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  • By the late LtCol Peter Morrissey . Used with Permission Introduction The five Leane brothers (Edwin, Ernest, Allan, Raymond and Benjamin) all served in the AIF in World War I, along Edwin’s four sons (Allan, Geoffrey, Reuben and Maxwell) and Ernest’s two sons (Arnold and William). Four of the family were killed in action or died of wounds. Edwin Thomas Leane Edwin was born on 25 August 1867 at Prospect SA. He was described as ‘a big man, both physically and mentally’. On 14 September 1914 he joined the AIF as a Captain in the 12th Battalion. Because of illness in Egypt, and possibly his age, he was transferred to the Australian Army Ordnance Corps. His administrative ability carried him to the top levels of the AIF Ordnance Service. Promoted Major in April 1915, he served on Gallipoli as Deputy Assistant Director of Ordnance Services, 2nd Division from late July until the evacuation, and held the same appointment in Egypt in January-March 1916, and until July in France and Belgium. In August he was promoted Lieutenant Colonel and transferred to AIF Headquarters, London. In July 1917 he was posted to France, and in November became the Head of Ordnance Services, I Anzac Corps. From February 1918 this responsibility was widened to include the whole AIF in France. Edwin was promoted Colonel in November, and became a deputy director in the AIF Repatriation and Demobilization Department, London. He had been mentioned in dispatches five times, appointed CBE, and awarded the Belgian Croix de Guerre. He died at Camberwell, Victoria on 27 August 1928. Three of Edwin’s sons, Captain Allan Edwin Leane (died of wounds, 2 May 1917, Bullecourt), Lieutenant Geoffrey Paul Leane, MC and Corporal Reuben Ernest Leane, served with the 48th Battalion, and a fourth son, Lieutenant Maxwell Leane, with the Royal Australian Navy Volunteer Reserve. Ernest Albert Leane Ernest was born in 1869, enlisted at the age of 45, and served with the 27th Battalion as a Warrant Officer. His two sons also served in the Battalion. One of them, Corporal Arnold Harry Leane, was killed in action on 5 November 1916. The other, Corporal William Ernest Raymond Leane, survived. Allan William Leane Allan was born on 11 May 1872 at Mount Gambier SA. He enlisted in the AIF as a Major in the 28th Battalion on 28 April 1915, and reached Gallipoli in September. He was Second-in-Command of the Battalion from January 1916, and commanded it in France from 29 July as a temporary Lieutenant Colonel, providing inspiring leadership during the Battle of Pozières. He was promoted Lieutenant Colonel on 29 November, but died of shrapnel wounds received at Delville Wood on 4 January 1917, and was buried in the Dernancourt Communal Cemetery, in a grave especially constructed by the men of the Battalion, adjacent to the CWG cemetery. Raymond Lionel Leane Raymond Leane was born on 12 July 1878 at Prospect SA. On 25 August 1914 he enlisted in the 11th Battalion as a Captain and Company Commander. The Battalion went ashore with the Covering Force during the landing at Gallipoli on 25 April 1915, and Ray’s C Company moved into the Plugge’s Plateau sector. On 4 May he led an attempt to capture Gaba Tepe fort, a Turkish position close to the beach which enfiladed the Australian trenches. Charles Bean considered him the ideal choice for this hazardous enterprise. After landing at dawn, Ray’s small force was pinned close to the beach by heavy fire, so that no advance could be attempted. Having been given full discretion to depart from his orders as he thought fit, he organized a withdrawal and successfully brought off his men and their wounded with the aid of the Royal Navy. For this he was awarded the Military Cross. Ray was slightly wounded on 28 June in an assault on Pine Ridge, and again on 31 July when he led a successful attack against Turkish defences, and held the position thereafter against heavy counter-attacks. This position became known as Leane’s Trench. Promoted temporary Major on 5 August, he commanded the 11th Battalion from 11 September, and was promoted temporary Lieutenant Colonel on 8 October. He remained at Gallipoli until evacuation on 16 November. He was twice mentioned in dispatches for service at Anzac. While there, he had been nicknamed ‘Bull’; his “tall square-shouldered frame, immense jaw, tightly compressed lips, and keen, steady, humorous eyes made him the very figure of a soldier”. In Egypt on 26 February 1916, Ray was confirmed as Major and appointed Commanding Officer of the 48th Battalion (the ‘pup’ Battalion of the 16th Battalion). Promoted Lieutenant Colonel on 12 March, he took his Battalion to France in June. After a week at Fleurbaix, the Battalion moved into the Pozières sector, and on 7 August repulsed a heavy German counter-attack. The 48th served at Mouquet Farm and Gueudecourt in 1916, and at Bullecourt, Messines, Wytschaete and Passchendaele in 1917. At Bullecourt Ray’s younger brother and Battalion Second-in-Command, Major Benjamin Bennett Leane was killed on 10 April, and his nephew Captain Allan Edwin Leane died of wounds on 2 May. Severely wounded at Passchendaele on 12 October, Ray did not resume duty until late January 1918. He commanded the 48th Battalion at Albert and Dernancourt in March-April. Under his command, the 48th Battalion was prominent in halting the German advance on Amiens on 5 April. He was appointed temporary Colonel commanding the 12th Brigade on 19 April, and was confirmed in rank and promoted temporary Brigadier General on 1 June. He commanded the 12th Brigade at Villers-Bretonneux in April-May, in the attack on Proyart on 8 August, and in the battles of the Hindenburg outpost line in September. Ray had been mentioned in dispatches eight