RAF KIA air gunner's log book, 76 Squadron
Log book and paperwork to airgunner Sergeant Walter John Mills R.A.F.V.R. (1179483), killed in action on 25th June 1942. The log starts on March 7th 1942 with training at No.9 Air Gunnery School School, Llandwrog, Caernarfon, Gwynedd, Wales on Whitley bombers. He had started there in February '42 and finished the course on 9th May, passing as an 'average' airgunner. On 23rd and 24th of the month he did two training flights on Boulton Paul Defiants and was posted to 76 Squadron in early June. Air test flights in Halifax bombers commenced on the 16th and his first operational flight took place on 25th June 1942. The aircraft took off at 23.36hrs from Middleton St. George near Darlington, County Durham, bound for the target of Bremen, Germany as part of the third of the 1,000 bomber raids. Unfortunately their aircraft, Halifax II 7747 MP-G, and all of the crew were lost without trace over the North Sea. It is believed to have been shot down by Luftwaffe night fighter pilot Oberfledwebel Heinz Struning of 7/NJG 2, flying a Ju88 C-6 from Gilze-Rijen airfield. Halifax Pilot Sgt. John Emerson Meyer R.C.A.F. - R/78978, aged 23; Sgt. James Stuart Almond - 567429, aged 23; Sgt. John McDonald Cameron - 1365297, aged 19; Sgt. William Cecial Francoeur R.C.A.F. - R/77217, aged 26; Sgt. Arthur Cecil Gasson - 1310825, aged 26; Sgt. Walter John Mills - 1179483, aged 27 and Sgt. Alan Wearmouth - 1032518, aged 19 are all commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial. The log is marked in red 'OPS: BREMEN - MISSING' and signed off by the 76 Squadron Commanding Officer (C.O.). It comes with a slip from the Air Officer included when the log was forwarded to his parents, Frederick and Lucy Jane Mills of Frome, Somerset. Also included is the dreaded 'M.I.A.' telegram sent by the 76 Sqdrn. C.O. to his mother, stating 'Regret to inform you that your son Sgt. Walter John Mills is missing as a result of air operations on the night of 25th 26th June 1942...' In addition there is his medal box (label absent) and named medal entitlement slips. Sadly the medals, comprised of the 39-45 and Air Crew Europe stars and War medal, are absent. A really poignant KIA log book worthy of further research. Stock code P23481.