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Last Flight of NA337 – The Mission

ResistanceIn a little place called Grue, a municipality in the county of Hedmark and sparsely populated part of Norway, a man named Asbjorn Furuberg was listening to the BBC “Personal Messages”. These messages contained seemingly random phrases that were in fact singular codes established to provide information to Norwegian resistance members. Asbjorn Furuberg was a 34 year old forester and platoon commander of an Norwegian Resistance Cell.  On the evening of April 23, 1945, interspersed with othe message came the one directed directly at Furuberg: Tyven assurerer mot innbrudd, Tyven assurerer mot innbrudd. Transled to: The burglar insures himself against burglary, The burglar insures himself against burglary. This message confirmed that a planned supplies drop was on for that night. Furuberg gathers his chosen comrades and begins the 3 hour hike on skis into the mountains to the drop site, code named “Tistel”.

2100 hrs    NA-337 crosses the Norfolk Coast to the North Sea.

2105 hrs    F/L  Mitchell obtains a “fix” using GEE to provide his pilot a course that takes them, to west Denmark.

GEE was the code name given to a radio navigation system used by the Royal Air Force during World War II.  It measured the time delay between two radio signals to produce a “fix”, with accuracy on the order of a few hundred meters and range around 350 miles (560 km). GEE was originally designed as a short-range blind landing system to improve safety during night operations, but it developed into a long-range general navigation system.

Gunner 012110 hrs    F/S Weightman seeks the pilot’s permission to air test his 0.303 Browning machine guns.






WeightmanFlight Sergeant Thomas Weightman (Rear Gunner)
Weightman came from Alnwick, Northumberland, and enlisted in 1942 at age 18.His first job was as an apprentice blacksmith. He trained at No. 19 Operational Training Unit in Kinloss, Scotland. The Handley Page Halifax NA 337 crash was the second bomber crash in which he was the sole survivor. Following the crash into Lake Mjosa he was taken prisoner by the Germans. Before he could be sent to a Stalag Luft (RAF Prisoner of War camp) he and two other RAF prisoners were repatriated back to the UK. He attended the recovery of the Halifax from the lake in 1995. His thermos of coffee was still in the tail of the bomber. Weightman did not marry until after the end of World War II. Thomas passed away in England in 2007.

2115 hrs    F/L Turnbull starts to reduce altitude. North Sea crossing will be made at 200-300 feet to avoid radar detection.

2125 hrs    NA-337 is now out of home range and radio silence is enacted. Wireless Operator F/S Naylor remains vigilant for enemy transmissions. Navigator F/L Mitchell now uses German radio beacons to triangulate their course.

NaylorFlight Sergeant Alec Naylor (Wireless Operator)
Naylor was one of the youngest crewmen, enlisting in 1942 at age 19. He came from Cleckheaton, West Yorkshire, England, and married Ida Greenough on July 15, 1944 (no children). He learned to converse in Morse code on any subject between an aircraft and the ground using wireless, flag signal (semaphore) or lamp signal. He was a Stick Commander, ensuring trainee parachutists exited the aircraft safely during exercises, during 1942-3 in Ringway, Greater Manchester. He was one of eight children and was a talented pianist. He was reported missing to his wife Ida on her 21st birthday.2130       NA-337 flies through the night over the North Sea.

2320 hrs    NA-337 enters the Skagerak Straits and changes course heading NW into Norway.

route 040100 hrs    NA-337 approaches the Drop Zone (DZ) from the east searching for the signal to release. It is the responsibility of the bomb aimer F/S Gordon Tuckett to direct pilot F/L Turnbull and bring NA-337 over the target.







TuckettFlight Sergeant Gordon Russell Tuckett (Bomb Aimer)
Tuckett came from Radyr, England, enlisting at age 21 in 1942. He was the only son, and had three sisters, Margaret, Daphne and Angela. He reported to Lords cricket ground for assignment the same day as Wally Mitchell. He spent three weeks training at a British Flight Training School in Mesa, Arizona. In March 1943 he re-mustered and was posted to No. 31 RAF Bombing and Gunnery School in Picton, Prince Edward County, Ontario for three months’ training. He never married.



0110 hrs    Marker signal “F” received from the DZ, flashed by torchlight in Morse code. The drop is a go.

bomb 02F/S Tuckett is watching for the operations signal from the ground party and guides the ‘skipper’ on the final run. When the DZ is reached, Gordon instructs F/S Bassett, now positioned above the rear exit chute, to release the 2 packages, while he releases the containers from the bomb bay.





0115 hrs    13 canisters and 2 packages are dropped to the waiting ground party. NA-337 flies SW toward Lake Mjosa and home.

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