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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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461 Squadron Crest
13.08.1943 No 461 Squadron Short Sunderland III DV968 UT-M F/O Wilbur James Dowling

Operation: Anti-Submarine Patrol, Bay of Biscay

Date: 13 August 1943 (Friday)

Unit: No 461 Squadron

Type: Sunderland III

Serial: DV968

Code: UT-M

Base: RAF Pembroke Dock, Pembrokeshire, Wales

Location: Bay of Biscay, Atlantic Ocean

Captain: F/O. Wilbur James Dowling AUS/400788 RAAF Age 34 Killed (1)

1st Pilot: F/O. David Taylor Galt DFC AUS/400976 RAAF Age 28 Killed (2)

2nd Pilot: F/O. James Charles Grainger AUS/400411 RAAF Age 24 Killed (3)

Obs: F/Lt. Kenneth McDonald Simpson DFC AUS/403778 RAAF Age 28 Killed (4)

Fl/Eng: Fl/Sgt. Philip Kelvin Turner AUS/26697 RAAF Age 26 Killed (5)

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Charles Douglas Leslie (Les) Longson AUS/415338 RAAF Age 20 Killed (6)

W/Op/Air/Gnr: W/O. Harold Arthur Miller AUS/405083 RAAF Age 23 Killed (7)

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Albert Lane AUS/414701 RAAF Age 27 Killed (8)

FMU/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Louis Stanley Watson AUS/26588 RAAF Age 25 Killed (9)

Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Alfred Eric Fuller DFM 576061 RAF Age 20 Killed (10)

Air/Gnr: W/O. Ray Marston Goode DFM AUS/407499 RAAF Age 34 Killed (11)


Sunderland DV968 took off at 07.08hrs from RAF Pembroke Dock for a Anti-Submarine Patrol over the Bay of Biscay. Nothing was heard from the aircraft until 14:27hrs when a signal was received stating the aircraft was being attacked by 6 JU 88's. It is believed that the aircraft was shot down by a JU 88 and crashed into the Bay of Biscay. The aircraft was was claimed by Lt. Artur Schroeder of 13/KG 40

Sunderland JM683 patrolled the area the following day but found no dinghies or survivors

Map showing the area of the crash

Short Sunderland aircraft of No 461 Squadron at RAF Pembroke Dock 5 June 1943 (courtesy Australian War Museum)

The Giant Plane That Wrecked U-boats (Courtesy DarkSkies via YouTube)

On the 2 June 1943 Sunderland EJ134 Captained by F/Lt Colin Braidwood Walker, P/O Dowling, P/O Amiss, P/O Simpson, Sgt Miles, Sgt. Turner, Fl/Sgt Fuller, Fl/Sgt Miller, Sgt Lane, Sgt Watson and Fl/Sgt Goode were on an Anti-Shipping Patrol in the Bay of Biscay when the aircraft was attacked by eight German Junker aircraft. Click (here) for further details. Four of the crew were awarded immediate awards of DSO, DFC and two DFM's for their great skill, courage and fortitude

'The King has been graciously pleased to approve the following award in recognition of gallantry displayed in flying operations against the enemy. Distinguished Service Order. Acting Flight Lieutenant Colin Braidwood Walker AUS/404610 RAAF No 461 Squadron, Distinguished Flying Cross. Flying Officer Kenneth MacDonald Simpson AUS/403778 RAAF No 461 Squadron. Distinguished Flying Medal. 576061 Flight Sergeant Alfred Eric Fuller RAF No 461 Squadron. Distinguished Flying Medal. AUS/407499 Flight Sergeant Roy Marston Goode RAAF No 461 Squadron'

