No. 467 Squadron (RAAF) att 5 Group RAF Bomber Command - "Recidite Adversarius Atque Ferociter" - "Your enemies will retreat because of the ferocity of your attack":

Normal avro lancaster front 1

About This Unit

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No. 467 Squadron (RAAF) 5 Group RAF Bomber Command

A "400 series" designator indicates an "Article XV Squadron", created as an adjunct to the Empire Air Training Scheme during WW II. As such they included a number of national squadrons (Australian Canadian, New Zealand and South African) formed to augment the RAF. Crewing was multi-national.  Initially 467 was predominantly British crewed but as the war progressed it  became more heavily "Australianised" so by the end of the war 467 like the other Australian Squadrons had a predominance of Australian crew.  463 was spawned from a flight (sub-unit) of 467.

467 Squadron was formed in November 1942 at Scampton (later the base of 617 Squadron, the famous "Dambusters") and was equipped with Lancaster heavy bombers from the outset.  It relocated to Bottlesford and then to Waddington where it remained for the rest of the war.  It operated as part of 5 Group in RAF Bomber Command.

During the war, the squadron flew a total of 3,833 sorties, during which it lost 118 aircraft. A total of 760 aircrew from 467 Squadron were killed, of which 284 were Australians.

Following the end of the war in Europe, No. 467 Squadron's aircraft were used to transport liberated Allied prisoners of war to the United Kingdom. Later, in June, it moved to RAF Metheringham and was selected to form part of Tiger Force. which was being formed to operate against Japan from bases in Okinawa.  At this time, the squadron began training to convert its aircrew from Lancasters to B-24 Liberators. However, the war ended before the squadron deployed to Asia and it was disbanded in the United Kingdom at Metheringham on 30 September 1945.

No. 467 Squadron operated several famous Lancasters, amongst them LL843, survivor of 118 missions, and R5868, "S" for Sugar, which flew 137 operational sorties, more than any other RAF Bomber, except ED888. After the war this aircraft was selected to be preserved and could be seen for a number of years at the entrance of the squadron's first base, RAF Scampton. It now resides at the Royal Air Force Museum at the site of the former Royal Air Force station RAF Hendon, Colindale, London. The front section of the fuselage of another of the squadron's Lancasters, PO-F (DV372), is on display at the Imperial War Museum in London. PO-F (DV372) flew 45 missions.

 

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Please contact admin@vwma.org.au (mailto:admin@vwma.org.au) for details on how to contribute.

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Stories

Bad night over Lille - 10/11 May 1944

Lille is a major rail hub in northern France close to the Belgian border and a major junction between Paris, to the south, Calais to the west and Brussels (Belgium) to the north. It was a key target in the run up to D Day in June 1944 when a major bombing offensive called the Transportation Plan, was directed at transport infrastructure, to impede the provision of reinforcements to the intended battlefront - the location of which was, of course, top secret at this point in time.

On the night of 10/11 May 1944 a large fleet of bombers were despatched to bomb a series of rail yards in northern France, at Lille, Lens (further south), Courtrai, Ghent (further north in Belgium) and Dieppe on the Atlantic coast. Over 500 aircraft were involved; the majority were Lancasters but also Halifaxes and some fast and nimble Mosquitos performing a Pathfinder and Target marking role.

Both 463 and 467 Squadrons RAAF were scheduled to take part in the Lille raid on the evening of 10/11 May. It was to be the worst night of the war for the two Waddington squadrons. Of 31 aircraft despatched between them, six failed to return. The total losses of the raid were 12 so the two RAAF squadrons represented 50% of the total losses. A total of 42 men were missing the next morning. This represented a loss rate of 20%. The impact of the empty seats at breakfast would have been devastating.

This was followed the next night by the loss of 467 Squadron's CO, decorated Pacific veteran GPCAPT John 'Sam' Balmer OBE DFC and his crew, leading another Transportation Plan raid.

