/2 hours of flight time and over Germany, near to Beedenbostel, the Halifax was attacked by a night fighter and subsequently shot down in flames. All were killed except for the flight engineer, Sgt. Barrett who became a POW. 

The log book is well written, and about a quarter full, with training and squadron operations, rubber stamps, and officer signatures. The last page is written 'death presumed' and dated 20/2/1944.

With the log are his original ACE miniature medal group, newspaper clipping, RAF log book letter, cwgc and Irish casualty records, copies of his operations from the squadron ORB, all held in a ring binder.