times, and his decorations included the Distinguished Service Order and Bar, the Military Cross, and the French Croix de Guerre. He was appointed Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George in 1918, Companion of the Order of the Bath in 1919, and Knight Bachelor in 1944. His brother Ben, three nephews, and several other relatives had served under him in the 48th Battalion, which led to its being known throughout the AIF as the ‘Joan of Arc Battalion’ (Made of All Leanes). As a commander, Ray won the affection of his men by his constant concern for their well-being. He gained their respect by his strength of character, firm discipline and high sense of duty. In action he was cool and alert, directing and encouraging, heedless of danger. Raymond Leane was appointed Commissioner of Police in SA, a role he held from 1920 until his retirement in 1944. In World War II Ray commanded a group in the Volunteer Defence Corps. After his retirement he lived quietly at Plympton SA until his death on 25 June 1962. Charles Bean described Sir Raymond Leane as “the head of the most famous family of soldiers in Australian history”. His portrait by George Bell is in the Australian War Memorial. Benjamin Bennett Leane Ben was born in 1889, and was killed on 10 April 1917 at Bullecourt while serving as a Major and Ray Leane’s Battalion Second-in-Command in the 48th Battalion. He was buried in Queant Road Cemetery, Buissy. Conclusion The Leane brothers and their sons provide a remarkable example of family enlistment. Every male member of military age offered himself for active service, and was accepted. The family was known during the war and for long afterwards as ‘The Fighting Leanes of Prospect’. Principal Source: Australian Dictionary of Biography. From work originally compiled by the late LtCol Peter Morrissey an esteemed comrade.
  • March 22ND LANCASTER O PA 264 (survived to 12 Sq 29/09/1945) SELF F/S MUGGLETON-TILSON W/O ROLLASON – SGT SMART SGT DOLLING – F/S MALONEY OP NO. 24 – HILDESHEIM CONDITIONS NOT VERY GOOD. GAGGLE OFF COURSE AT TIMES. LEADERS SLOWING REALISING BEHIND TIME. WORRIED BY FLAK TO AND FROM TARGET. PILOTS PLAYING AROUND IN GAGGLE, BLOODY FOOLS. REPORTED FOR DROPPING BOMBS WHILST ANOTHER PLANE IN DANGEROUS POSITION. OUR PHOTOGRAPH DISPROVED ALLEGATION. GLAD TO RECROSS RHINE.
  • ‘Back to the old front line,’ called Imlay, as a bloodied messenger raced in. I glanced around the trench as I swung my gun on shoulder. Bright mess tins lay about. There was half a loaf of bread with an open tin of jam beside it, and bloodstained equipment lying everywhere. The dead sergeant still lay massive on the parapet. Other dead lay limp on the trench floor. Wounded sprawled or sat with backs to the parapet, watching us with anxious eyes. ‘You are not going to leave us?’ asked one of me. I could not answer him, or meet his eyes as I joined the party moving down the sap. For some reason I felt the guilt of deserting them was mine alone. Here was a tangle of dismembered limbs and dead men. The air was heavy with the reek of explosives. One man, with his foot blown off, leaned wearily back. He had a mills in his hand with the pin out. He would not be taken alive. Our party – about sixty strong, with our two remaining officers – spread along the German front line, mean with ready bombs and bayonets on the flanks. No other Australian force was left in the Hindenburg Line. Our shells still screamed about the parapet. When this fire died down the might of the German Army would fall again on our outflanked few. Between us and our line stretched masses of brown wire, and fifteen hundred yards of bullet and shell-swept level land, over which for a long time no messenger had lived in attempting to get across. Wounded men stood and sat silent on the upper steps of deep dugouts. I leaned on my gun, pondering the utter hopelessness of the position. A Fritz machine gun sat askew on the parapet. I was forming a project to bring it into action. Word came from the left flank, punctuated by bomb bursts, ‘Enemy bombing back. We have run out of bombs’. All stores of German bombs had been used up by our men. An officers’ voice called clear, ‘Dump everything and get back.’ Discard my beautiful gun? They mightn’t give me another! Our few unwounded climbed the parapet. Heavily I started to climb the steep trench wall where a shell had partly blown it in. I looked up to see Bill Davies standing on the top amid the bullets, with hand extended to help me up. A vast indifference settled on me, as I stood on the parapet. Three yards out a man lying over a strand of wire called, ‘Help me, mate.’ I put down my gun and tried to heave him into a shell hole. He screamed with pain as I heaved, so I stopped. ‘I can’t do anything for you, old chap’, I said, and hoping that I would be forgiven the lie, ‘I will send the bearers back.’ ‘Thank you’, he said. I picked up my gun and walked on. A shrapnel from the enemy flank churned the ground just in front, as I picked my way through the wire. A piece of shell fragment cut my puttee tape, and dropped the folds around my boot. In complete indifference I trudged over the field, making the concession of holding the gun flat so as not to be too prominent. A man reaches a blasé stage after too much excitement. Once I thought of settling down and blazing defiance at the enemy with my last solitary magazine. But the thought of our wounded in the track of the bullets made me refrain. Five-point-nines burst black on either hand, and futile bullets zipped about. They could no nothing to me. Silly cows to try. Someone ought to tell them… George Mitchell's walk was witnessed by hundreds and passed into AIF Legend. He was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal and later commissioned.