There was only one survivor from the six Australian aircraft. Squadron Leader Phil Smith, DFC, flying B for Baker in 467 Squadron was thrown clear of his exploding aircraft, and managed to parachute to safety minus a flying boot and then spent four months evading the Germans. B for Baker exploded as it was dropping its bombs; it may have suffered a similar fate to JO-J in 463 Squadron - been destroyed by a German night fighter attacking from below (but unlikely given they were directly over the target where the risk from flak and falling bombs tended to discourage night fighter attack), been hit by flak or most likely, it may have collided with another aircraft

The story of JO-J's loss from 463 Squadron, provides an insight as to the fate that befell a number of aircraft that night and the cause of losses that was only identified the following month when a German nightfighter fitted with upward firing cannon, was captured after it landed at an occupied airfield by mistake. JOJ was shot down on its way home, by Lt Hans Schmitz flying a Messerschmitt Bf110G night fighter variant with upward firing cannon, nick-named 'Schrage Musik' by the Germans. The aircraft positioned itself in a blind spot under the Lancaster, before unleashing a hail of 20mm cannon fire into the underside of the bigger plane. The effect was often catastrophic as was the case with JOJ, which broke up in mid-air and rained wreckage in and around the Dumoulin quarry near Langemark in northern Belgium. There were no survivors.

LL881 - 22/03/44 to 10/05/44, Callsign JO-E: 11 Missions.
The first on 22/23-Mar-1944 to Frankfurt.
The 9th mission on 10/11-May-1944 to Lille when LL881 was listed as missing.

418915 FSGT John Henry BROWN RAAF WOP 31 HELLEMMES
427445 FSGT George Martin DANN RAAF RGNR 30 FOREST/MARQUE
430019 FSGT Colin Henry EASTGATE RAAF MUG 29 FOREST/MARQUE
410493 FLGOFF George Oswald JONES RAAF NAV 23 FOREST/MARQUE
10119 POFFR William John LEWIS RAAF FENG 32 FOREST/MARQUE
416443 WOFF Alan Richard MacKENZIE RAAF BAim 26 FOREST/MARQUE
420413 FLGOFF Dudley Francis WARD RAAF PILOT 24 FOREST/MARQUE
8 missions were flown by this crew.

LL-882 - 463 Sqn. 24/03/44 to 10/05/44, Callsign JO-J 'The Langemark Lancaster - see related story.
There were 15 missions recorded in the Operational Record with the first in March 25/26 1944 to Aulnoye.

407199 FLOFF Robert McKerlie CROFT RAAF MUG 27 WEVELGUM
407821 FLOFF David Payne CROSTON RAAF RGNR 32 WEVELGUM
1443752 FSGT Bertram FRASER RAF BAim 22 WEVELGUM
134697 FLOFF Ronald JACQUES RAF NAV ? WEVELGUM
1802369 SGT Harry Law MOLYNEUX RAF FENG 21 WEVELGUM
422817 SQNLDR Mervyn POWELL RAAF PILOT 29 WEVELGUM
406700 FLTLT William Neil READ RAAF WOP 22 WEVELGUM

HK535 - 463 Sqn.
20/12/43 to 10/05/44, Callsign JO-N 11 Missions.
First mission to Frankfurt 20/21-Dec-1943. This was their 11th Mission

24519 FSGT Richard William ASH RAAF MUG 20 HELLEMMES
1609134 SGT Raymond Herbert BOULTON RAF FENG 19 HELLEMMES
422414 FSGT Ivan CHAPPLE RAAF NAV 24 HELLEMMES
423878 POFF Walter Thomas PETERS RAAF BAim 24 HELLEMMES
1459044 SGT Leonard Edgard PRINGLE RAF WOP ? HELLEMMES
425226 FLTLT Eric Mc Laren SCOTT RAAF PILOT 22 FOREST/MARQUE
424888 WO William Allen SLADE RAF RGNR 23 MISSING

No. 467 Squadron RAAF

LM475 Callsign PO-B for 'Baker'. A very experienced crew. First mission Dec 1943 See blog link in Sidebar. This was their 20th Mission and the last for Phil Smith to complete his second Tour.

