Friday, 24 September 2010

Genealogy, Aubrey Belcher Lund DFC.

" If I had a photograph of you, something to remind me"

For a couple of years now I have been trying to find out some information about my Mums Dad,
Aubrey Belcher Lund, and with a faded photocopy of his RAF records I have been able to slowly piece together a few bits of information.

I had originally been trying to find a birth certificate for him as his place of birth is recorded as Greece (Rochester) Monroe USA. 19th of July 1917.
This led me to searching the website and after some digging I managed to find a two year old Aubrey on a passenger list returning from New York to Liverpool.
I then went backwards and found his father JT Lund travelling to New York alone, somewhere in between JT meets Naomi and they have Aubrey, here my search has dried up, I can not find who Naomi was, where she was from or even where she ended up!

Aubrey died on 2nd February 1961 when my mum was only six years old.

After watching the recent TV programs about the Battle of Britain I decided to have another look at the faded records and managed to read a few squadron numbers and found a column entitled 'Date of Gazette' I already have a copy of a page from the London Gazette but hadn't realised there were other mentions, so this was my first point of call, I found five different mentions.
Then I searched the internet for the different sqadrons listed
50 (bomber) squadron Waddington
14 Squadron Amman and Ismaili
102 Maintenance Unit
47 Squadron.
Whilst most were very interesting few gave names of crew.
So I emailed the host of 14 squadron association .
Mike emailed me back the following information:
Here are some extracts from my draft history of the Squadron which refer to your grandfather (quotes are from the memoir of Air Marshal Sir Anthony Selway which is in the RAF Museum):

Bombing Raid on Massawa on 11 May 1940 (First day of the war with Italy):
At 1600 hours Selway took off in Wellesley L2647 with his crew of Sgt J J W Mildren  and SAC A B Lund.  On his wing were Sgt Brown (in K7725) and Sgt L A J Patey (in L2645).  Climbing to ten thousand feet, Selway led his formation on a southeasterly track for the two-and-a-half hour transit to Massawa.  Ten minutes later the second wave, comprising Fg Off Soderholm (in K7723), Sgts Wimsett (in L2652) and R G Gilmore (in K7723) followed.  They, in turn, were trailed by Flt Lt A T Irvine  (in L2649), Fg Offs LeCavalier (in K7743) and R P B H Plunkett (in L2710).  
Approaching Massawa, Selway descended to the dropping altitude of five hundred feet, opened the bomb doors and selected the arming switches.  As darkness fell, at exactly 1830, he found the target and pressed home his attack.  “I think my second container load hit the target,” he reported, “for on the ‘C-r-ump!’ there was an immediate bright flash from under my wings, and over my shoulder I could see the glow of a petrol fire starting.  The firework display by the anti-aircraft barrage of all colours was most impressive.  Either Mildren or Lund had left his microphone on and all I heard as we went through all the fireworks was ‘Ker-ist! Ker-ist!’ in a low voice.  Suddenly it was all over and we were climbing up seawards to head for home.”  
Bombing Raid on Asmara 26 June 1940:
After the success of the first joint attack it was decided to try once again on 26 June.  Selway led the same team and the plan was very similar to the previous raid, except that the bombs would be dropped from 1,200 feet above the aerodrome.  This time the Wellesleys were greeted with heavy anti-aircraft fire as they approached Asmara and four CR42 fighters attempted to engage the 47 Squadron formation as they dived towards the target.  The CR42s closed in as the ten Wellesleys started to head homewards.  According to Selway “the CR42s were doing beam and stern attacks firing tracer.  One of them dived underneath me and pulled up well ahead and up into a half loop and fired at me as he came back completely upside down ... he - or one of the others - was quite a good shot.  There was suddenly a very strong smell of petrol and Mildren said ‘Sir, there’s petrol pouring into the belly of the fuselage from somewhere and it’s nearly ankle deep!’ and indeed the fumes were so powerful that I wondered they could put me out.  I told Mildren to switch off all electrics and to stop firing the guns and that he and Lund were to prepare to bale out if I said so.  I undid my straps, opened my sliding hood and the little side door and stood up and perched on the side of the cockpit and tried to keep the Wellesley straight and level with one hand.  My team drew closer in formation and watched me with some concern ... fortunately there was no spark and no hot pipe and therefore no fire and after about five minutes Mildren said ‘I think it’s going down’. Apparently we had lost most if not all of the fuel in the starboard wing and so I had to watch out for the engine cutting.  In any other aeroplane it would have meant a landing in enemy territory but not with the Wellesley with its vast reserves of fuel.”  Selway landed safely at Port Sudan, but not only had the Italian bullets had shot through the main fuel lines in the starboard wing, they had also torn a hole in the main tubular girder for the wing spar.  Additionally there was an eight-inch hole made by a shell splinter which had just missed the control runs in the tail-box. 
Armed with this information I have begun to dig a little deeper and found these articles in Flight Magazine

The first is a 3 page article about the director of accident prevention Air Commander ACH Sharp DSO and his 30,000 mile trip with his navigator F/lt A.B Lund DFC in a Mosquito P.R MK 34.

But still no RAF search continues....