  • A further example of Nimmo’s courage was on 28 June 1915 when leading his troops towards Turkish positions. During the advance one of Nimmo’s sergeants indicated to him that there were Turkish soldiers firing at other Australian troops to the north of their position. Nimmo, appreciating that the Turkish soldiers were exposed from their position in relation to his, quietly collected a dozen men, explained the situation to them and issued quick orders, then gave the signal to rise and fire five rounds of rapid fire. The Turkish soldiers became confused and quickly took cover before fighting back. The situation soon developed into a skirmish with artillery shells and firing from an Australian warship, affecting the progress of Nimmo’s men. But Nimmo’s leadership steadied his men and again, his courage under fire was noted.
  • George Mitchell .. the culminating point ‘Backs to the Wall!’ Backs to hell, and old ‘Nick’ reaching out with his pitchfork. We could not hear our own rifles above the din, only knew by the recoil that we had fired. I could feel the sidelong glances from the men, and the unspoken thought, ‘How are you going to get us out of this mess?’ ‘Poor blighters, my job is to keep you here till you are done for, not get you out.’ On three sides, they closed in, only the way to company headquarters was open. Suddenly a runner dived in and I read the message, ‘Retire immediately.’ Down the bank once more and out on the lower plain, futile bullets pecked the ground as I trudged. What did it matter? Only a question of today, tomorrow, or the next day! To my delighted eyes, there stretched a well-sited, newly dug trench lined with capable looking Australians. Eager questions assailed me ‘Where is he, when is he coming?’ ‘Massing over the hill’ I replied, ‘here in about twenty minutes.’ ‘We’ve got him now, we’ve got him!’ Sorted out my platoon and led them to the extreme left where there was a gap. A roar of small-arm fire came from the right, a 13th brigade battalion, the 49th, swept forward into the gap. We watched as they swung along with irresistible momentum, the ranks thinned as they went, here and there groups shot and stabbed. Ahead of them ran field grey figures, the gap is closed by good Australian bayonets! No further attack came from Fritz. Down came their gunfire on us, the worst I ever experienced. Big shells punched the rocking earth with appalling fury, smoke rolled in clouds, had a bad attack of wind-up, and the taste of death was in my mouth. If I live through this, I thought as I lay in a heap, I will never be any good anymore. Ten shells a second, I calculated, landed on our hundred yards of front. Slowly the fire died away, the 2nd Division came up and relieved us, we assembled our weary few and marched back." George Mitchell, MC, DCM, "Backs to the Wall", 1937
  • 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!!
  • Flight from Reykjavik, 9 November 1944 At midday on November 9, 1944, a Lockheed Hudson light bomber of the RAF 251 Squadron lifted off from the Royal Air Force station at Reykjavik, Iceland, on a routine meteorological recon patrol. The young crew – three RAF men and two Australians – reported clear icing conditions on the outward leg, and again on the homeward leg of the flight. With over eight hours in the air behind them, headed home, the aircraft sent out an SOS call. A few minutes later, the aircraft key was held down and the station was able to get a bearing: Hudson FK 752 was over the North Sea, just 75 miles from Reykjavik. But there was no further communication. The aircraft failed to return. The wreckage of Hudson FK 752, and the remains of the five young airmen aboard, were never found.
