20/21.10.1944 70 Squadron Wellington X ME957 Fg.Off. Sandman
fOperation: Szombathely Airfield
Date: 20/21st October 1944 (Friday/Saturday)
Unit: 70 Squadron. 231 Wing. 205 Group
Type: Wellington X
Base: Tortorella - Foggia No.2
Location: Gostola, Croatia
Pilot: Fg.Off. Donald Ansley Sandman 425943 RNZAF Age 27. Killed
Nav: Fg.Off. Yves Ernest Edward Rolin 153203 RAFVR Age 23. Killed
WOp/Air Gnr: WO. Lawrence Geoffrey Robertson 418581 RAAF Age 21. Killed
WOp/Air Gnr: Plt.Off. George Arthur Palmer 424450 RAAF Age 27. Killed
Air Gnr: Plt.Off. Norman Albert Stevens 429675 RAAF Age 27. Killed
REASON FOR LOSS:
Taking off at 18:57 hrs, some 74 aircraft taking part with 5 being lost.
34 Squadron Liberator V1 EW194 Flown by Sgt. Peter Stockley Foster - all eight crew killed.
614 Squadron Halifax II JP232 Flown by Flt.Lt. Ian Henderson Bruce - six crew killed, one taken PoW.
104 Squadron Wellington X LP501 Flown by Sgt. Normand William Flight - taken PoW with all other four crew.
37 Squadron Wellington X MF298 Flown by WO. Walter Scobie Robson - all five crew killed.
Nothing was heard since the aircraft took off. It was reported that the aircraft was shot down by a night-fighter at around midnight close to the Yugoslav border some 70km due south of the target and crashed in flames at Gosztola.The crew were initially buried there but reinterred after the war.
Fg.Off. Donald Ansley Sandman. Budapest War Cemetery. Collective grave III.E.1-5. Born on the 15th March 1917 at Christchurch, the son of Donald McKay Sandman and Jessie Sandman (née Ansley), of Christchurch, Canterbury, New Zealand. Prior to enlisting worked as a storekeeper. A total 652 flying hours logged and having completes 38 operational sorties.
Fg.Off. Yves Ernest Edward Rolin. Budapest War Cemetery. Collective grave III.E.1-5. Son of Baron Daniel Rolin and of Baroness Rolin (née Genevieve Thys), of New York, United States of America. Holder of the Chevalier de l'Ordre de Leopold and the Croix de Guerre (Belgium). Grave inscription reads: "The Best Of Sons, The Best Of Brothers, For Ever Loved, For Ever Regretted".
WO. Lawrence Geoffrey Robertson. Budapest War Cemetery. Collective grave III.E.1-5. Born on the 01st November 1922 at Edenhope, the son of Victor William and Flora McLean Robertson, of Edenhope, Victoria, Australia. Grave inscription reads: "R.I.P. Loved Son Of Mr. And Mrs.V.W.Robertson Of Edenhope, Victoria".
Plt.Off. George Arthur Palmer. Budapest War Cemetery. Collective grave III.E.1-5. Born on the 09th February 1917 at St.Peters, the son of Ernest and Beatrice Palmer; husband of Betty Eileen Palmer, of Clovelly, New South Wales, Australia. Grave inscription reads: "Dearly Loved And Sadly Missed By Loving Wife Betty And Son Billy".
Plt.Off. Norman Albert Stevens. Budapest War Cemetery. Collective grave III.E.1-5. Born on the 02nd January 1917 at Mount Lawley, the son of Samuel and Frances Louisa Stevens and husband of Catherine Jessie Stevens, of 23 Scaddan Street,Bassendean, Western Australia. A so remand prior to service. Grave inscription reads: "Dearly Loved Husband Of Cass. Father Of Eleanor And Roslyn".
Researched and dedicated to the relatives of these crews with thanks to the research by Errol Martyn and his publications: “For Your Tomorrow Vols. 1-3”, Auckland War Memorial Museum, Weekly News of New Zealand, other sources as quoted below: