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Paul McGuiness RAAF Archive
Paul McGuiness is an Australian aviation researcher and historian. Using primary sources he has assembled detailed information on the history of each plane
used by Australians and Australian forces in WWl and WW2, and on personnel involved.

This page contains many names, dates, locations. To help find the one(s) you're interested in, use our Highlighting facility.
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History of Australian Military Aviation

First World War

Armstrong Whitworth FK3

Avro 504

Bristol F2b Fighter

Fairey Aviation Model lllD Seaplane

Martinsyde G.100 G 102 Elephant

Maurice Farman S.11 Shorthorn

Royal Aircraft Factory BE2

Royal Aircraft Factory BE12

Royal Aircraft Factory RE.8

Royal Aircraft Factory SE5A Experimental Scout

Sopwith Camel B Series

Sopwith Camel C D E F Series

Sopwith Snipe

Sopwith Scout (Pup)

Sopwith 1½ Strutter

Supermarine Seagull lll

Supermarine Southampton Mk 1

Westland Wapiti


Post First World War

Bristol Bulldog

De Havilland DH.9A

Hawker Demon

Royal Aircraft Factory SE.5A

Avro 504K


Second World War

10 Sqd Sunderlands

455 Sqd Hampdens 1941-43

458 Sqd Wellingtons

460 Sqd Wellingtons

461 Sqd Sunderlands

462 Sqd Halifax Part 1 MTO

466 Sqd Wellingtons


Further Information:

Aces and Aviators WWl Database

Material Relating to Australia

No.462 (B) Squadron Royal Australian Air Force in WW2

A Brief History Part 1: September 1942 to March 1944
Mediterranean Theatre of Operations


462 crest RAAF

462 Squadron was an Article XV squadron of the Empire Air Training Scheme formed by 205 Group RAF as the first Halifax Mk.II heavy bomber unit in the Middle East. On 7th September 1942 No.205 Group RAF issued Instruction No.17 dated 02Sep42 that directed all elements of Nos 10/227 and 76/462 Heavy Bomber Squadrons to immediately amalgamate and form No.462 (B) Squadron RAAF at RAF Station Fayid, Egypt. Accordingly, ten Halifax Mk.II aircraft from 10/227 Sqn; thirteen Halifax Mk.II aircraft from 76/462 Sqn; and, all personnel and equipment formed No.462Sqn. An ironic twist was the fact that only one Australian serviceman was part of the Squadron.

The first operation was carried out the very next day when six Halifax bombers carried out a successful attack on enemy shipping in Tobruk Harbour.

The mission called for nine bombers but three went unserviceable on start up because of engine faults and this became a recurring problem for many months to come. For the remainder of the month several more raids were mounted, all against Tobruk harbour and surrounds to try and diminish the Axis build up in Libya. The rest of the year saw the Squadron divide its missions between the Libyan Campaign and the ill-fated campaign in Crete.

The early months of 1943 saw the Squadron bombing Axis forces firstly from Benina LG near Benghazi, Libya then from Gardabia Main in North Western Libya where the Squadron was based until the Tunisian Campaign ended in May 1943. The Squadron then moved to the primitive Hosc Raui Landing Ground located south of Benghazi where it remained for several months conducting raids mainly against targets in Sicily and southern Italy. At the end of September the Squadron was placed on warning of a move to Italy but the order was rescinded and the Squadron moved instead to Terria LG also close to Benghazi. From Terria they were tasked to conduct raids against German targets in Greece, Crete, Rhodes and other islands in the Dodecanese. In December 1943 its operations included conducting attacks on Greek ports and bays including Salamis Island, Piraeus, Salonika, and Suda.

The close of 1943 saw the RAF agreed to a request from RAAF Overseas Headquarters in London to disband 462Sqn and renumber it as an RAF Squadron although the disbanding and renumbering was not put into effect for some months. In the meantime the Squadron was moved to El Adem aerodrome in Libya to conduct raids over Greece and it wasn’t until 1st March 1944 that the Squadron was relocated to Italy as No.614 (B) Sqn RAF and 462Sqn was officially disbanded in the Middle East.