  • Out of the 596 aircraft on the raid 29 were shot down. These figure were fairly typical of RAF raids on German targets at the time – immense destruction was now almost assured at a cost that was, if not acceptable, then at least sustainable. Flight Engineer Sergeant C.H. ‘Chick’ Chandler was on one of the Lancasters that was not shot down that night. His experience was about as bad as it could get without becoming a casualty. In his memory the traumatic events remained to be replayed in slow motion: It was 0110 HOURS on the morning of 23 April 1944. We were a XV Squadron Lancaster III crew from Mildenhall on our 17th op and we were hit simultaneously by heavy flak and cannon fire from an Me 109 at the precise moment that our bombs were released on Dusseldorf. Being the flight engineer, I was standing on the right-hand side of the cockpit, as was usual during our bombing run, with my head in the blister to watch for any fighter attack that might occur from the starboard side. The bombs were actually dropping from the aircraft when there was a tremendous explosion. For a brief period of time everything seemed to happen in ultra-slow motion. The explosion knocked me on my back; I was aware of falling on to the floor of the aircraft, but it seemed an age before I actually made contact. I distinctly remember ‘bouncing’. Probably lots of flying clothing and Mae Wests broke my fall, but under normal circumstances one would not have been aware of ‘bouncing’. As I fell I ‘saw’, in my mind’s eye, very clearly indeed, a telegram boy cycling to my mother’s back door. He was whistling very cheerfully and handed her the telegram that informed her of my death. She was very calm and thanked the boy for delivering the message. As I laid there I saw a stream of sparks pass a few feet above the cockpit, from back to front and going up at a slight angle. This caused me some confusion. If the sparks were from a burning engine they were going the wrong way. It was some little time before I realised that the ‘sparks’ were in fact tracer shells from a fighter that I did not know was attacking us. The illusion that the tracer shells were going upwards was no doubt caused by the fact that our Lancaster was going into an uncontrolled, screaming dive, but because of the slow-motion effect that I was experiencing, I did not appreciate this fact. This whole episode had taken 2 or 3 seconds at most, then the slow-motion effect began to wear off, and I became aware of the screams of the bomb-aimer. [after the aircraft went through violent evasive dives they threw off the fighter … the order to prepare to ‘bale out’ was withdrawn after they discovered that most of the parachutes had been destroyed] My task now was to check the aircraft for damage and casualties. My checks started at the front of the aircraft, in the bomb-aimer’s compartment. I am afraid to say that my sheltered life had not prepared me for the terrible sight that met my eyes. It was obvious that this area had caught the full blast of the flak, and Alan Gerrard had suffered the most appalling injuries. At least he would have died almost instantaneously. Suffice to say that I was sick. At this stage I risked using my torch to shine along the bomb bay to make sure that all our bombs were gone. My report simply was that the bomb-aimer had been killed and that all bombs had left the aircraft. Next stop was the cockpit. The pilot had really worked wonders in controlling the aircraft and successfully feathering the engine that had been on fire. Then on to the navigator’s department; on peering round the blackout screen I saw that Ken Pincott was busy working over his charts, but that Flight Lieutenant John Fabian DFC, the H2S operator (the Squadron navigation leader), appeared to be in shock. However, once I established that there appeared to be no serious damage, I moved on. The wireless operator’s position was empty because his task during the bombing run was to go to the rear of the aircraft and ensure that the photo flash left at the same time as the bombs. Next, down to the mid-upper turret, where Ron Wilson had re-occupied his position, albeit only temporarily. (Unknown to me, he had suffered a wound to his ear that, although not too serious, would keep him off flying for a few weeks.) On reaching the next checkpoint I was again totally unprepared for the dreadful sight that confronted me. Our wireless operator, Flight Sergeant L. Barnes, had sustained, in my opinion, fatal chest injuries and had mercifully lost consciousness. It was found later that he had further very serious injuries to his lower body and legs. He died of his wounds before we reached England. From the rear turret I got a ‘thumbs up’ sign from ‘Whacker’ Mair, so I rightly concluded that he was OK. As well as having to report the death of our bomb-aimer, and the fatal injuries to the wireless operator, I had to report the complete failure of the hydraulic system. The pilot was already aware of the fact that we had lost our port inner engine through fire, and that our starboard outer was giving only partial power. The bomb doors were stuck in the open position, and the gun turrets had been rendered inoperative because of the hydraulic failure. Post script: They had just enough fuel to make it back to England, gradually losing height all the way, only to discover that their undercarriage was stuck as they came in to land. The remaining crew survived the emergency landing. All the survivors remained on flying duties, only the slightly wounded mid upper gunner had a brief respite. See Bowman (Ed.) RAF Bomber Stories: Dramatic First-hand Accounts of British and Commonwealth Airmen in World War 2
