612 Squadron

This post is about part of a crew who flew in a Wellington Bomber as part of 612 Squadron and were stationed briefly at Davidstow Moor in April and May 1943. It is a personal post as my late father was part of the crew.

In February 1944 the Squadron was based at Limavady, Northern Ireland.  On the night of 10th/11th February dad's plane was flying off of the Western Isles of Scotland. Maxwell Paynter was the pilot, James William McKay the navigator and dad was the wireless operator / air gunner. 

Dad glanced out and saw a U-boat quite some distance away. He informed Max and Jimmy, and with the help of a hunter's moon they approached the U-boat. Once over the U-boat the Leigh light was on and they attacked with depth charges. In dad's log book he records that "wreckage was observed, no opposition. Probably 100% kill." Afterwards it was discovered that only one crew member of the U-boat was killed.

For this, another attack on a U-boat and other sorties, both Max and Jimmy were awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC). Dad was promoted to Warrant Officer.

U-boat 545 was relatively new but had already attacked and sunk a ship.  To have destroyed U-boat 545 saved countless lives and enabled supplies to get through. 

It took an awful lot of campaigning to give Bomber Command the medal and status that it was due. I wonder if Coastal Command will ever get the recognition it deserves?

W/O David Lionel Smith R.A.F

Flt/Lt James William McKay R.A.A.F

P/O Maxwell Henry Paynter R.A.A.F

Max's DFC

The order to sink U-boat 545

Dad's log book recording U-boat 545

The crew in front of their Wellington Bomber.
James William McKay 2nd from left.
Maxwell Henry Paynter 3rd from left.
David Lionel Smith far right.


  1. A very thoughtful post. Coastal Command deserve recognition.

  2. Yes, Coastal Command deserve recognition. Shore-based aircraft sank over 200 U-boats, and 30 more in cooperation with escort ships.
    Operating the Wellingtons had its risks, too. That same night (10 Feb) another 612 squadron Wellington was shot down by U-283 - which was itself sunk by another Leigh Light Wellington the next day.

    1. Thank you, Rick. One day maybe I'll have the time to start a campaign for Coastal Command recognition. I think that you'll like the new post today.

  3. They were such brave men, and this commemoration is very fitting. It must make you very proud to include your Father among the crew. He looks so young at the time

    1. He was young, Lisl, known as the baby of the crew. That photo was when he was 22. How quickly those boys turned into men.


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