The S.O.E. Secret Missions Log ~ May and June 1944

Pilot F/L Donald Hillman is seated in the middle front row.
- 1 -
Working backwards into April and March 1944 in AIR27/996, the Operations Book of 148 Squadron, it was found that Sergeant Finlayson had flown with the same basic list of aircrew in April and Flying Officer Hillman was again in command.  The background to these missions was as described for May and June. Hillman's crew flew several different aircraft, but each was a Halifax II. Placing the April flights into date order, Sergeant Finlayson's missions were as below.
May Night of 4/5
Halifax JP226 left Brindisi at 20.03 on Operation Sculptor 102 dropping 15 containers and 13 packages at Shepr.  200lbs "Nickels" were dropped at Tepekene before landing at 22.40.
JP226 left 19.34 on Operation Entanglement 13.  Cloud cover prevented containers and packages being dropped, but 900lbs N. were dropped on Elbasan.  Landed 23.35.
JN925 left 19.45 on Operation 237B.  9 c. and 12 p. dropped at 42.15N.  21.59E.  Dropped 200lbs N. on Mostar.  Landed 06.35.
JP226 left 19.31 on Operation 312.  Dropped 9c and 12p at 50.57N.  21.45E.  Landed 05.41.
JP226 left 00.02 on Operation Entanglement 102.  Target visited twice but no "reception" (i.e. no markers/signals from below to indicate that the intended recipients of the containers and packages were waiting below), so the mission was terminated. Landed 06.02.
JP226 left 20.34 on Operation Addlethorpe 2.  Dropped 15c and 6p at 46.09N.  11.58E. and 1500lbs N. at Trevisio. Landed 04.30.

JP161 left 20.03 on Operation Askorn 2.  Dropped 15c and 6p at 44.17N.  10.15E. and 860lbs N. at Viaggia.  Landed 04.55.

JP226 left 19.50 on Operation PWE and flew over the Rumanian towns of Craiova, Sinaia, Ploesti, Targoviste and Pitesto.  Notes by the Commanding Officer elsewhere int eh file show that this mission was intended to inflame anti-German resistance behind the German front-line by scattering leaflets.  These would explain to the population that the Russian army was pressing forward and that Rumania's liberation would be speeded up if assisted by Rumanians.  Rumania was one of the last remaining sources of petroleum for the Germans so of special importance.  (This probably means that such leaflets were also dropped on the night of 23/23 May whilst Hilman's crew were flying across Rumania.

27/28  JP226 left at 21.12 on Operation 4220, dropping 12c and 12p at 49.50N.  22.16E. - Also 1000lbs N. at Jaszbereny. 

The March 1944 missions flown were then checked.  Parts of the record here were very faint and difficult to decipher, but eventually it became clear that Sergeant Finlayson was not listed at all, nor any of his fellow cremen except Flying Officer Hillman.  The latter made only one flight -- as an extra man, so was surely being familiarised with the routines on board S.O.E. aircraft (or brought up to date after a long absence). It seems almost certain therefore taht Hillman was newly arrived in March and his full operational responsibilities only began in April as the invasion of W.Europe by the Allied armies, planned for June, grew nearer and 148 Squadron's missions were expanded.  The need for only high quality crews by S.O.E probably means that Hillman had flown many missions with ordinary bomber squadrons and that Sergeant Finlayson and his usual comrades during the April-June 1944 missions had arrived with him from the same source, very likely as a tried and tested team. 

It is suggested that the Ministry of Defence/RAF could discover from Sergeant Finlayson's personnel file, and reveal to kin, the number of his previous squadron.  This would open up the chance to see what missions he had flown for such an earlier one.  It appears fromt he text of the copy letter provided that it was compiled by an office other than the R.A.F. Personnel Management Centre, R.A,.F,  Innsworth, Gloucs, GL3 1EZ who allegedly hold the personnel files for men of Dixon Finlayson's rank. Innsworth may thus be able to assist further. 