  • Private Richard Murray sacrificed himself to protect his mates after the theft of rice from a Japanese cache was discovered by Camp guards at Ranau in May 1945. "Then, to Botterill's horror, Richie Murray stepped forward. In a clear firm voice, he told Suzuki that he had stolen the food and that he, and he alone, was responsible. He was taken at bayonet point to a tree outside the Japanese hut and tied up while the rest of the prisoners were told to get on with their work, which for Botterill, was cutting wood down at the Formosan quarters. He couldn't see what was going on but he figured that Suzuki would keep Murray tied to the tree overnight. After dark he would cut Murray loose and escape, possibly with Allie and Grist as previously planned. They would have to flee immediately of course, but with the rest of the stolen food still safely hidden in the jungle, at least they would have a fair chance of making a good break before the alarm was raised. About an hour later, Botterill looked up to see Murray disappearing down the track under escort. He couldn't identify the guards, but some English prisoners, working in the main kitchen on the other side of the Formosan hut, had a clear view. They watched, horrified, as Suzuki, accompanied by a guard escort which included Kawakami (The Gold Tootheed Shin Kicking bastard), Mori Shoichi and Yoshiya Kinjo, took Murray, who had been savagely beaten, down the track at bayonet point. Twenty minutes later the guards returned without him. Botterill's worst fears became a hideous reality when Kawakami swaggered down to the Formosan hut and made a great show of wiping his bayonet on the grass, boasting to his fellow guards that he had 'blooded his blade' on the prisoner." Keith Botterill was one of only six Australian survivors of the two Sandakan Death Marches. Suzuki and Kawakami were hanged at Rabaul on 18 Oct 1946 for another similar atrocity. They were never tried for Murray's death but were convicted largely on the testimony of Keith Botterill and Bill Moxham, another of the six survivors. Sandakan - Conspiracy of Silence 1998 Lynette Ramsay Silver Sally Milner Publishing ISBN I 86351 223 3 . pp 210-211
  • Lloyd Maundrell, flew as a Captain for Ansett Flying Boats. Lloyd became very well known to Sydneysiders thanks to 2UE Radio Announcer Gary O’Callaghan who, with his “imaginary” friend Sammy Sparrow, used to announce the arrival of Ansett Flying Boats as they flew into Rose Bay, almost always it seemed with Captain Maundrell at the controls ! Ironically, Gary O’Callaghan’s son became a Seaplane Pilot himself, flying for the late Vic Walton. http://www.aviationwriter.org/221614437
  • 'For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty during the attack in front of VILLERS BRETONNEUX on 8th August 1918. Gunners [29015 H C] COURTNEY and TIDDY ran a line forward in face of heavy shell and machine gun fire and repeatedly patrolled same under heavy shell and machine gun fire in order to maintain communication. During the whole day's operation they acted in a most cool and daring manner, and under exceedingly trying circumstances showed a strong determination to succeed.' Source: 'Commonwealth Gazette' No. 75 Date: 17 June 1919
  • On this day, a Beaufort bomber (A9-38) from No 100 Squadron was attacked by three Zero fighters off the southern coast of New Britain. Instead of coming off worst in an unequal fight, the more cumbersome Beaufort actually bested its more nimble opponents. During an engagement lasting under eight minutes, the Beaufort crew –– firing from nose, turret and beam hatch –– managed to score hits on one Zero, which dropped away sharply, while a second suffered multiple hits in one wing and its fuselage before spinning out of control. The third Japanese pilot wisely chose to withdraw. The tally of Zeros claimed by the crew was one probable and one damaged; years later Japanese records confirmed both Zeros were lost in the action. The encounter became famous across the RAAF’s Beaufort force. All four crewmen were mentioned in dispatches, and in 1943 the pilot, Sgt Clarence Reginald 'Reg' Green (later Flying Officer), also received the Conspicuous Gallantry Medal. RAAF History Unit
  • She faced no battle flame, she heard no German gun, The ship without a name, the luckless AE-1. Yet were her sailor’s lives no less for Empire lost, And mothers, sweethearts, wives must pay the bitter cost. Australia’s warships sweep the broad Pacific main, But one from out the deep will never rise again. Yet we shall not forget, through all the years that run, The fate that she has met – Goodbye to AE-1. Pent in their iron cell, they sank beneath the wave, Untouched by shot or shell, they drifted to the grave. Until their painful breath at last began to fail; Upon their way to death let pity draw the veil. They could not strike one blow, but out of sound and sight Of comrade or of foe they passed to endless night; Deep down on Ocean’s floor, far from the wind and sun, They rest for evermore – Goodbye to AE-1. A harder fate was theirs than men’s who fight and die, But still Australia cares, and will not pass them by; When Honour’s lists are read, their names will surely be Among the gallant dead who fought to keep us free. Their winding-sheet is steel, their sepulchre is wide; Theirs is a Monument of History, begun When down to death they went – Goodbye to AE-1. Del McCay
  • 'Night 27th/28th August, 1916 at MOUQUET FARM. For leading bombing squads which successfully entered enemy strong point 54, and pushed forward into strongly held communication trenches, holding same, and inflicting heavy casualties on a large body of the enemy troops, and thus covering our consolidating party. These two N.C.O.s [RULE and 619 John James MYERS] threw bombs untiringly, and it is due to their personal heroism that the enemy were held back for some time, thus giving us time to prepare for their counter attack. They stood to their posts under heavy shell fire with undaunted courage.' Source: 'Commonwealth Gazette' No. 62 Date: 19 April 1917
  • Military Cross 'For fine courage and dash near Ascension Wood, on 18th September 1918. He displayed good leadership in manoeuvring his platoon across absolutely open ground under heavy fire, and was the first man into the enemy line, when he with a small party established a block until the remainder of the company got in. Assuming command, he attacked along the trench capturing fifteen machine guns and killing a large number of the enemy, and winning some 800 yards of enemy line.' Source: 'Commonwealth Gazette' No. 30 Date: 25 March 1920
  • "like men who had been in Hell.........drawn and haggard and so dazed they appeared to be walking in a dream, and their eyes looked glassy and starey" (Ed...the proverbial 'thousand yard stare') 'Raid on Celtic Wood', Robert Kearney ISBN 978 1921 207 103 2017 Digital Print Australia pp28
