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  • https://recordsearch.naa.gov.au/SearchNRetrieve/Gallery151/dist/JGalleryViewer.aspx?B=4265509&S=4&N=28&R=0#/SearchNRetrieve/NAAMedia/ShowImage.aspx?B=4265509&T=P&S=4
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  • https://www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/485020/wetzel,-henry-conrad/
  • https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/R1667310
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  • http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/112617
  • Plot L. Row C. Coll. grave 24-26.
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  • http://www.jalbrecht.ca/625_squadron/map_legend.php
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  • https://somethingverybig.com/category/467-postblog/page/3/
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  • http://classicwarbirds.net/75th-anniversary-of-the-forgotten-18th-squadron
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  • https://vwma.org.au/research/resource-library/the-human-cost
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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.
  • My father (John Tindale) is no longer alive, but fellow crew member and life long friend, Fred Renshaw has been able to provide me with some of the details of crews members and events that took place, as well as the photos shown below. My father was one of an original group of five who started flying Wellingtons at Enfield in February 1944. This group initially included, Pilot Alan Dale, Navigator John Tindale, Bomb-aimer Bud (Isaac) Sewell, Rear-gunner Geoff Bailey, and Wireless operator/Air gunner Fred Renshaw . With the exception of the pilot, this group managed to stay together for the duration of the training and until the end of their tour of duty. By the beginning of April 1944 the crew had a new pilot, an Australian by the name of Les Dowling. Les, a member of the Royal Australian Air Force, was already a seasoned veteran and had been hanging around the mess looking for a new crew. On his previous tour, Les's plane had taken enemy fire while on a raid over France. His plane aflames, he had ordered his crew to jump, while he alone stayed with the plane until he crash landed somewhere behind enemy lines. Les somehow managed to make his way across the Pyrenees to Spain and from there he found his way to England. Les had no intention of ever ending up in a crashing plane again, and somehow he managed to keep that promise to himself and his crew. "Meanwhile, the squadron was playing its role in attacks on beleagured enemy garrisons. Gun emplacements and strong points at Le Havre received a caning, two major raids being flown on the 10th leaving the defenders shocked and confused. Just before the middle of September, two attacks on synthetic oil installations at Gelsenkirchen were launched. Well over a year had passed since the squadron last visited this prime target, then one of the many objectives in the first Battle of the Ruhr. The first raid was aimed at a plant in the Buer district, commencing in the early afternoon of the 12th. A strong barrage of flak rose to buffet the mainforce pouring across the town between 17,000 and 18,000 feet. Nearly every squadron bomber was hit, though none broke station. Warrant Officer Les Dowling RAAF, however, decided to make a second run as Sergeant Geoff Bailey, one of his air-gunners, will now explain. "At the last moment cloud obscured the Aiming Point and the bomb-aimer did not press the release button. Then the cloud drifted clear, so the skipper plumbed for another go. By the time we started our second run we were practically on our own and the flak gave us a renewed hammering. Talk about sweating cobs, I was glad to see the back of Gelsenkirchen that day".
  • This group initially included, Pilot Alan Dale, Navigator John Tindale, Bomb-aimer Bud (Isaac) Sewell, Rear-gunner Geoff Bailey, and Wireless operator/Air gunner Fred Renshaw. With the exception of the pilot, this group managed to stay together for the duration of their training and until the end of their tour of duty. By the beginning of April 1944, the crew had a new pilot, an Australian by the name of Les Dowling. Les, a member of the Royal Australian Air Force, was already a seasoned veteran and had been hanging around the mess looking for a new crew. On his previous tour, Les's plane had taken enemy fire while on a raid over France. His plane aflames, he had ordered his crew to jump, while he alone stayed with the plane until he crash landed somewhere behind enemy lines. Les somehow managed to make his way across the Pyrenees to Spain and from there he found his way to England. Les had no intention of ever ending up in a crashing plane again, and somehow he managed to keep that promise to himself and his crew. In July 1944, the crew joined 76 Squadron at Holme-on-Spalding Moor in Yorkshire. By now, the crew was flying the Halifax III Bomber. Although night flying afforded the aircraft the cover of darkness, it had its own risks. Instrumentation was inadequate, and the Halifaxes had to fly with no lights. Up to a thousand planes would