Daughter shares Anzac epic story

By John Cousins

Add a comment
TREASURED HISTORY: Angela Logan-Wyatt with a memento of her father’s heroic saga of flying for Australia in WWII.  Photo/Andrew Warner
TREASURED HISTORY: Angela Logan-Wyatt with a memento of her father’s heroic saga of flying for Australia in WWII. Photo/Andrew Warner

Seldom does the Anzac tradition of service and zeal cut deeper than in the family of Tauranga woman Angela Logan-Wyatt.

Add a dash of classic cinema and her father racing a yacht formerly owned by his old Nazi foe Hermann Goring, and the story takes on epic proportions.

Mrs Logan-Wyatt shared the story of her deceased father Fred Logan with the Bay of Plenty Times after the Tauranga RSA's dawn service yesterday.

Sergeant Logan defied the odds by teaming up with the Royal Australian Air Force's 463 bomber squadron to fly 34 WWII missions at a time when surviving more than five missions without getting shot down was considered lucky.

Her father's war and subsequent career in the Royal Air Force proved an inspiration for her two brothers Trent and Julian, who are members of the Royal New Zealand Air Force's 5 and 40 squadrons respectively.

Mrs Logan-Wyatt said her father lied about his age to join the RAF as a gunner.

He was with the 617 dam buster squadron that included Tauranga pilot the late Les Munro, until the squadron's Lancasters bombers were reconfigured to take the special bouncing bombs.

His gunnery position in the mid-upper position of the fuselage was lost to the bombs, so he transferred to Australia's 463 squadron. He survived unscathed until the squadron's final offensive of the war to bomb the Tonsberg oil refinery in Norway - flown on Anzac Day 1945.

As the Lancaster was crossing the Norwegian coast, it was attacked by a German fighter that riddled the front of the bomber, shattering the perspex of the bomb aimer's compartment and tearing gaping holes around the pilot and engineer's section of the aircraft.

The flight engineer and bomb aimer received serious wounds.

Mrs Logan-Wyatt said her fathered administered morphine to the two men and wrapped them in parachute silk to try and keep them from freezing.

Sergeant Logan then returned to his gunnery post and, together with the tail gunner, shot down the fighter.

With the pilot Arthur Cox growing steadily weaker from the freezing blast, it was decided to head for neutral Sweden.

The navigator found the airfield by memory and, guided in by the lights of cars, it took three attempts to land.

Injured engineer George Simpson had already jettisoned 13 of the 16 bombs into the sea and then helped manipulate the throttle while the pilot, using his arms because has hands were frozen to the joystick, touched down, rebounded 30m into the air but maintained enough control to bring the aircraft to a standstill.

He then collapsed.

"They had to cut the ice off his hands to release them from the joystick."

The crew, including Sergeant Logan, was interned in Sweden for the brief remainder of the war. Mrs Logan-Wyatt said it was Bomber Command's last aircraft to be lost in WWII.

A quirk of his post-war years was to act out a fate he had managed to avoid, as a dying Lancaster gunner in a 1953 Dirk Bogarde movie called Appointment in London.

Sergeant Logan also acquired the yacht formerly owned by the Luftwaffe's Commander-in-Chief Goring and raced it across Heligoland to finish 16th out of 24 in a Louis Vuitton race.

Mrs Logan-Wyatt said her father always thought he would have made a better New Zealander or Australian than a Brit.

"Isn't it poignant. I am a New Zealander, and dad flew for Australia, which makes me an Anzac."

- Bay of Plenty Times

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter


Have your say

1200 characters left

By and large our readers' comments are respectful and courteous. We're sure you'll fit in well.
View commenting guidelines.

© Copyright 2016, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production bpcf05 at 24 Oct 2016 05:13:39 Processing Time: 599ms