  • OPEN LETTER TO NX 200630 Pte N B Morton 2/1st Australian Infantry Battalion K.I.A. 25.3.45 Dear Doc, We survivors were thrilled to read in The First Post (Oct 1995) that the ‘Neville Morton Drive” off Crescent Head Road has been named after you. Do you remember, the first bad news that day was that the muddy water we had been drinking revealed a dead Jap in it, as the level was lowered. The second bad news was that after you made contact, heavy fire came from the ridge and you wouldn’t answer our many calls to you. “Hec” Bowan came up the track to find you, but was shot next to me, in the arm and leg. Merv Sheen worked his bren well, but Cisco lying behind a tree had the top of his slouch hat shot off. On the order “withdraw”, we all got out without further wounds. Then the coy commander started to order 100 rounds gunfire from the 25 pounders and told us to retreat further. Sgt Frank Upham jumped to his feet and said to the C.C. – “No man moves past this tree until we find Doc Morton”. In true spirit of the AIF the CC apologized to Frank and ordered us “Go back and find Morton”. So four of us crawled back and we did find you Doc. We tied a rope around your leg and dragged you out of the line of fire. Your denture fell out and I put it in my pocket, hoping you would need it, but you were gone, so two of us put you on a stretcher and carried you to the rear, where we dug a grave and buried you and you became a map reference high in those jungle hills. We slept near you that night. Next day, after the artillery fired their 100 round or more we went back up the slope. You never had a chance Doc. The Japs were lined along the ridge, each covering the slope and the track. We even saw some Japs running down the other side. We think one had your hat. You weren’t the last killed in that needless campaign Doc. Willoughby­ Jackson and 4 others died from Mortars at Karawop, where Snowy Searle had a terrible death from a land mine. Don Carmichael, Eric Bowen and D’arcy McPhillps were also to die. Harry Hughes, Dick Mulholland, Cec Bevan and James each lost his right arm. The 6th Aust Div lost over 600 dead – 443 from battle wounds Even after the war problems continued with at least 4 suicides. The soldier who accidentally killed Bob Morris laid his head on the railway line at Chatswood. Doubt you’ll ever get this letter Doc, but we survivors remember: we’ve had fifty more years than you. Cheerio Doc, may meet you soon, your old comrade in arms arms, Bren No 5535 (2/1 Inf Bn) What colours we had – Black over Green! What a leader – P.A. Cullen! From 1RAR Website
  • 'For conspicuous skill and courage during a daylight operation, when he advanced with his platoon and captured an enemy post. To cover consolidation he pushed his Lewis gun forward under heavy fire. In spite of losing the whole crew, he kept his gun in action, silencing one enemy machine gun and keeping down the fire of two others, thus enabling his platoon to consolidate in time to resist a heavy counter attack.' Source: 'Commonwealth Gazette' No. 31 Date: 4 March 1919
  • 'During the operations at POLYGON WOOD, east of YPRES on 20th September, 1917, Pte. BATES showed great bravery and devotion to duty when, as an observer, he moved out in front of the Battalion and there, by his determination to hang on and his personal disregard of personal safety, he gained and sent back much useful information as to the enemy's movements on his positions of assembly.' Source: 'Commonwealth Gazette' No. 31 Date: 7 March 1918 Although the citation cites Polygon Wood, this was the limit of exploitation of the Battle of Menin Road. A subsequent battle commencing 26 Sep is known as the Battle of Polygon Wood.
  • For gallantry and devotion to duty on 29th September 1918, at Bony, when he was in charge of a party of tunnellers clearing and maintaining a forward road under heavy enemy shell and machine gun fire. Although, owing to infantry being held up heavy casualties were occurring, he carried through the work, and set a fine example of coolness and resourcefulness to those under him.' Source: 'Commonwealth Gazette' No. 10 Date: 29 January 1920
  • Extract https://dambustersblog.com/2011/11/ Article in the New Statesman in which Guy Walters argues that Holland completely counters the “revisionist” view that the Dams Raid actually achieved very little. According to Walters: The raid was in fact a triumph, and did an enormous amount of damage. After studying the German archives, Holland shows that: “…not only were two major dams completely destroyed, so too were seven railway bridges, eighteen road bridges, four water turbine power stations and three steam turbine power stations, while in the Ruhr Valley alone, eleven factories were completely destroyed and a further 114 damaged, many severely. Vast tracts of land had also been devastated by the tidal waves that had thundered up to eighty miles from the dams.” Such damage can hardly be considered “little of substance”. Furthermore, Holland completely skewers the argument that as the dams were quickly rebuilt, the damage was therefore not that great. The whole point of their swift reconstruction “underlines just how important they were to Germany”, and the men and material required had to be diverted from elsewhere. Holland also argues that the destruction of the dams struck a huge psychological blow against the Germans, as these were structures that were venerated as triumphs of the country’s might and technical knowhow. In short, the raid was indeed a catastrophe for Nazi Germany, and a triumph for the British. Holland’s analysis will no doubt draw its detractors, perhaps inspired by a politically fashionable thinking that seeks to denigrate just about every British success during the Second World War. Of course, there was much that we got wrong, but we also got many things spectacularly right. In my view, Holland’s programme was a well researched and presented documentary. There were interviews with three of the four surviving Dambusters – Les Munro, Grant McDonald and George “Johnny” Johnson – and a good use of far flung written source material, such as Charlie Williams’ letters, which are in archives in Queensland, Australia. Perhaps the point that came across most strongly was the airmanship involved. Flying a 30 ton aircraft a thousand miles through hostile territory just 100 feet above the ground required enormous concentration, exceptional skill and tremendous luck. When you consider the odds it is no real surprise that eight of the 19 aircraft failed to return. And no surprise, either, that this tactic was only used sparingly in the rest of the war. With so much already written and broadcast about the Dams Raid it is not surprising that little new information emerged. But that shouldn’t detract from what was a thorough film, mercifully lacking most of the frills and tricks which many documentary directors nowadays feel it necessary to add.