- 3 -
Left 20.12 on Op. Armston 5 but target obscured by cloud. 300lbs N. dropped at Padua. Landed 03.25.
left 221.10 on Op. Terrier 1. Dropped 15c. and 11p. at 45.50N  09.52E.  1000lbs N. at Verona.  Landed 04.28.
Left 20.44 on Op. Abertillery.  Dropped 15c. & 19p at 44.12N 10.30E.  200lbs N. at Pestoia.  Landed 04.18.
Left 20.15 on Op. 319E.  Dropped 9c. & 12p. at 50.34 N  22.58E.  Landed 04.56.
Left 20.59 on Op. P.W.B. Rumania.  7000lbs N. scattered over Turnu, Severin, Targu, Jiu, Petrosani, Sibiu, Nadias, Sighisoara, Brasova, Camulung, Potesti and Craiova.  Landed 03.14.
Left 21.40 on Op. Crayon 109.  Dropped 15c. & 32p. at Chiapovano.  Landed 03.46.
Left 20.16 on Op. Terrier, but "Target clearly identified but no reception sighted".  Dropped 600lbs N. at Bergamo. Landed 04.48.
Left 20.39 on Op. Earthenware.  Dropped 15c. & 33p. at Bresnica.  200lbs N dropped at Prokoplje.  Landed 01.11.
Left 20.46 on Op. Rowena 171.  Dropped 15c. & 49p. at Resenovaca.  300lbs N. at Ljubuski.  Landed 01.33.
Left 21.15 on Op. Relator 109.  Dropped 15c. & 38p. at Ticevo.  200lbs N. at Livno.  Landed 01.22.
Left 21.30 on Op. Relator 107.  Dropped 10c. & 30p. at Ticevo.  Landed 01.27.



- 4 -
May 31/June 1
Left 20.45 on Op Rakeoff 184.  Dropped 15c. & 34p. at Kolasin. 300lbs N. at Spuz.  Landed 23.25.
June 1/2
Left 00.52 on Op Brasenosa.  "Area identified but no reception sighted."  300lbs N. at Maglica.  Landed 04.30.
Left 22.30 on Op Gargantuan 1.  Dropped 15c. & 36p. at 42.55N.  23.30.E.  300lbs N. at Merok. Landed 01.57.
Left 20.24 on Op Geisha 4.  Dropped 15c. & 25p. at Zcecevo.  300lbs N. at Travnik.  Landed 01.06.
This flight was in JD 180. Left 20.20 on Op. Fjord/Citron.  Dropped 15c. & 4p. at 45.55N  09.34E. Then dropped 2 personnel & 10p. at 45.50N 08.30E.  200lbs N. at Barola.  Landed 05.20.

This flight was in JP 247. Left 21.15 on Op. Chance 1. Could not be completed due to heavy cloud and rain.  300lbs N. at Spezia.  Landed 7.05.  This was their last completed flight.

June 24
The secret report on the fatal mission shows that the Halifax II aircraft JP237 took off at 20.11 hrs (i.e.  8.11pm) on "Operation Sound 1".  Instead of a landing time, a note states "Nothing was heard from the aircraft after take off and it is presumed lost."

"13 aircraft were scheduled for ops but 3 had to be cancelled owing to technical trouble.  Of the remaining 10, 6 were successful and one (F.O. Hillman) is missing.  His target was a new one in N. Italy and nothing was heard from him after take off: F.O. Hillman was Acting Flight Commander of "B" Flight and making a very good job of it.  His operational record was of a very high standard and the loss of such an excellent crew is a sad blow to the Squadron."



Donald Hillman Contents
1. Donald Hillman Intro
2. Donald Hillman Missions
3. Donald Hillman Photo Album I
4. Exploring the Crash Site
5. Sabini Photos of Parts Retrieved

To the F/L Donald Hillman
Tribute Part III

F/L Donald E. Hillman
S.O.E Halifax JP237 Missions
F/L William G. Campbell 
Lancaster KB 879 Tribute
F/O J. Gordon Hillman
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CPO R. Gerald Hillman
H.M.C.S  Prince Robert
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