'One day in June 1943 Flight Lieutenant Walker and Flying Officer Simpson were captain and navigator respectively while Flight Sergeants Fuller and Goode were gunners in a Sunderland flying boat which was attacked by 8 Junker 88's when in the Bay of Biscay. The flying boat sustained much damage and a fire started which caused burns to Flight Lieutenant Walker. Nevertheless, this officer continued the engagement and due to the superb teamwork of Flying Officer Simpson, who acted as a fire controller, and Flight Sergeants Fuller and Goode 3 of the attacking aircraft were destroyed and 2 others were severely damaged. Despite his burns, Flight Lieutenant Walker ably assisted by the skilful navigation of Flying Officer Simpson, who was wounded in both legs, successfully flew his aircraft nearly 300 miles back to this country. These officers and airmen displayed great skill, courage and fortitude'

Left to right: 2 June 1943 - Alfred Eric Fuller RAF, Ray Marston Goode RAAF, Sgt Miles RAF, Philip Kelvin Turner RAAF.

Left to right: Harold Arthur Miller, David Taylor Galt and Kenneth McDonald Simpson

Burial details:

F/O. Wilbur James Dowling. Runnymede Memorial, Surrey. Panel 187. Son of James J and Jessie Dowling of Echuca, Victoria, Australia. Husband of Moira Doreen Dowling of Caulfield, Victoria, Australia (1) Born 29 May 1909 in Bendigo, Victoria. Enlisted 1940 in Melbourne. Wilbur started his training 8 November 1940 at No 1 Initial Training School, gaining his Flying Badge 29 May 1941. Embarked from Sydney and arrived in the UK 30 December 1941 and was posted to No 461 Squadron 24 July 1942

F/O. David Taylor Galt DFC. Runnymede Memorial, Surrey. Panel 187. Son of David Taylor Galt and Martha Jane Galt of Glen Iris, Victoria, Australia. Husband of Elsie Galt of Middle Brighton, Victoria (2) David was born 10 November 1914 in Brunswick, Victoria and enlisted in Melbourne 7 December 1940. David trained to become a pilot and was serving with No 460 Squadron when he was awarded an immediate DFC (Distinguished Flying Cross) Flying on an operation to Stuttgart 22/23 November 1942 in Lancaster W4273. Plt.Off. Galt force landed the aircraft and all of the crew survived. He and two others managed to evade capture and returned to England, the remaining four crew became PoW's. The citation as per London Gazette 5 February 1943. 'The King has been graciously pleased to approve the following award in recognition of gallantry displayed in flying operations against the enemy. Pilot Officer David Taylor Galt (Aus. 400976) Royal Australian Air Force, No 460 (RAAF) Squadron. This officer displayed great gallantry, coolness and presence of mind in hazardous circumstances when his aircraft was hit and set on fire by anti-aircraft fire'

F/O. James Charles Grainger. Runnymede Memorial, Surrey. Panel 187. Son of John and Gladys May Granger of West Malvern, Victoria, Australia (3) Born 26 September 1918 in Essex, England and enlisted in Melbourne 1940. James was one of the first Empire Air Scheme trainees. His father also served in the RAAF enlisting in 1941

F/Lt. Kenneth McDonald Simpson DFC. Runnymede Memorial, Surrey. Panel 187. Son of John McDonald Simpson and Ruby Simpson. Husband of Elizabeth Ann Simpson of Chatswood, New South Wales, Australia. Chartered Accountant (4) Kenneth was born 20 October 1914 in Granville, New South Wales and enlisted Sydney. Ken was awarded his flying badge 28 February 1942 and arrived in the UK 28 May 1942. Posted to No 461 Squadron 6 August 1942. Ken was wounded on the 3/4 June 1943 and was awarded an immediate DFC (Distinguished Flying Cross) as per London Gazette 2 July 1943

Fl/Sgt. Philip Kelvin Turner. Runnymede Memorial, Surrey. Panel 194. Son of Frederick Nathan Turner and Ethel Florence Turner of Cowell, South Australia (5) Philip was born 5 May 1917 in Cowell, South Australia and enlisted in Adelaide 4 June 1940. Philip is remembered in Cowell Cemetery, New South Wales

Charles Douglas Leslie Longson is remembered on the Guildford War Memorial, Western Australia (courtesy Stuart Smith - Panoramio)