  • Extract from Dambusters Blog https://dambustersblog.com/category/david-shannon/ At the end of February 1943, David Shannon finished his tour of operations in 106 Squadron with a trip to St Nazaire. This was the 36th sortie in a run which stretched back to June 1942, shortly after his 20th birthday. During his tour, he had generally flown with a core crew made up of Danny Walker, navigator, Wallace Herbert, bomb aimer, Arnold Pemberton, wireless operator, Douglas McCulloch, mid upper gunner and Bernard Holmes, rear gunner. Over the course of the tour Shannon flew with a number of different flight engineers and/or second pilots, but in the last few months Sgt Cyril Chamberlain became the regular flight engineer. An enforced change happened in November 1942, when Danny Walker came to the end of his own tour. He was posted to No 22 OTU as an instructor and thereafter a number of different navigators filled in for him. These included the experienced Norman Scrivener and Winston Burnside, both of whom also navigated for Guy Gibson in this period. Shannon’s last operation in 106 Squadron on 28 February appears to have coincided with the end of the tours of Herbert, Pemberton, McCulloch and Holmes. Under normal circumstances, the crew would have broken up and all would have been sent on instructional duties for a period of six months. Shannon, however, wanted to carry on flying and somehow arranged a transfer to 83 Squadron at RAF Wyton, a Pathfinder outfit. It was there that he got a telephone call from Gibson, asking him to join him at Scampton where he was forming a new squadron. Chamberlain, Herbert, Pemberton, McCulloch and Holmes were apparently all still at Syerston, waiting for new postings. Consideration was obviously given to reconstituting Shannon’s 106 Squadron crew, since Chamberlain, Pemberton, McCulloch and Holmes were all transferred to the new 617 Squadron at Scampton on or about 25 March 1943. Herbert appears either not to have been asked or to have declined the offer. Also, Shannon’s old crew member Danny Walker was specifically sought out to fill the post of navigator, and was brought over to Scampton from No 22 OTU at Wellesbourne Mountford. It is not clear exactly what happened next. Shannon undertook two testing flights on 28 and 31 March, but he only recorded the names of the other pilots with whom he flew (Flt Lt Dierkes on 28 March, Flt Lt John Hopgood on 31 March). His next flight wasn’t until 6 April, when he did a 5 hour cross country and bombing trip. This was repeated, over a different route, two days later on 8 April. On both of these flights, a five man crew is recorded. This consisted of Walker and McCulloch, both from his 106 Squadron days, two new names – bomb aimer Len Sumpter and flight engineer Robert Henderson, plus Larry Nichols, a wireless operator borrowed from Melvin Young’s crew. After the war, Len Sumpter described how he and Henderson were recruited to the squadron. At that stage, he had completed 13 operations in 57 Squadron, based at Scampton. Then his pilot was grounded with ear trouble and the crew were broken up. He and his erstwhile crewmate Henderson knew that a new squadron was being formed in the next two hangars, and heard that Shannon was looking for a bomb aimer and a flight engineer, so they sought him out. “We looked him over and he looked us over – and that’s the way I got on to 617 Squadron.” (Max Arthur, Dambusters: A Landmark Oral History, Virgin 2008, p18.) No date is given for this “interview”, but it must have occurred sometime between 31 March and 6 April. Sumpter goes on to say that the crew didn’t get their own wireless operator until the end of April. He didn’t know – or didn’t mention – that there were three members of Shannon’s old crew, including wireless operator Arnold Pemberton, kicking their heels on the ground. On 11 April, Shannon’s logbook records the first flight of a new crew member, rear gunner Jack Buckley. He had been transferred from No 10 OTU, where he was working as an instructor. He was an experienced gunner and had been commissioned, having completed a full tour of operations with 75 (New Zealand) Squadron. Albert Garshowitz (misspelt as Gowshowitz) from Bill Astell’s crew was the borrowed wireless operator on this occasion. Two days later, on 13 April, a complete squadron crew list was compiled, under the title “Order of Battle”. This is preserved in a file in the National Archives (AIR14/842). It shows Shannon’s crew as: Henderson, flight engineer, Walker, navigator, Sumpter, bomb aimer, McCulloch, mid upper gunner and Buckley, rear gunner. The position of wireless operator is left blank. Flg Off McCulloch is also listed as A Flight Gunnery Leader. Four names are listed as ‘spares’, amongst whom are the other three members of Shannon’s 106 Squadron crew: Pemberton, Holmes and Chamberlain. Another two days later, on 15 April, Douglas McCulloch attended an Aircrew Selection Board. He must therefore have previously applied for remustering. However, he returned to the squadron and flew