04/05.04/1942 No. 70 Squadron Wellington 1C AD632 ?-Z Sgt. G.T.L. Salmon
Operation: Benghazi, Libya
Date: 04/05 April 1942 (Saturday/Sunday)
Unit: No. 70 Squadron Motto: 'Usquam' ('Anywhere')
Badge: A demi-wing lion erased. Developed from an unofficial winged lion badge probably derived from the Squadron's long dependence on the Napier Lion engine during the 1920s.
Type: Vickers Wellington 1C
Code: Call sign 'Z'
Base: Landing Ground No. 104 (Qotafiyh II) Egypt.
Location: 30 miles south of Benghazi, Libya
Pilot: Sgt. G.T.L. Salmon 1288381 RAF(VR?) - PoW No. 180 Camp: Stalag Kopernikus - 357 (1)
2nd Pilot: P/O. Ronald Ernest Brain (Dick) 402451 RNZAF Age 29 - PoW No.109 Camp: Stalag Luft Sagan and Belaria - L3 (2)
Obs/Air/Bmr: Sgt. Raymond Thomas Marquet 404556 RNZAF Age 22 - PoW No. 222742 Camp: Stalag Muhlberg (Elbe) - 4B (3)
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Lloyd Loris Clark MiD Aus/400748 RAAF Age 20 - PoW No. 144 Camp: Stalag Luft Sagan and Belaria - L3 (4)
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Kenneth George Fausett 404056 RNZAF Age 24 - PoW No. 153 Camp: Stalag Luft Sagan and Belaria - L4 (5)
Air/Gnr: Sgt. George Joseph William Galland (Joseph) 402992 RNZAF Age 26 - PoW No. 155 Camp: Stalag Luft Heydekrug - L6 (6)
We appeal to anyone with further information and/or photographs to please contact us via the HELPDESK
REASON FOR LOSS:
Wellington AD632 off between 23:05 - 23:50 from Landing Ground 104 (Qotafiyh II - about 15km west of El Dabaa and 300km north west of Cairo) detailed to attack shipping at Benghazi, Libya. After being heavily hit by flak the captain gave the order to abandon the aircraft. By the time the crew managed to bale out the aircraft had descended to under 1000 feet and was out of control. The pilot was the last to leave the aircraft which crashed approximately 30 miles south of Benghazi and all the crew landed safely with only a few minor injuries. The crew members gathered together in the desert and set out to try to make their way back to their lines.
According to Sgt. Clark's report after his release from captivity in 1945, Arabs betrayed them to a German patrol a week later on April 12. They were taken into captivity and sent to various prison camps in Germany and Poland.
After spending 20 days at Dulag Luft transit camp Lloyd Clark was sent to Stalag Luft III (Sagan) where he was held for a year until being moved to Stalag Luft VI (Heydekrug) in June 1943. At both these camps he "devoted his time to the efforts of the escape committee" and his report contains details of the following incident at Stalag Luft VI about which he learned due to his position on the escape committee there.
"Two men were attempting to crawl through the wire at night, and were detected by a searchlight, after a couple of shots were fired, the men stood up and put their hands up. After about a quarter of an hour the gunman NCO i.e. guard came in with his dog, which attacked one of the men, and the hun walked up close and at point blank range shot one of the men twice. For some reason he left the other man alone".
He added that the murdered man was an American POW.
In May 1944 he was sent to Stalag 357 at Thorn in Poland but in September the entire camp was relocated to Fallingbostel in Lower Saxony where conditions were particularly bad. With the advance of the Russians the prisoners were ordered to leave the camp and they embarked on a forced march of some 200 miles over the next three weeks. He was finally released by the British 2nd Army on 2 May 1945
PILOT VICTIM OF POST-WAR SHOOTING
On 7 October 2017 Aircrew Remembered was contacted by the renowned Author, Poet and Columnist Conan Kennedy who provided some remarkable details concerning the death of Ronald Ernest Brain. Conan told us that he is presently working on a book about a double murder case in Ireland in 1948. Visiting friends there, Ronald Brain was caught up in the incident as an innocent bystander and shot dead.