be sent up at the same time and it was not until they were in the close vicinity of another plane that they were aware of its presence. Weather reports were unreliable, and even though they waited for clear nights to carry out a raid, there was no guarantee that they would find clear skies or a hole in the cloud when they were over the target. And with such large numbers of aircraft flying over enemy guns, the losses inccurred were very heavy for 76 Squadron (this squadron alone had 775 casualties, and over 280 crewmen taken as prisoners of war). During this tour of duty, my father's crew flew in 34 raids over France and Germany. (In the RAF, an airman was awarded 3 points for a trip over France, and 4 points for a trip over Germany. A tour was considered ended when 120 points had been accumulated). The Gelsenkirchen-Nordstern Mission On one of the operations over the Gelsenkirchen-Nordstern area in Germany, my father's crew was unable to disperse their load the first time round and had to go back over the target area a second time. By the time the Halifax bomber reached home base in England, it had seventeen holes in the wings and fuselage caused by German anti-aircraft fire. This mission won members of the crew the Distinguished Fly Cross. The following excerpt is from "To See the Dawn Breaking: 76 Squadron Operations" (p 158) and describes the lead-up to the raid over Gelsenkirchen: "Meanwhile, the squadron was playing its role in attacks on beleagured enemy garrisons. Gun emplacements and strong points at Le Havre received a caning, two major raids being flown on the 10th leaving the defenders shocked and confused. Just before the middle of September, two attacks on synthetic oil installations at Gelsenkirchen were launched. Well over a year had passed since the squadron last visited this prime target, then one of the many objectives in the first Battle of the Ruhr. The first raid was aimed at a plant in the Buer district, commencing in the early afternoon of the 12th. A strong barrage of flak rose to buffet the mainforce pouring across the town between 17,000 and 18,000 feet. Nearly every squadron bomber was hit, though none broke station. Warrant Officer Les Dowling RAAF, however, decided to make a second run as Sergeant Geoff Bailey, one of his air-gunners, will now explain. "At the last moment cloud obscured the Aiming Point and the bomb-aimer did not press the release button. Then the cloud drifted clear, so the skipper plumbed for another go. By the time we started our second run we were practically on our own and the flak gave us a renewed hammering. Talk about sweating cobs, I was glad to see the back of Gelsenkirchen that day'." Jimmy Burridge described his memories of the mission in a letter to me: "My recollections are - as we approached the target we could see that the lead A/C were bombing the railyard and many oil tankers were burning. A huge fire with much smoke and therefore very convincing that this was the target. Bud called to Les to turn 90 degrees starboard because that was where the oil refinery was just adjacent to the railway yard. Our first run over the bombs would not release because of ice. Les decided to go round again and this time Bud jettisoned all the bombs in one go to make sure of the release and it worked. However, we were now the last A/C over the target. Everyone else was heading for home. All the ACK ACK concentrated on us and we were hit. You could smell the cordite! Some panic was heard on the intercom (first time ever!) And Les told them to “Shut up and listen to Jimmy”. I told Les exactly where each shell burst came and he from his experience and training turned the A/C away from the expected next prediction. One shell came through the rear starboard side floor and went out through the portside roof taking a lump out of the point fin. The shell DID NOT GO OFF!! Les won the DFC for his determination to press on to the true target and for his airmanship in getting the A/C through the ACK ACK."
  • News (Adelaide, SA : 1923 - 1954), Saturday 4 January 1947, page 1 Body Found In Wreck SEREANT - PILOT C. W. Dunning. Spitfire SERGEANT-PILOT Colin William Dunning, of Restormel avenue, Fullarton Estate, was the pilot of a crashed Spitfire found by an aboriginal at Fog Harbor, 45 miles south-west of Darwin, last week. His parents were notified by R.A.A.F. headquarters last night. His remains were found on what would have been the pilot's twenty-second birthday, and will be interred in a military cemetery at Darwin. Missing from a non-operational flight more than two years ago, the late Sgt. Dunning was the son of Mr. and Mrs. S. L. Dunning, of Restormel avenue, Fullarton Estate. After a promising scholastic career at Marist Brothers' College, he won a scholarship for accountancy studies, and had completed two subjects when he joined the R.A.A.F. at the age of 18. After training at fighter schools at Mildura and Deniliquin, Sgt. Dunning went to Darwin with No. 452 Spitfire Squadron, and was lost on an altitude test and training exercises on April 24, 1944. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article127070538

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