on more training flights with Shannon on 19 and 21 April. He was eventually posted to No 13 Initial Training Wing on 1 May. On 17 April, Bernard Holmes and Arnold Pemberton’s time at 617 Squadron ended, with them both being recorded as being posted to No 19 OTU at Kinloss. There is no record of the destiny of Cyril Chamberlain. Holmes’s son Robert recalls that his father apparently told his wife at the time that he and Pemberton were bored and frustrated through not being kept busy, and asked for a transfer. Eleven days later, on 24 April, another squadron crew list was published. The Shannon crew now shows two changes. The wireless operator position has been filled by Flg Off Goodale DFC and the mid upper gunner has the handwritten name of Sgt Jagger in a space which had been left blank by the typist. The A Flight gunnery leader is now shown as Flg Off Glinz (from Norman Barlow’s crew). There are no longer any names listed as spares (National Archives: AIR14/842). This date coincides with Goodale’s first appearance in Shannon’s logbook. It is notable that Brian Jagger’s name may appear here, but in fact he did not fly with Shannon until 4 May. Both men came with a deal of experience. Brian Goodale had a completed full tour and was recruited from No 10 OTU, where Jack Buckley had also been an instructor. Brian Jagger came from 50 Squadron. He had previously flown with John Fraser and Ken Earnshaw, two Canadians in John Hopgood’s crew, and they may have been instrumental in getting him on board. On this date, David Shannon’s Dams Raid crew was finally established, and they would fly together for the next few months. Quite why three members of his crew from 106 Squadron were earlier brought over to Scampton but never used remains a mystery. Later in the war, after a spell as an instructor, Bernard Holmes returned to operations with 77 Squadron, and joined a crew skippered by Wg Cdr J D R Forbes, the squadron CO. He remained there until the end of hostilities. He had married his wife Margaret in 1940, and they had two sons, born after the war. The family emigrated to South Africa in 1952, and he died there in 1979. Thanks to Robert Holmes, Clive Smith, Robert Owen and Nigel Favill for their help with this article.
  • “On the 12th October, 1917, near Ypres, Gunner MacPherson [sic] was on duty at the O.P. as Telephonist. He was on duty for a period of 24 hours and was continually subjected to very heavy hostile shell fire. Work was carried out under the most trying and dangerous circumstances. After lines had been repaired many times and communications eventually broke down, Gunner MacPherson [sic] acted as Runner between the O.P. and the Battery, carrying messages through intense shell fire. He showed complete disregard for his own personal safety, displaying great resource and initiative throughout the entire Operations.” signed by Brigadier General Grimwade, Commanding officer of the 3rd Australian Divisional Artillery.
  • http://www.ww2roll.gov.au/Veteran.aspx?ServiceId=R&VeteranId=1012459
  • https://rslvirtualwarmemorial.org.au/research/home-page-archives/the-fishermans-friend
  • https://recordsearch.naa.gov.au/SearchNRetrieve/Interface/ViewImage.aspx?B=3526150
  • http://kokodahistorical.com.au/diggers-stories/raymond-baldwin
  • https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/R2419516
  • https://recordsearch.naa.gov.au/SearchNRetrieve/Interface/ViewImage.aspx?B=7376236
  • https://recordsearch.naa.gov.au/SearchNRetrieve/Interface/ViewImage.aspx?B=3034649
  • https://rslvirtualwarmemorial.org.au/research/resource-library/enlistment-and-embarkation-wwi
  • http://users.chariot.net.au/~wths/Historian%20vol7%20no2.pdf
  • https://www.cwgc.org/find-a-cemetery/cemetery/2087121/ijsselmuiden-(grafhorst)-general-cemetery/
  • https://www.awm.gov.au/sites/default/files/Wartime_Issue_12_Savige_Saviour_by_Ross_Lloyd.pdf
  • http://www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/462739/FINCH,%20GEORGE%20HENRY
  • https://recordsearch.naa.gov.au/SearchNRetrieve/Interface/ViewImage.aspx?B=7887055
  • https://recordsearch.naa.gov.au/SearchNRetrieve/Interface/ViewImage.aspx?B=11587631
  • https://nominal-rolls.dva.gov.au/veteran?id=137281&c=WW2
  • Des Sheen was awarded his DFC by King George VI for "leading three Spitfires against a superior number of enemy aircraft, of which he forced one into the sea and inflicted serious damage on another. Later he led two British fighters against seven Heinkels, and although wounded in the leg and ear, he continued the attack until a leaking petrol tank forced him to withdraw from the engagement". These actions occurred on 21 October and 7 December 1939.
  • http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/curr-francis-lawrence-9882
  • Guide_to_Remembrance_Day.pdf
  • https://nominal-rolls.dva.gov.au/veteran?id=1060032&c=WW2#R
  • https://recordsearch.naa.gov.au/SearchNRetrieve/Interface/ViewImage.aspx?B=3463994
  • https://aif.adfa.edu.au/showPerson?pid=263551

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