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Archive Report: Allied Forces

Compiled from official National Archive and Service sources, contemporary press reports, personal logbooks, diaries and correspondence, reference books, other sources, and interviews.
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463 Crest
463 (RAAF) Squadron Lancaster III PB263 JO-T F/O. Russell Johnstone Miller

Operation: Kaiserslautern (1)

Date: 27/28th September 1944 (Wednesday/Thursday)

Unit: No. 463 (RAAF) Squadron (motto: 'Press on Regardless). 5 Group (2)

Type: Lancaster III

Serial: PB263

Code: JO-T

Base: RAF Waddington, Lincolnshire

Location: Hoxel, Germany

Pilot: F/O. Russell Johnstone Miller Aus/13742 RAAF Age 26. Killed

Fl/Eng: Sgt. Sgt Brian Parker 1381898 RAFVR Age? Killed

Nav: Sgt. Robert Delmage Healy Aus/427830 RAAF Age 28. Killed

Air/Bmr: Fl/Sgt. Gergo Caveridge Aus/427438 RAAF Age 32. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Thomas Alfred Peace Taylor Aus/28072 RAAF Age 25. Killed

Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Leonard Ernest James Coxhill Aus/431157 RAAF Age 21. PoW No. 52948 Camp: Stalag Luft Sagan and Belaria. Initially Stalag Muhlhausen.

Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Roy Cameron Coventry Aus/431166 RAAF Age 21. Killed

REASON FOR LOSS:

Taking off from RAF Waddington at 22:11 hrs to bomb town and railway yards at Kaiserslautern. A total force of 227 aircraft took part. Bomb load 1 x 2000 lb bomb, 12 x 500 ‘J’ clusters.

The city was covered with two sheets of cloud but crews went down to 5,000 feet or lower, from which altitude streets could be clearly seen in the light of fires which quickly sprang up around the two aiming points the civic centre and the railway repair shops. An extremely good aiming-point photograph that showed perfect ground detail was obtained by Fl/Lt. Boyle (3) had bombed on two southerly red spot fires from an altitude of 5,000 feet.

This was even more markedly a fire raid than at Karlsruhe, for only 75 tons of the total load of 810 tons were high-explosive bombs. The optimism of crew reports was fully justified, as over half the fully built-up area of Kaiserlautern was wrecked, industrial plants including the important textile works of Kammgarnspinnerei were heavily damaged as well as railway targets.

This was the only 'heavy' lost on this operation although a Mosquito from 627 squadron KB366 AZ-0 flown by 29-year-old Fl/Lt. Harold Earl Brown J/8965 RCAF was lost and many others returned with flak damage.

In a later statement the then Fl/Sgt. Coxhill stated: 'When we left the target it was only a short time before we crashed into a hill. I was the only one to get out with the rest of the crew either killed instantly or knocked unconscious and burnt to death. The aircraft was a flaming wreck when I came to. When I left the aircraft we were on the ground. The Germans captured me 36 hours later. I had burns on my hands, face and feet and was treated in a German hospital'. ( Alan Storr)

Fl/Sgt. Leonard Ernest James Coxhill. Born on the 28th November 1923 at Port Melbourne, Victoria. Fiance Miss J. Brown of 31 Cook Street. Abbotsford, Victoria. Son of Charlotte Josephine Coxhill of 90 Stafford Street, Abbotsford, Victoria, Australia.

(1) In World War II, Allied bombing destroyed more than 85% of Kaiserslautern. The railway and several main roads were primary targets, with the heaviest attacks occurring on 7 January, 11 August, and 28 September 1944. On 20 March 1945, as the last of the 1st Army crossed the Rhine at Remagen, the U.S. 80th Division, 319th Infantry, part of the 3rd US Army, seized Kaiserslautern without resistance. The city became part of the French occupation zone after the Second World War. The establishment of the state of Rhineland-Palatinate was ordered on 30 August 1946 as the last state in the western occupation zones by ordinance No. 57 of the French military government under General Marie-Pierre Kœnig. Little reconstruction took place until the currency reform of 1948. The pace of the economy remained slow until 1952 when construction for newly established garrisons of American troops brought economic growth to the area.

Unexploded ordnance from WWII continues to be discovered in and around Kaiserslautern. In May 2012 an unexploded 250-pound (110 kg) Allied bomb was found, buried deeply and reportedly covered by water pipe, during a construction project in the downtown area of the city. On 5 September 2013, another WWII bomb was found during construction near the train station in Enkenbach-Alsenborn. (Wikipedia)

(2) 463 Squadron had the highest casualty rate of any Australian bomber squadron deployed to Europe during the war, with 78 aircraft being lost and 546 personnel being killed, of these 225 were Australian.

