Sgt. James Allen Ward, V.C. – new pictures of Wellington Mk.Ic L.7818 AA-R

A testament to the genius of Barnes Wallis’ design

75(nz)squadron

Close-up of the damage caused to Vickers Wellington Mark IC, L7818 'AA-V', of No. 75 (New Zealand) Squadron RAF, at Feltwell, Norfolk, after returning from an attack on Munster, Germany, on the night of 7/8 July 1941. While over the Zuider Zee, cannon shells from an attacking Messerschmitt Me 110 struck the starboard wing (A), causing a fire from a fractured fuel line which threatened to to spread to the whole wing. Efforts by the crew to douse the flames failed, and Sergeant James Allen Ward, the second pilot, volunteered to tackle the fire by climbing out onto the wing via the astro-hatch (B). With a dinghy-rope tied around his waist, he made hand and foot-holds in the fuselage and wings (1, 2 and 3) and moved out across the wing from where he was eventually able to extinguish the burning wing-fabric. His courageous actions earned him the Victoria Cross. He was shot down and killed while bombing Hamburg on the night of 15/16 September 1941, in another Wellington of the Squadron. CH 3223 Part of AIR MINISTRY SECOND WORLD WAR OFFICIAL COLLECTION Royal Air Force official photographer Close-up of the damage caused to Vickers Wellington Mark IC, L7818 ‘AA-V’, of No. 75 (New Zealand) Squadron RAF, at Feltwell, Norfolk, after returning from an attack on Munster, Germany, on the night of 7/8 July 1941. While over the Zuider Zee, cannon shells from an attacking Messerschmitt Me 110 struck the starboard wing (A), causing a fire from a fractured fuel line which threatened to to spread to the whole wing. Efforts by the crew to douse the flames failed, and Sergeant James Allen Ward, the second pilot, volunteered to tackle the fire by climbing out onto the wing via the astro-hatch (B). With a dinghy-rope tied around his waist, he made hand and foot-holds in the fuselage and wings (1, 2 and 3) and moved out across the wing from where he was eventually able to extinguish the burning wing-fabric. His courageous actions earned him the Victoria Cross…

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One response to “Sgt. James Allen Ward, V.C. – new pictures of Wellington Mk.Ic L.7818 AA-R

  1. Jimmy Ward was a true hero – an astonishing act of bravery! I’ve covered the story of his deeds a couple of times – once in my book ‘Kiwi Air Power’ and again in ‘New Zealand’s Military Heroism’. He was able to do it largely because of the geodetic structure of the aircraft – if he’d been aboard one of the stressed-skin types he couldn’t have held on. I remember finding his files in Archives New Zealand – once the news of his VC came out, everybody in his home town leaped on the band wagon, the media even spoke to the toy shop owner who’d sold him a model aircraft when he was a kid.

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