Martin LORD

Serial Number: NZ413096
RNZAF Trade: Pilot
Date of Enlistment: 25th of May 1941
Rank Achieved: Pilot Officer
Flying Hours: 542 hours
Operational Sorties: 19 Ops

Date of Birth: 15th of February 1922, at Bulls, Manawatu
Personal Details:
Martin was the second son of Mr Eric Edwin Lord and Mrs Louisa Katharine Lord, of Putaruru, and grandson of Mr and Mrs R.A. Martin of Roto-o-Rangi. Martin was brought up by his grandparents at Roto-o-Rangi from the age of five years old.

He was educated at Roto-o-Rangi School, and Cambridge District High School, where at the latter he attained a Senior Free Place. He enjoyed playing football and tennis.

On leaving school Martin worked on his grandfather's farm. He was employed there when, on the 23rd of September 1940, he applied to join the RNZAF. His older brother Norman Lord was a Sergeant Pilot in the RAF, and younger brother Clive was in the Navy

Service Details: Martin enlisted at the Initial Training Wing at Levin on the 25th of May 1941. He was then posted to No. 2 Elementary Flying Training School at RNZAF Bell Block, New Plymouth, arriving on the 5th of July 1941. As there is a gap considerably more than the obligatory three weeks of ITW, he may have been employed at Levin for a few weeks with an Aerodrome Defence Unit or other such duties.

At 2 EFTS Martin learned to fly in the de Havilland Tiger Moth, and by the 20th of October 1941 he'd achieved the required standard and was onboard the SS Mariposa on his way to Canada. There he was to complete his training under the Empire Air Training Scheme.

Martin arrived in Canada in early November 1941, and on the 10th of that month he began training on Course No. 42 at No. 4 Service Flying Training School, Saskatoon, in Saskatchewan. He passed this course on the 27th of February 1942, and was promoted to the rank of Sergeant.

On the 10th of March 1942 Martin proceeded to No. 1 "Y" Depot, Halifax, Nova Scotia, to await embarkation on a troopship for England.

He arrived at No. 3 Personnel Reception Centre, Bournemouth on the 24th of March 1942. A month later, on the 27th of April, he received a posting to No. 14 (Pilots) Advanced Flying Unit at Ossington, Nottinghamshire. At this school he honed his skills in advanced flying and night flying.

In early June Martin undertook a course in Beam Approach flying at Scampton, in Lincolnshire, and on the 7th of July 1942 he proceeded to No. 11 Operational Training Unit at Bassingbourn, Herts., where he crewed up and underwent training on the Wellington bomber.

On the 25th of September 1942, Martin was posted to 'A' Flight, No. 75 (NZ) Squadron at Feltwell in Norfolk. On the 22nd of October, following a period of working up on the squadron, Martin and his crew undertook their first operational sortie. As was standard practice they had an experienced squadron pilot on the crew as the captain and Martin assumed the role of 2nd pilot. This op with an old hand as the captain would show them the ropes of operational flying before Martin took his own crew on operations by himself with full responsibility.

So his first operational sortie was with Pilot Officer Gerald Jacobson as captain, in Wellington X3936. The rest of that crew were Sergeants David Wellington (Navigator, RNZAF), Norman Young (Wireless Operator-Air Gunner, RAF), Charles Farley (Front Air Gunner, RAF) and Jack Oliver (Rear Air Gunner, RAF). With two other aircraft from the squadron they made a daylight attack on the built up area of Essen, in Germany, dropping 500lb and 250lb.General Purpose bombs, along with 30lb incendiary bombs. No enemy aircraft or anti-aircraft fire was encountered and they all returned to Feltwell safely.

The next operation came on the night of the 25/26 of October 1942, when Martin now had full command of his aircraft *Wellington X3597) and his crew as the captain. His crew were Sgt's Wellington, Young and Oliver, with Sgt Peter Pearson (Wireless Operator-Air Gunner) replacing Farley as the Front Gunner. Their task, along with one other Wellington from the squadron, was to lay sea mines (known as 'Gardening') around the port of Brest. They "sowed" their 1500lb "Vegetables" (codename for the mines) without any interference from the enemy. Of special interest, this operation flown by the two aircraft, X3597 captained by Martin Lord and BK274 captained by Herbert Dalzell, was the last ever operation flown by No. 75 (NZ) Squadron flying the Vickers Wellington type. The squadron was in the process of converting to the Short Stirling and resumed operations in that larger four-engined type in November 1942.