Year

Month

Location

Sorties

Operational

Losses

Non-Operational

Losses

1942

September

Fayid, Egypt

92

1

1

1942

October

Fayid, Egypt

62

2

0

1942

November

Fayid/LG.237/LG.167

76

2

0

1942

December

LG.167/LG.237

8

0

0

1943

January

LG.167/Solluch LG

13

0

0

1943

February

Solluch LG, Libya

70

2

0

1943

March

Gardabia Main, Tunisia

84

0

0

1943

April

Gardabia Main, Tunisia

25

0

1

1943

May

Gardabia Main, Tunisia

23

1

0

1943

June

Hosc Raui, Libya

59

0

0

1943

July

Hosc Raui, Libya

87

2

0

1943

August

Hosc Raui, Libya

57

2

0

1943

September

Hosc Raui, Libya

79

1

0

1943

October

Terria LG, Libya

124

2

0

1943

November

Terria LG, Libya

73

0

1

1943

December

Terria LG, Libya

57

0

0

1944

January

El Adem, Egypt

46

1

0

1944

February

El Adem, Egypt

21

0

0

1,056

16

3

Table 1

Summary of 462 Sqn Sorties Flown and Aircraft Losses in the MTO 1942-43


462 Squadron is known to have operated 71 Halifax Mk.II aircraft in the Mediterranean Theatre of Operations during the period September 1942 to March 1944. Of the 71 used 19 were lost through operational and non-operational causes. The remainder of this document details the history of the 19 aircraft lost and the men who flew them.

W1161 W1176 W1183 W7655 W7659

W7622 W7702 W7758 W7848 BB321

BB325 BB333 BB358 BB417 BB423

BB443 DT498 DT499 DT501

Table 2

Serials of 462 Sqn Halifax Mk.II Aircraft Losses 1942-44 in the MTO


W1161

00Jun42 Handley Page Type HP59 Halifax B.MK II bomber W1161 was manufactured under license to Contract B982938/39 by the English Electric Co Ltd at their Salmsebury airfield factory in Preston, Lancashire UK. The aircraft was the 21st of 50 aircraft built in the Serial Range W1141 to W1190.

Powered by four 27-litre liquid-cooled V-12 piston Rolls Royce Merlin XX aero engines each developing 1,390 hp (1,036 kW) driving a combination of three-bladed Rotol R7/35/54 and R7/35/55 fully feathering wooden propellers.

Defensive armament consisted of eight .303 inch Browning machine guns; two nose guns in a Bolton Paul C Mk.II turret; two midships guns in a Bolton Paul C Mk.II turret; and, four tail guns in a Bolton Paul E Mk.I turret. The maximum bomb load was 13,000lbs (5,897kg). The aircraft was painted in the standard RAF Night scheme of matt Dark Green and Dark Earth on the upper surfaces and Black on all undersurfaces.

00Jun42 Accepted into RAF Service.

15Jun42 Aircraft received direct from HP by No.78 (B) Sqn at RAF Croft, Durham but immediately re-allocated.

22Jun42 Aircraft received by No.76 (B) Sqn at RAF Middleton St George, Durham. Coded MP-O

25Jun42 1st Operational Mission FSGT J.S Thomas and crew departed Middleton St George at 2332hrs with 13 other 76Sqn Halifax bombers that joined with a further 1,059 aircraft for the third ‘Thousand Force’ Bomber Command raid, this time on Bremen docks and industrial centers.

30Jun42 Aircraft flew one operational mission and made two non-operational flights in June 1942.

10Jul42 FSGT J.S Thomas with a crew of five and three groundcrew departed Middleton St George at 0404hrs and arrived Gibraltar at 1225hrs for an overnight stay. The aircraft was one of eight 76 Sqn Halifax machines detached for duty in Palestine.

11Jul42 2nd Operational Mission FSGT J.S Thomas with a crew of five and three groundcrew departed Gibraltar at 1800hrs and arrived safely at RAF Station Fayid in Egypt at 0515hrs. The aircraft refuelled and departed at 0800hrs for RAF Kasfareet, arriving 0815hrs.

12Jul42 3rd Operational Mission FSGT J.S Thomas with a crew of five and three groundcrew departed Kasfareet at 0840hrs and arrived safely at RAF Station Aqir, Palestine at 1000hrs.

15Jul42 4th Operational Mission. FSGT J.S Thomas and crew departed Aqir at 1200hrs and arrived at Shallufa landing field in Egypt 1340hrs where the aircraft was prepared for an attack on Tobruk Harbour. The crew departed Shallufa at 2230hrs and successfully bombed their assigned target then returned to Shallufa at 0425hrs. After refuelling the aircraft departed at 0820hrs and arrived back at Aqir by 0950hrs.

17Jul42 5th Operational Mission. FSGT J.S Thomas and crew departed Aqir at 1035hrs and flew to LG.224/Cairo West arriving at 1230hrs. The crew were tasked to conduct another attack on Tobruk Harbour but were forced to abort when one of the Lockheed Hydraulic pumps failed. Aircraft and crew returned to Aqir the next day.

