Monthly Archives: October 2022

From Clarence Simonsen’s collection

Updated from the original version with this comment and Clarence Simonsen’s reply…

Hi, Couple of things regarding entry for Spook N Droop. 427 Squadron code letters were ZL ( not KW). Lancaster ME501 was coded ZL-T. 427 flew Halifax until 3rd week of Feb 1945, then transitioned to Lancaster I and III. Commenced operations in the Lancaster March 11 1945. Most of Dad’s ( F/O FD Kaye) Ops were in ZL-T including Exodus and sightseeing flights with Leeming base staff and ground crew over France and Germany. Their final flight June 1 1945 over Dingle Ireland. ( dates from pilot’s log) 10 days later they were on a ship. When I saw the images on this page I immediately remembered seeing this as a child- I think as a drawing, not a photo. ( Should I find anything concrete I will share) A Germanic speaker relates that the context of « Spook ‘n Droop » could be best explained as a « Haunting from Above »

Clarence Simonsen’s reply

Nos. 427 and 429 were both formed in RAF No. 4 Group on 7th November 1942, located at RAF Stations Croft and East Moor respectively.

On 10 August 1943, the two squadrons came together when No. 429 moved to RCAF Station Leeming, where No. 427 was based. This was where they both similarly re-equipped with Halifax B. Mk. III aircraft. Later, on 19 February 1945, both squadrons again re-equipped with the British built Lancaster Mk. I and Mk. III aircraft. Both squadrons would again be disbanded together on 31 May 1946.

F/O F.D. Kaye J37990 was posted to No. 427 [Lion] Squadron on 14 January 1945 and began flying Halifax aircraft on 2/3 February 1945, Halifax “U” serial LW130. They flew this same Halifax on 4 Feb. and 13/14 Feb. 45. Next came Halifax “G” serial RG347, then “Q” LV942 on 20/21 Feb. and “R” MZ755 on the last operation #6 on 21 February 1945. The Kaye crew now trained and converted to the British Lancaster aircraft and flew first two operations in “R” serial NX555 on 11 March [day trip] and night trip on 14/15 March. Their third operation was in Lancaster ZL-T which was serial ME501. [This was not SNOOP ‘N DROOP] Never, never, never.

In No. 429 [Bison] Squadron J36547 H.A.M. Humphries was assigned to fly Halifax Mk. III, serial LV860 squadron code AL-T on 28/29 January 1945. This Halifax was painted with the original SPOOK ‘N DROOP nose art and they would fly nine operations with the twin Death-Heads. In early April Humphries crew were training and converting to the new British Mk. III Lancaster, and they were assigned squadron code AL-T, serial NN701. By the third operation on 10 April to bomb Leipzig, Germany, they had the local nose artist paint the same Halifax nose art on their new British aircraft. 

The attached photo shows Lancaster Mk. III serial NN701, with the new nose art and the three bombs. This photo and the other [in the article] with F/O Humphries in the cockpit, were both obtained from his son at Calgary, Alberta, in 1999. 

My history is very clear, and takes tons of research. 

Regards – Clarence


Original post

Everything on Preserving the Past II is to preserve the past for future generations. With this in mind, Preserving the Past II is the sequel to Preserving the Past which was originally created to help Clarence Simonsen publish his research mostly on nose art. Little did I know then was how much research Clarence had […]

From Clarence Simonsen’s collection