No. 463 Squadron (RAAF) 5 Group RAF Bomber Command "Press on Regardless"

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About This Unit

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An Article XV Squadron raised under the Empire Air Training Scheme, and designated as an Australian Squadron, it spent the whole of its life in the UK as a heavy bomber unit.  Like many 'Australian' squadrons, the crew members came from all  over the Commonwealth although the proportion of Australians steadily increased towards the war's end.

Of course many Australians were filling aircrew positions in RAF and other Commonwealth squadrons as  well.

463 Squadron was raised on the 25th November 1942 from 'C' flight of 467 Squadron, and became part of 5 Group.  Based at RAF Waddington in Lincolnshire, it was equipped with new Lancasters then coming off the production lines in numbers.  The squadron began flying operations the day after it was formed.

In 17 months of combat operations, 463 Squadron flew 2,525 sorties and dropped 11,430 imperial tons of bombs.  Its aircraft were credited with shooting down six enemy fighters.

The cost was daunting; 78 aircraft and 546 aircrew of whom 225 were Australians, earning the unenviable record of the highest loss rate among the Australian heavy bomber squadrons in England.

It was disbanded on 25 September 1945.


We would particularly like to encourage individual historians researchers or members of unit associations to contribute to the development of a more detailed history and photographs pertaining to this unit and its members.

Please contact ( for details on how to contribute.



The power of understatement - and a wonderful airframe

RAAF History - 17 September
David Lascelles

Against all the colourful and emotive language in use today, this lovely piece of understatement is from a different era.
I suggest it also speaks quiet volumes for the solid reliability of the dear old LANCASTER.

Enjoy. D

17 September 1944, No 463 Squadron Lancaster JO-T departed RAF Waddington for a bombing sortie again Bologne, France. The following is extracted from the pilot’s post-operation report.

"On our bombing run, immediately after "Bombs Gone" we were hit by heavy flak, causing a hole in our port wing approximately 11ft; X 6ft; and the ailerons severely damaged. Aircraft went out of control in a diving turn; during this time No.3 tank blew out, and exploded behind aircraft. I ordered crew to abandon aircraft and moderate control of aircraft was maintained at 4,000 ft; during which time Wireless Operator, Mid Upper and Rear Gunners endeavoured to get out of rear door. This was jammed and the handle broke off, so had to come to the front hatch which partly jammed adding further difficulties for crew trying to bale out. Eventually all members of crew apart from Pilot squeezed themselves out. During this time reasonable controlled descent was maintained with port engines fully opened; starboard engines half throttled; full aileron and rudder bias. It is estimated crew got out at 2,000 to 3,000 ft; and at 1,500 ft; I made an effort to bale out, unsuccessfully as the aircraft dived and was uncontrollable. I regained control of the aircraft at 800 ft; and having no alternative, had to make a forced landing in the quickest possible time. Landing eventually effected in a field that was obstructed with anti-invasion posts, with my starboard engine on fire; undercarriage and flaps serviceable and operated allowing me to make a successful landing. At the end of the landing run, to avoid further damage, swung aircraft to port, coming to rest in a wood. Made a quick get away as starboard outer wing and engine were on fire. Throughout these extremely difficult circumstances my crew behaved in an exemplary manner and showed calm and coolness throughout. Navigator (F/Sgt. Dent) states: "Our pilot's captaincy and leadership displayed throughout those intense moments gave us confidence and inspiration. We considered aircraft impossible to fly, and how he effected a landing was, in the opinion of all of us, a miracle, and we never expected after we left that the aircraft would be landed".

Comment: So ‘ moderate control’ resulted from half of the left wing shot away, the right wing in shreds, a right side engine on fire, control surfaces severely damaged, fuel tanks blown away and the Lancaster falling out of the sky!!

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