462 sqd RAAF bases middle east

21Jul42 6th Operational Mission. FSGT J.S Thomas and crew departed Aqir at 1023hrs and flew to LG.224/Cairo West arriving at 1210hrs. The crew were tasked to conduct another attack on Tobruk Harbour and departed LG.224 at 2107hrs but were once again forced to abort when the port outer engine failed. Aircraft and crew returned to Aqir the next day.

25Jul42 7th Operational Mission. FSGT J.S Thomas and crew departed Aqir at 1037hrs and flew to LG.224/Cairo West arriving at 1240hrs. The crew departed LG.224 at 2026hrs and successfully bombed Tobruk Harbour then returned direct to Aqir, arriving at 0305hrs on the 26th.

29Jul42 8th Operational Mission. FSGT J.S Thomas and crew departed Aqir at 1003hrs and flew to LG.224/Cairo West arriving at 1224hrs. The crew departed LG.224 at 2314hrs and successfully bombed Tobruk Harbour then returned direct to Aqir, arriving at 0600hrs on the 30th.

30Jul42 Aircraft flew seven operational missions and made two non-operational flights in July 1942.

04Aug42 9th Operational Mission. FSGT H.C Granger and crew departed Aqir at 1008hrs and flew to LG.224/Cairo West arriving at 1142hrs. The crew departed LG.224 at 2310hrs and successfully bombed Tobruk Harbour and as the aircraft egressed the target area it was hit by AAA in the port wing. After assessing the situation Granger elected to return direct to Aqir, arriving at 0551hrs on the 5th.

11Aug42 RAF HQME directed 76 Squadron to move to a new operating base at RAF Station Fayid located some 116km NE of Cairo.

12Aug42 FSGT J.S Thomas and crew departed Aqir at 0930hrs along with nine other Halifax and proceeded to Fayid, Egypt arriving at 1100hrs.

10th Operational Mission. FSGT J.S Thomas and crew departed Fayid for a 40min transit flight to LG.224. The crew were then tasked to bomb the Main Quay in Tobruk Harbour and departed LG.224 at 2101bombed their assigned target and returned to Fayid at 0500hrs.

13Aug42 During the period 13-30Aug the aircraft made five more Operational Missions (11 to 15), all against Tobruk Harbour and its installations.

31Aug42 Aircraft flew seven Operation Missions and made at least four non-operational flights in August 1942

01Sep42 16th and final Operational Mission with 76qn. FSGT H.C Granger and crew departed Fayid at 2315hrs with seven other bombers for an attack on Tobruk Harbour Jetties & Shipping. The crew bombed their assigned target and returned safely to Fayid at 0607hrs.

While serving with No.76 Sqn the aircraft flew 16 Operational Missions and flew at least nine non-operational flights.

07Sep42 205 Group HQ Instruction No.17 dated 02Sep42 directed Nos10/227 and 76/462 Squadrons to amalgamate and form No.462 Squadron (RAAF) at RAF Fayid. The Halifax aircraft, personnel and equipment of Nos.10 & 76 Sqns moved to 462Sqn on this day.

09Sep42 Aircraft officially received by 462Sqn and issued to B Flt as O for Orange.

08Sep42 1st Operational Mission (462Sqn). FSGT J.S Thomas and crew departed Fayid at 2123hrs with five other aircraft detailed to attack shipping and jetties in Tobruk Harbour. Soon after take-off the pilot discovered he could not get the aircraft to climb so he headed to the nearby Great Bitter Lake and jettisoned SAFE his load of 5 x 1000lb GP bombs and 4SBCs containing Incendiary Bomblets. Landed safely Fayid at 2214hrs.

30Sep42 Aircraft flew one operational mission and made one non-operational flight

27Oct42 3rd Operational Mission PLTOFF J.S Thomas and crew departed Fayid at 2000hrs with eight other Halifaxes to attack Maleme Aerodrome, Crete. On the bomb run flak blew off the stbd outer wheel door and the surrounding area was peppered with shrapnel. Thomas completed the bomb run then returned safely to Fayid at 0402hrs.

31Oct42 Aircraft flew three Operational Missions and made one non-operational flight in October 1942.

05Nov42 7th Operational Mission FSGT A.J Clarke and crew departed Fayid at 2030hrs with 11 other Halifaxes to attack targets in the ‘Egypt Battle Area’. At 2201hrs the aircraft was cruising at 8800ft when the starboard outer engine failed. After engine shut-down and the airscrew feathered the crew elected to complete the mission on three engines. The aircraft slowly sank down to 5000ft before they bombed a road junction then returned safely to Fayid.

12Nov42 HQME ordered the Squadron to move from Fayid to a new operating base at LG.237 located 40km west of Cairo.

13Nov42 Aircraft moved from Fayid to new base at LG.237

27Nov42 HQME ordered the Squadron to move from LG.237 to a new operating base at LG.167 located 95km east of Tobruk at Bir el Baheira, Libya.