(3) Squadron Leader Alfred Bertram Boyle DFC and Bar (404713) (O11338) Born on the 10th August 1914 in Queensland Australia. Son of Robert Bertram Boyle and Elizabeth Anna Frazer. Husband of Annie Woolley Hartill a serving member of the ATS. Retired from the RAAF on the 11th of August 1957. Passed away on the 29th May 1988 at the Royal Perth Hospital in Perth, Western Australia.

DFC Citation: 'A fine operational captain of aircraft, W/O Boyle has completed a large number of successful sorties over Germany, Italy enemy-occupied France, including attacks on heavily defended targets at Berlin and Essen. On one occasion, during an attack on St.Nazaire, W/O Boyle's aircraft was struck by a falling incendiary, which ignited inside the fuselage during the bombing run. Nevertheless, this airman completed his attack before attempting to deal with the incendiary'.

Burial details:

F/O. Russell Johnstone Miller. Rheinberg War Cemetery. Plot 8 Row H. Collective Grave 5-8. Born on the 16th November 1917 at Warrnambool, Victoria. Enlisted on the 04th April 1941. Son of William Percy and Muriel Beatrice Miller (née Jones - died 18th December 1988, age 97), of Warrnambool, Victoria, Australia Grave inscription: Underneath Are The Everlasting Arms. So Noble, So True.

Sgt. Sgt Brian Parker. Rheinberg War Cemetery. Plot 8 Row H. Collective Grave 5-8. Son of Harold and Harriett Parker, of Richmond, Surrey, England.

Sgt. Robert Delmage Healy. Rheinberg War Cemetery. Plot 8 Row H. Collective Grave 5-8. Born on the 01st December 1915 at Irin, Western Australia. Enlisted on the 06th October 1942. Son of Robert John and Hilda Clyde Iantha Healy (née Delmage - died 25th February 1967, age 80) and husband of Ellen Agnes Healy, of Coolgardie, Western Australia. Grave inscription: His Duty Nobly Done. Always Remembered'.

Fl/Sgt. Gergo Caveridge. Rheinberg War Cemetery. Plot 8 Row H. Collective Grave 5-8. Born on the 04th June 1912 at Boulder City, Western Australia. Enlisted on the 14th of July 1942. Son of Vido and Milla Caveridge (died 18th December 1953, age 64) of Boulder, Western Australia. Grave inscription: 'Loved And Remembered Always.

Fl/Sgt Thomas Alfred Peace Taylor. Rheinberg War Cemetery Plot 8 Row H. Collective Grave 5-8. Born on the 19th July 1919 at Port Pirie Sothern Australia. Enlisted on the 23rd of May 1940. Son of John Thomas Sharwood Taylor (died 16th October 1946, age 60) and Edna Clara Taylor (née Brusnahan - died 25th October 1976, age 83), of Ellendale, South Australia. Grave inscription: 'His Duty Fearlessly And Nobly Done. Ever Remembered By All'.

Fl/Sgt. Roy Cameron Coventry. Rheinberg War Cemetery. Plot 8 Row H. Collective Grave 5-8. Born on the 14th April 1923 at Melbourne, Victoria. Enlisted on the 04th June 1943. Son of Roy Harold and Barbara Coventry, of Middle Park, Victoria, Australia. Grave inscription: 'Beloved Only Son Of R. & B. Coventry Of Melbourne, Australia'.

Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this crew with thanks to John Jones, Alan Storr, National Archives of Australian, Theo Boiten 'Nachtjagd Combat Archive 1944', other sources as quoted below:

KTY/JJ 22.01.2022

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Acknowledgements
Sources used by us in compiling Archive Reports include: Bill Chorley - 'Bomber Command Losses Vols. 1-9, plus ongoing revisions', Dr. Theo E.W. Boiten and Mr. Roderick J. Mackenzie - 'Nightfighter War Diaries Vols. 1 and 2', Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt - 'Bomber Command War Diaries', Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Tom Kracker - Kracker Luftwaffe Archives, Michel Beckers, Major Fred Paradie (RCAF) and MWO François Dutil (RCAF) - Paradie Archive (on this site), Jean Schadskaje, Major Jack O'Connor USAF (Retd.), Robert Gretzyngier, Wojtek Matusiak, Waldemar Wójcik and Józef Zieliński - 'Ku Czci Połeglyçh Lotnikow 1939-1945', Archiwum - Polish Air Force Archive (on this site), Anna Krzystek, Tadeusz Krzystek - 'Polskie Siły Powietrzne w Wielkiej Brytanii', Franek Grabowski, Norman L.R. Franks 'Fighter Command Losses', Aircrew Remembered Databases and our own archives. We are grateful for the support and encouragement of CWGC, UK Imperial War Museum, Australian War Memorial, Australian National Archives, New Zealand National Archives, UK National Archives and Fold3 and countless dedicated friends and researchers across the world.
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