Fl/Sgt. Charles Douglas Leslie Longson. Runnymede Memorial, Surrey. Panel 193. Son of Leslie Charles and Julia Longson of Guilford, Western Australia (6) Charles was born 13 May 1923 in Guildford, Western Australia and enlisted in Perth. Les is remembered on the Guildford War Memorial, Western Australia

Sgt. Louis Stanley Watson. Runnymede Memorial, Surrey. Panel 197. Son of William Henry and Mabel Wilhelmina Watson of Mile End, South Australia (9) Born 12 February 1918 in Adelaide. Louis is commemorated on the Rathmines Memorial Bowling Club and Memorial Wall

Serving Miller Family. 5 brothers, 1 uncle and a cousin (courtesy Reveille publication 2001)

W/O. Harold Arthur Miller. Runnymede Memorial, Surrey. Panel 191. Son of Frederick Maurice and Gertrude Miller of Nimbin, New South Wales, Australia (7) Harold was born 5 December 1919 in Ballina, NSW. Before enlisting Harold was employed by J V S Topfer and Coy, of Lismore and was educated at Ballina Intermediate and Lismore High Schools. He was a keen sportsman playing first grade cricket with Old Students and was also a member of the Saxons Baseball Club. He was selected to represent the Far North Coast in a baseball match held in Sydney. Harold Arthur Miller enlisted at No 3 Recruiting Centre in Brisbane 6 January 1941 and completed part of his training in Canada, arriving in the UK 26 December 1941. Harold was wounded and taken to hospital 2 June 1943. He was posted to No 461 Squadron 28 April 1942. One of Harold's brother's Sydney Frederick Miller No 58 Squadron died in action on an operation to the Bay of Biscay while serving with RAAF 1 June 1943 aged 27. In a letter from the Wing Commander of 461 Squadron to Harold's parents said that '..... W/O Miller was one of the most popular men in the Squadron and was efficient in his duties and keen to meet the enemy'

Fl/Sgt. Albert Lane. Runnymede Memorial, Surrey. Panel 193. Son of William Hillier Lane and Annie Elizabeth Lane of Coomera, Queensland, Australia (8) Albert was born 11 September 1915 in Upper Coomera, Queensland and enlisted in Brisbane 8 November 1941. He arrived in the UK 16 December 1942 and was posted to No 461 Squadron 31 March 1943. He is remembered on the Upper Coomera War Memorial

Alfred Eric Fuller DFM is remembered on the Ferndown Roll of Honour - All Saints Church War Memorial, Hampreston, Dorset

Fl/Sgt. Alfred Eric Fuller DFM. Runnymede Memorial, Surrey. Panel 136. Son of Alfred and Florence Fuller of Longham, Dorsetshire (10) Alfred was awarded the DFM (Distinguished Flying Medal) as per London Gazette 2 July, 1943 and is remembered on the Ferndown Roll of Honour - All Saints Church War Memorial, Hampreston, Dorset

W/O. Ray Marston Goode DFM. Runnymede Memorial, Surrey. Panel 191. Son of Clarence and Hilda Anna Margaret Goode of Koongarra Park, South Australia (11) Ray was born 14 July 1909 in Adelaide and enlisted in Adelaide 12 October 1940. Disembarked UK 4 November 1941 and posted to No 461 Squadron 7 October 1942. Ray was wounded and admitted to hospital 2 June 1934 and awarded an immediate DFM (Distinguished Flying Medal) as per London Gazette 2 July, 1943

Researched by: Kate Tame Aircrew Remembered and for all the relatives and friends of the crew. Acknowledgements: resources as indicated below

RS 21.09.2019 - Correction to loss of Plt.Off Galt's Lancaster.

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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', Stan D. Bishop, John A. Hey MBE, Gerrie Franken and Maco Cillessen - Losses of the US 8th and 9th Air Forces, Vols 1-6, Dr. Theo E.W. Boiton - Nachtjagd Combat Archives, Vols 1-13. 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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