'A' Flight of No. 75 (NZ) Squadron was posted on the 29th of October 1942 to RAF Oakington, to No. 1657 Heavy Conversion Unit, where they began a course to convert to the four-engined Short Stirling bomber. 'B' Flight had already been there doing the course since the 15th of October. On completing their course the crews of the squadron were posted to their new station at RAF Newmarket, near Cambridge i East Anglia. This was a racecourse that had been converted into an aerodrome. The squadron would continue operations in Stirlings from there. before going onto operations though most crews had a period of training to get properly comfortable in their new bombers.

So it was not till the night of the 9/10 of January 1943 that Martin went back onto operations. His crew had expanded and changed a little. Now with him aboard Stirling BK619 were Sgt's Wellington, Young and Oliver as before, but with the addition of Sgt's Leonard Nash (Flight Engineer, RAF) and Robert McKerrell (Air Gunner, RAF) and Pilot Officer Thomas Brown (Air Bomber, RAF). This first op in the Stirling for them saw them mine laying north of Terschelling (the Frisians), laying four 1500lb "vegetables". Again they saw no enemy aircraft or anti-aircraft fire.

Martin's fourth operation occurred on the night of the 14/15 of January 1943, when with the same crew aboard Stirling BK619 again, they attacked the French port of Lorient. Dropping 1,000lb bombs and 4lb incendiaries from 10,000 feet, the three No. 75 (NZ) Squadron Stirlings that took part in the 122 bomber raid all hit the target area successfully. Whilst the squadron crews saw no enemy aircraft, this was the first operation that Martin had flown in which light anti-aircraft fire was experienced. However it was reported to have been inaccurate and posed no real threat to his aircraft.

Martin was promoted to the rank of Flight Sergeant on the 21st of January 1943.

On the night of the 3rd of February 1943, Martin and his crew took off in Stirling N3683 to make a raid on the German city of Hamburg. Additional to his now regular crew, he also had a second pilot, Warrant Officer Trevor Burke (Pilot, RNZAF), onboard. All nine Stirlings from the squadron were carrying bomb loads of 4lb incendiaries, designed to burn buildings.

This raid did not go to plan however, the wintry icing conditions experienced along the way forced many of the 263 bombed (Stirlings, Halifax, Lancasters and Wellingtons) to turn back. This included Martin and his crew, plus another of the Stirlings from No. 75 (NZ) Squadron, who both experienced such dangerous icing conditions on the route to Hamburg that they were forced to turn back, landing back at Newmarket at 21.15hrs. Also on the raid the Pathfinders were unable to accurately pinpoint the target using H2S, and the German night fighters were very active. In total the RAF lost 16 bombers, two of which were Stirlings of No. 75 (NZ) Squadron.

The next operational flight for Martin came the next day, when on the night of the 4/5 of February 1943 he and his crew (now without W/O Burke) were assigned to attack targets in Turin, Italy. The seven Stirlings of No. 75 (NZ) Squadron were carrying 1,000lb GP bombs, 500lb GP bombs, and 4lb incendiaries. Martin was again captain of Stirling N3683 and this time he and his crew made it to the target and successfully bombed, and returned home to Newmarket.

Martin's crew was in action again on the night of the 7/8 of February 1943, and again they were joined by 2nd Pilot Warrant Officer Trevor Burke. Also of note, by this trip David Wellington had been promoted to Flight Sergeant. This time the target was Lorient in France again. Their Stirling N3683 was loaded with 1,000lb GP bombs and 4lb incendiaries, and they successfully attacked the target area and returned to base.

The squadron, including Martin and his crew in Stirling BK624 this time (without W/O Burke) made a similar attack with similar bomb load on Lorient on the night of the 13/14 of February 1943.

An interesting operation on the night of the 18/19 of February 1943 saw two of the squadron's Stirlings, including Martin and his crew in N3863 detailed to lay mines off the coast of neutral Spain. The other aircraft suffered mechanical issues and failed to get airborne, leaving Martin's aircraft as the only one taking part in this operation. They took off at 18.50hrs on the 18th of February, with a load of two 1,500lb mines to lay. However en route they began to experience problems with the port inner engine, and failing to rectify the problem the crew decided to return to base without carrying out the operation. It turned out when the engine was looked at, they had a faulty RPM counter.

The following night, 19/20 of February, Martin and his crew, including W/O Burke, were back in the air aboard a different Stirling - EF337 - to make an attack on the German port at Wilhelmshaven. They carried their standard bomb load of 1,000lb GP bombs and 4lb incendiaries, but the raid was not a success due to the Pathfinders Force marking well north of the intended target due to them having been supplied out of date maps. During the raid their aircraft was coned by searchlights for three minutes and the anti-aircraft fire was concentrated on their lit up bomber but they Martin managed to get out of the light before they were actually hit, and his and the other No. 75 (NZ) Squadron crews got back home safely.

The next target for Martin and his crew was the German city of Nuremberg, on the night of 25/26 of February 1943. The crew, minus Burke for this one, were flying in Stirling R9243, and the seven aircraft from No. 75 (NZ) Squadron on the 427 bomber raid were carrying a mix of 1,000lb and 500lb GP bombs, and 30lb and 4lb incendiaries. The weather was bad, the Pathfinders marked the target late and the bombs fell on the northern edge of the city, and into countryside and onto the village of Fűrth. Some damage was done in Nuremberg but not as much as had been intended.

Martin and his crew were out again in B9243 on the night of the 26/27 of February 1943, making an attack on Cologne. This time rather than W/O Burke they had another 2nd Pilot onboard, then Sgt (later Flight Lieutenant) Richard French, RNZAF, who'd later be awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross. Martin and his crew hit their intended target in the centre of Cologne accurately, and despite anti-aircraft fire and fighters being observed they got home safely.

On the night of 28th of February/1st of March 1943 Martin and his crew (with no 2nd Pilot) carried out a raid on the French port of St Nazaire. As with the previous raids on Lorient, the target was the German U-boat pens and supporting harbour installations. Their aircraft for this occasion was BF451, dropping 1,000lb bombs and 30lb and 4lb incendiaries, causing widespread damage to the target and getting safely home despite accurate anti-aircraft fire.

After this intensive period of operational flying through February the crew had ten days leave, and returned to operations on the night of the 11/12 of March 1943, with the target being the Bosch factory in Stuttgart in Germany. The regular seven-man crew were aboard Stirling R9243 with a load of 30lb and 4lb incendiaries. Whilst the Pathfinders marked the target accurately, the main bomber force arrived late and consequently most of their bombs fell into open country, missing the target.

Martin's crew took part in the second raid of the Battle of the Ruhr on the night of the 12/13 of March 1943 when they took Stirling W7513 to attack the huge Krupp Werke factory in Essen, Germany. No. 75 (NZ) Squadron's seven Stirlings that took part in the 457 aircraft raid were loaded with 2,000lb and 1,000lb bombs, and 30lb and 4ln incendiaries. The raid did reasonable damage to the factory, destroyed nearly 500 houses and killed approximately 200 people.

The Essen raid was Martin's 16th operational sortie, although two were probably not counted in his tally as he'd not reached the target in the Hamburg raid and the mine laying off the coast of Spain.

At this point, on the 17th of March 1942, he and his crew of David Wellington, Norm Young, Tom Brown, Len Nash, Bob McKerrell and Jack Oliver were posted away from No. 75 (NZ) Squadron and went to join the elite Pathfinder Force with No. 7 Squadron PFF. This unit was based at RAF Oakington, Cambridgeshire, and was also flying Short Stirlings at this time.

The crew took part in two more operations, the first being on St Nazaire in France. Martin was commissioned as a Pilot Officer just before he was posted missing.

Details of Death: Martin was piloting a No. 7 Squadron PFF Short Stirling I (coded BF317/X) on a raid on Berlin, Germany (a raid made by 396 aircraft, of which 10 were lost) on the night of Saturday the 27th March 1943.

His aircraft took off at 19:40hrs and was brought down by flak over Germany, crashing at Melchiorshausen, 10km south of Bremen and 1KM SW of Leeste at 21:38hrs. All onboard were killed.

Buried at: The seven crew members were all killed and were at first buried at the Russian POW cemetery at Vechta, about 50km SW of Bremen, but later re-interred to Sage, 24kms south of Oldenburg.

Connection with Cambridge: Martin had lived at Roto-o-rangi in the Cambridge district since the age of 5, till he joined the RNZAF

Note: Details of this airman's death were sourced from the excellent volumes of 'For Your Tomorrow' by Errol Martyn.


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