Using additional information provided by Conan Kennedy, details from the New Zealand Air Force Museum obtained by our Director of Research Kelvin Youngs and contemporary newspaper reports provided by our Senior Research Editor Kate Tame, Roy Wilcock compiled the following account of the incident.
Liberated in May of 1945 Flight Lieutenant Ronald Brain was transferred back to the UK and, in January of the following year returned to New Zealand and the air force reserve. He was released from his commission later that year. He later made his way back to the UK as a civilian, where he was employed as the Branch Manager of a Wholesale Clothing Manufacturing Company in Holborn London whilst living at 12, Hanover Square, Mayfair, London.
In January 1948 he was on holiday in Eire visiting friends and on Friday 23 January he and a friend, Quantity Surveyor Robert Robinson attended a golf club dance at the Royal Marine Hotel at Dun Laoghaire about 7 miles south of Dublin. At the dance the two men were with sisters Maureen and Carmel Macken when they were approached by a young army Lieutenant, Henry Fitzsimmons Cotton who had been friendly with Maureen Macken and he proceeded to ask her to choose between him or Robinson.
At the end of the evening Brain and Robinson escorted the two sisters, to their parents' home, Darwin House, Cunningham Road in Dalkey, a suburb of Dublin.
The four arrived at the house at about 4 a.m. on 24 January and shortly afterwards there was a knock at the front door which Robert Robinson answered. At the door was Cotton who asked to see Maureen. Words were exchanged between the two men before shots were fired and Robinson collapsed and died in the hallway. On hearing the exchange between the two men Brain had gone to the assistance of his friend and was also shot. As Cotton left Ronald Brain staggered into the kitchen where he died.
Cotton was later arrested and stood trial for the two murders at the Central Criminal Court in Dublin. His Counsel told the Court that in 1941 Cotton had lost an eye and suffered severe internal injuries and mental shock when a mine had exploded during a class at a demonstration at Glen Imaal near Curragh Camp killing sixteen soldiers and injuring another twenty including Cotton.
During a lengthy exchange of opinions as to Cotton's mental state a specialist witness for the Defence, concluded that in his opinion Cotton was not malingering and neither was he capable of understanding what was going on at the trial nor instructing his defence. The Court also heard that on 20 January just 4 days prior to the murders an Army Medical Board had recommended that he be retired from the army as being below Army physical standard due to insomnia, nervousness and certain physical defects.
Despite prosecution specialists arguing to the contrary about his mental state, on 15 March 1948 Cotton was found guilty of the murders but insane. He spent the next eight years in a psychiatric prison and on release he settled in New Zealand under an assumed name. He recently died there after a long and prosperous life!
Ronald Ernest Brain was buried at Brookwood Military Cemetery, Woking Borough, Surrey, England. He was 34 years of age.
BIOGRAPHICAL DETAILS OF THE CREW
(1) Sgt. G.T.L. Salmon. - NOTHING FURTHER KNOWN. IF YOU HAVE ANY INFORMATION PLEASE CONTACT OUR HELPDESK
(2) Fl/Lt. Ronald Ernest Brain. Known as 'Dick' he was born 4 February 1913 in York, Ontario, Canada the son of Ernest Henry D. St. Clair Brain (a Draper) and Mary Ann Brain nee Olds. The family moved to New Zealand when Dick was young and lived at Devonport, Auckland, New Zealand. He attended Takapuna Grammar School. After leaving school he worked as a Commercial Traveller and was a member of the Auckland Commercial Travellers' Club. He volunteered for the air force in November 1939 and began training in early 1940. After Initial Training School he was posted to No. 4 Elementary Flying School at RNZAF Station Whenaupai, Auckland (Course 10D) and afterwards to No. 3 Service Flying Training School at RNZAF Station Oheakea, near Bulls, Manawatu, North Island (Course 10C). He was commissioned as a Pilot Officer on 14 June 1941 before leaving New Zealand for service in Britain. In 1942 he was transferred to the Middle East. He was promoted ultimately to Flight Lieutenant whilst a prisoner of war.
