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  • ‘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.
  • This officer has completed 68 sorties and has displayed great courage and determination. During a sortie in January, 1943, Flying Officer Cowper was compelled to make a forced landing behind the enemy’s lines but he displayed great resource in outwitting the enemy and regained our own lines on foot. One night in July, 1943, he engaged a Junkers 88 and caused it to explode. The enemy aircraft disintegrated and a large portion struck and so disabled Flying Officer Cowper’s aircraft that he – was forced to leave it by parachute. He was later rescued from the sea and rejoined his squadron to resume operational flying. Since then, Flying Officer Cowper has destroyed another Junkers 88.
  • 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."
  • 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.
  • TED RUSSELL` S ACCOUNT. BV411 Sumburgh September 14th 1944. "We took off at 18.25hrs en route to Wick. I was in the second pilots seat, it was rough With lots of vibration, not unusual as we had brakes on and plenty of revs to commence our run with the restrictions at Sumburgh. We started to climb and I Noticed the oil pressure dropping on the Port engine together with a temperature Rise. Jack said" he was going to feather the Engine "and I said "I am out of here on to Radio, do you want emergency "Jack said "yes", so I went on the set and sent out the Distress signals and fixed down the key, The crew were told to get into crash Positions and we instructed our passengers to do the same. I then changed the signal to S.O.S. Jack was keeping me informed of height etc, then told me get rid of fuel he was going to try and make it back. Fire started on the remaining engine and started to come down the fuselage on the Starboard side. We did not have the height to use the long runway, so came in sea to sea with a strong cross tail wind, we could not sit down until about two thirds had gone, we tried to raise the undercarriage but it would not fold because of the hydraulic lock, after much stabbing of brakes one wheel went up,we carried on like that loosing bits and went over the grass then stalled more or less onto very large rocks that took off the outer wings, front turret, wind screen. Instrument Panel a wheel and bomb bay overload tank. When we stopped the port engine was off and all after the mid up turret broke off and turned up 90o. I got the airman on the floor near me up, moved to the Navs compartment and there was Bart on the floor ( in his crash position ) with all his gear and table on top of him. I lifted that off him and stood him up under the Astro dome gave him a shove and followed so fast I hit my head on his boots. I should mention that the flames were blowing over the hatch and the sea was on fire. The tide was further in than when the photo' was taken but I still wonder how we missed the bolts that should have been holding the engine on we could not swim or stand up due to the rocks and seaweed, but we crawled very fast. I put my hand on the airman's shoulder on the beach, his great coat was like tar and just crumbled away, he was more concerned about loosing the fresh crofters eggs he was taking home to his Mother!!. It was his first flight, I believe he went to Wick on an old Jarrow (Handley Page Harrow) they used for the newspaper run and it crash landed, Wonder if he ever flew again. I still can't believe how lucky we were to get out without to many injuries or burns".
  • 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
  • From Flight Sergeant Norman MacDonald, only survivor of JB472 The crew of Lancaster JB472 with Reginald Wicks as pilot, joined the Squadron on 23 November 1943. They flew their first mission on 23 November - a night raid on Berlin. This was closely followed by another night mission to Berlin on 26 November. On 2 December JB472 took off from Warboys airfield for their third raid on Berlin. In a report given by Flight Sergeant Norman Macdonald after the war he describes what happened to their aircraft as they flew over eastern Germany: 'Attack by enemy fighter reported by rear gunner - pilot acknowledged, took evasive action and just then we were hit. Crew put on chutes, aircraft in steep dive. At approx between 17 and 15, 000 feet violent explosion. I was sucked out the starboard side of aircraft. Regained consciousness at approx 4,000 feet opened 'chute landed ok. I believe pilot jettisoned bombs endeavouring to save crew and aircraft but aircraft crashed 20 miles north of Hannover. The next day I was captured in the goods yard of the village railway station by 2 German soldiers who were searching for me and taken to identify wreckage of aircraft from which German officials had removed the bodies of my 6 colleagues. Taken to Frankfurt for interrogation put into solitary confinement then to Stalag IVB.'
  • Warrant Officer Bell is a an efficient and most resolute pilot. He has taken part in may harassing attacks on the enemy and has invariably displayed a high degree of gallantry. He has destroyed four enemy aircraft. London Gazette 17 November 1944
  • 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

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