1352851 SGT Eric Reginald HILL RAF MUG 22 LEZENNES
425413 FSGT Alistair Dale JOHNSTON RAAF WOP 24 LEZENNES
658844 FSGT Jeremiah PARKER RAF BAim 30 LEZENNES
423311 FSGT Gilbert Firth PATE RAAF RGNR 27 LEZENNES
412686 WOFF Royston William PURCELL RAAF NAV 22 LEZENNES
400495 SQNLDR Donald Phillip Smeed SMITH RAAF PILOT EVADE the only survivor from 12 aircraft
1850279 SGT Kenneth Harold TABOR RAF FENG LEZENNES

LL788 Callsign PO-G
2221020 SGT Charles Arthur NASH RAF MUG 23 FOREST/MARQUE
424914 FSGT Herbert William Reid FERGUSON RAAF RGNR 28 HELLEMMES
417176 FSGT Brian Gordon GRASBY RAAF WOP 21 HELLEMMES
422506 FSGT William Stanley HANCOCK RAAF BAim 22 HELLEMMES
1431527 SGT Cyril DUTHOIT RAF FENG LEZENNES
420870 POFF William Eldred FELSTEAD RAAF PILOT 22 LEZENNES
1580333 SGT John MELLOR RAF NAV 30 LEZENNES

EE143 Callsign PO-J
427870 FSGT Bernard Francis CODY RAAF MUG 23 ANNAPPES
2220133 SGT George BENNETT RAF RGNR 27 HELLEMMES
419298 FLOFF Harry Ronald CROUT RAAF BAim 29 HELLEMMES
414997 POFF Douglas HISLOP RAAF PILOT 23 HELLEMMES
1891298 SGT Bertram Stephen LONGHURST RAF FENG 37 HELLEMMES
25243 FLOFF John Francis TUCKER RAAF WOP 25 HELLEMMES
424239 FSGT Kevin Campbell WAIGHT RAAF NAV 20 HELLEMMES

Three other Australians were lost in other aircraft on the raid;

414761 POFF Hugh DonaldD CAMPBELL RAAF PILOT 23 9 Sqn LM528 WS-D HELLEMMES
423359 FLOFF Albert Edward TYNE RAAF BAim 33 9 Sqn LM528 WS-D FOREST/MARQUE
425794 FSGT Walter James WHITE RAAF AG 23 9 Sqn LM520 WS-X FOREST/MARQUE

This remains a work in progress

We are tracking images of these men; if you can help, Register and join over 20,000 people who have contributed material to the site.

Thanks to ADF Serials website for this detail, and to the researchers of 'Aircrew Remembered' to which links have been posted.
Thanks also to Conrad Dumoulin, Belgium for providing assistance in the preparation of this article and that of the 'Langemark Lancaster' to which his father was a witness.

Thanks to Adam Purcell, his excellent blog @somethingverybig.com and the story of 'B for Baker' of No. 467 Squadron
CWGC websites and cemetery pages
WW2 Nominal Roll
AWM Roll of Honour

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TARGET - "The Big City". PO-K lost on ops

No. 467 Squadron Lancaster B Mk III tail no LM372, serial PO-K flying on a raid to Berlin on 1/2 January 1944.

Their aircraft was intercepted and shot down on approach to the target near Altmerdingsen Germany to the target by a German Night Fighter Ace, Hauptman Heinrich Prinz Zu Sayn-Wittgenstein at 2.20am. The aircraft according to witnesses lost a wing and spun into the ground with a full bomb load. The resulting explosion blew a crater 25 yards across and blew out windows in the nearby village. There were no survivors.

The remains were interred locally and after the war a RAF investigation team disinterred the graves and set about the process of identifying the remains. They were reburied in the Hannover cemetery in 1947.

The aircraft and its crew of eight were lost. The eighth crew member was FSGT Mudie who flew as 2nd Pilot for experience before taking a crew of his own.