(3) W/O. Raymond Thomas Marquet was born c 1919 the son of Mr and Mrs D. Marquet of Spreydon, Christchurch, New Zealand . After initial training in New Zealand he continued his training at No. 1 Bombing and Gunnery School at RCAF Jarvis in Ontario Canada.
He was reported safe and well in England on 22 May 1945 after spending three and a half years as a prisoner of war in Germany. Raymond Marquet played golf at the Templeton Country Club in Christchurch and in his spare time was a jazz pianist.
(4) Sgt. Lloyd Loris Clark MiD was born on 5 June 1921 at Williamstown, Victoria, Australia the son of Loris Richard Stephen Clark (a Clerk). The family later live at 128 Derby Road, Sunshine. He attended Sunshine Junior Technical School leaving at the age of 15 in 1936 and was subsequently employed as a Junior Draughtsman whilst continuing his studies at night school at Footscray Technical School in Melbourne. He enjoyed athletics for St Marks AAC and played football for Power House AFC. When he joined the RAAF on 13 October 1940 he was described as 5'5" tall weighing 137 lbs with a fair complexion, hazel eyes and fair medium hair.
After initial training he embarked for Canada on 27 November 1940 where he trained at No. 2 bombing and Gunnery School at Mossbank, Saskatchewan. He received his Air Gunners Badge on 23 June 1941 and was promoted to Sergeant.
He arrived in the UK on 29 July 1941 and after advanced training at 11 OTU (at RAF Bassingbourn) and 15 OTU (at RAF Harwell) he embarked for the Middle East on 29 December 1941 where he joined No. 70 Squadron. He commenced operational flying with the squadron at the end of February 1942 and completed 70 hours operational flying all of them in Wellingtons, prior to being shot down.
Whilst a PoW he was promoted to Flight Sergeant on 1 May 1943 and Warrant Officer on 1 May 1944.
After his release he arrived at No. 11 Personnel Despatch and Reception Centre in the UK on 7 May 1945 and on 9 September arrived in Sydney having served almost 5 years continuously outside Australia. He was discharged "on demob" with effect from 7 January 1946. The last recorded address for Lloyd Clark was in 1988 when the RAAF returned his Flying Log Book to him at 81 David Street North, Knoxfield, Victoria.
The London Gazette of 7 January 1947 and the Commonwealth of Australia Gazette of 7 April 1949 announced that His Majesty the King had approved of the following award with effect from 7 January 1947 - Royal Australian Air Force - Mention in Dispatches - Leading Aircraftsman (Temporary Warrant Officer) Lloyd Loris Clark No. 400748
He died at Ferntree Gully, Victoria, Australia in April 2011 aged 89
(5) Sgt. Kenneth George Fausett was born on 18 May 1918 at Papakura, Auckland, New Zealand the son of Mr E. Fausett and Mrs M.G. Fausett later of 5 Wells Street, Ponsonby, Auckland. He enlisted 27 October 1940 and completed his training in Canada before embarking for the UK where he joined a squadron engaged on night operations before being transferred to the Middle East. He was shot down on his 13th mission.
His elder brother Private Ian Geoffrey Fausett was a member of the regular forces and was also taken prisoner during the Libyan campaign.
Kenneth Fausett was liberated at the end of the war and arrived back in the UK on 14 May 1945. After returning to Australia he was discharged from the RAAF on 13 December 1945.
He died at Auckland on 1 August 1999 aged 81.
(6) W/O. George Joseph William Galland. Known as 'Joseph' he was born on 23 November 1916 at Dunedin, New Zealand the son of Mrs. K. Galland. He married Winifred Jean Fulton.
He was reported safe in England 28 April 1945
He died on 20 August 2009 aged 94 and after cremation his remains were interred at Lynwood Cemetery, Te Anau, Southland, New Zealand.
The letter below from George Galland was published in the Dunstan Times of 17 March 1941. In it he relates some of his experiences whilst training in Canada.
Researched by Aircrew Remembered researcher Roy Wilcock for all the relatives and friends of the members of this crew - June 2017
With thanks to the sources quoted below.