PATKIN LEO BRAHAM FLTLT 401146 (RAAF) Pilot https://rslvirtualwarmemorial.org.au/explore/people/642784

MUDIE JAMES FSGT 29886 (RAAF) 2nd Pilot https://rslvirtualwarmemorial.org.au/explore/people/640737

MAIDSTONE, RAYMOND JOSPEH ALFRED, 132722 FOFFR (RAFVR) Navigator

LITCHFIELD, GEORGE ARNOLD SGT 1579416 (RAFVR) Bomb Aimer

CHAMBERS, RALPH, SGT 1482755 (RAFVR) Flight Engineer (his remains were not accounted for in the post war investigation)

SCOTT HENRY DOUGLAS FSGT 410611 (RAAF) W/OP https://rslvirtualwarmemorial.org.au/explore/people/646397

BLACKWELL WILLIAM DONALD FSGT 415497 (RAAF) Air Gunner https://rslvirtualwarmemorial.org.au/explore/people/620241

BOETTCHER ARTHUR HAROLD FSGT 414305 (RAAF) Air gunner https://rslvirtualwarmemorial.org.au/explore/people/620414

As a postscript, Wittgenstein was killed soon after this incident on 21 January, after he had shot down five Lancasters in the course of about 40 minutes, when in turn his Ju88 was brought down by either debris from his last victim or fire from a nearby Lancaster air gunner or a Mosquito. The wing of his Ju88 was set on fire and he ordered the crew to abandon the aircraft. His crew escaped but it seemed that Wittgenstein was incapacitated on exit and was found with his parachute unopened near the wreckage. At the time of his death he had been credited with 83 kills making him one of the deadliest night fighter aces of the Luftwaffe. See this link for further details: http://www.aircrewremembrancesociety.co.uk/styled-15/styled-21/styled-260/index.html .

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Nothing Heard Since Take-off - Failed to Return

Mission: Berlin, Germany

Date: 30/31st January 1944

Unit: No. 467 Squadron R.A.A.F.

Type: Lancaster I

Serial: DV378

Coded: PO-C

Location: Target area

Pilot: F/O. Alexander Douglas Riley 3717 R.A.A.F. Age; 28, Killed https://rslvirtualwarmemorial.org.au/explore/people/644907

Fl/Eng: Sgt. Sidney Webb Tupper 1607041 R.A.F. Killed

Nav: Fl/Sgt. Norman William Allen 658419 R.A.F.V.R. Age; 23, Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: P/O. John Nixon 171083 R.A.F.V.R. Killed

Air/Bmr: W/O II Jan R Valastin R/017055 R.C.A.F. P.O.W. (Interned in camps L6/L4. P.O.W. No: 1189)

Air/Gnr(Mid): W/O II. Clifford Stanley Baker R/146764 R.C.A.F. Age; 23, Killed

Air/Gnr(Rear): Sgt. Fred Barrett 1516278 R.A.F.V.R.Age; 22, Killed

REASON FOR LOSS:

Lancaster DV378 took off from RAF Waddington at 1712 hours on the night of 30/31st January 1944 to bomb Berlin. Bomb load 1 x 4000lb, 64 x 30lb, 1200 x 4lb incendiaries.
Nothing was heard from DV378 after take off and the aircraft did not return to base. Ten aircraft from the Squadron took part in the raid and one of these, DV378 failed to return.

Post war it was established that the aircraft exploded following a direct hit from flak and crashed in the target area. W/O. Valastin became a P.O.W. and the remaining six crew members were killed. They are buried in the 1939-1945 War Cemetery, Berlin.

In a later statement W/O. Valastin said “I was beside F/O. Riley in part of the aircraft which received direct fire from the enemy. I myself was hit but have no definite knowledge as to whether he was hit. A few seconds later the aircraft went into a spin. He was still in his position when I was preparing to bale out and when the aircraft exploded. I was informed two weeks later by an unknown German officer at Dulag Luft that F/O. Riley had been killed.”

W/O II Jan R Valastin returned to the United Kingdom after the end of WW2 on the 20th April 1945 and then returned to Canada. He left the Canadian Armed forces on the 6th May 1946 and died on the 3rd February 1993.

The crew is photographed beside a different aircraft on an earlier mission - see the slideshow

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