28Nov42 Aircraft departed LG.237 with 10 other Halifax for a transit flight to LG.09, 150km SW of Alexandria, Egypt.

29Nov42 Aircraft departed LG.09 with nine other Halifax for a transit flight to LG.167.

30Nov42 Aircraft flew three Operational Missions and made three non-operational flights in November 1942.

14Dec42 Aircraft departed LG.167 for a transit flight to LG.237. Upon arrival the aircraft was handed over to No.236 Wing because 462Sqn became non-operational on this day. All Sqn personnel were posted to No.22 PTC to await transport back to the UK.

01Jan43 Aircraft sent for major servicing then placed into reserve storage following maintenance.

02Apr43 Received for use with 462Sqn at Gardabia Main airfield located approximately 460km SE of Tripoli, Libya.

28Apr43 Early in April the 462Sqn CO Wing Commander P.B Warner requested permission from RAF HQME to remove the nose and mid-upper turrets. Removal of the turrets would have a significant effect regarding engine loads and manpower requirements. HQME approved the request and all of the Squadron’s aircraft had the turrets removed in the following weeks.

30Apr43 Aircraft flew one operational mission and made one non-operational flight in April 1943.

22May43 One of 19 Halifax aircraft that departed Gardabia Main to a new operating base at Hosc Raui airfield located approximately 8km south of Benghazi, Libya.

halifax-hosc-raui-libya-1943-462sqdRAAF.jpg

Hosc Raui, Cyrenaica, Libya. 25 October 1943. On a desert airfield, ground crew of No. 462 Squadron RAAF refuel one of the Halifax aircraft for the night's work. Huge Handley-Page Halifax bomber aircraft based in the Middle East, are pounding the enemy nightly in heavy raids on Greece and the Dodecanese Islands. Rhodes the largest of these islands, has received many visits from these giant aircraft. Night photographs taken during these raids show the accuracy of their bombing. Aerodromes, harbours and communications suffered heavily when the Halifaxes fly through the night skies to deliver their tremendous blows on enemy bases north of the Mediterranean.

31May43 FSGT W.J Spencer and crew departed Hosc Raui at 1926hrs with five other Halifax aircraft to attack oil facilities near Augusta, Sicily. After take-off the port undercarriage would not retract despite multiple attempts to recycle the system. The pilot aborted the mission, jettisoned the bombs out to sea and landed back at Base.

hosc raui

Aircraft flew three operational missions and made one non-operational flight in May 1943.

20Jun43 Aircraft withdrawn from operation to undergo planned maintenance.

16Jul43 FSGT J.E Thiaville and crew flew a successful post maintenance test flight

17Jul43 FSGT J.E Thiaville and five crewmen departed Hosc Raui at 1954hrs with four other Halifax bombers to attack Railway Facilities at Reggio Di Calabria, Italy. The aircraft bombed the target at 0106hrs and turned for home when it was hit by accurate heavy AAA in the oil tanks and coolers of both port engines. At 0110hrs both engines failed and the aircraft began rapidly losing height. An SOS was sent and all extra weight was thrown overboard to lighten the load. However, as the aircraft continued losing height the Captain called for crash positions then made an excellent ditching at 0135hrs in position 35° 45'N 10°10'E. The aircraft broke in half just behind the stern spar and all crewmen climbed into the main dinghy which had successfully deployed. The six crewmen spent the next nine days adrift until they were rescued off the southern coast of Sicily on 26th July by the RN Escort Destroyer HMS Beaufort.

The crew of W1161 was:

RCAF pilot Flight Sergeant J.E Thiaville

RAFVR Flight Engineer Sergeant H Jackson

RAFVR Observer Sergeant R.P Cookson

RAFVR Bomb Aimer Pilot Officer H.J Hartley

RAFVR Wireless Air Gunner Sergeant M.E Parker

RAFVR Air Gunner Sergeant E.A Peet

00Jul43 Aircraft struck off charge. While serving with 462Sqn RAAF the aircraft flew 14 Operational Missions and made at least nine non-operational flights. Additionally, the aircraft flew 16 Operational Missions and made at least nine non-operational flights while serving with 76 Sqn RAF, giving a total of 30 operational missions and at least 18 non-operational flights.

W1176

00Jun42 Handley Page Type HP59 Halifax B.MK II bomber W1176 was manufactured under license to Contract B982938/39 by the English Electric Co Ltd at their Salmsebury airfield factory in Preston, Lancashire UK. The aircraft was the 36th of 50 aircraft built in the Serial Range W1141 to W1190.

Powered by four 27-litre liquid-cooled V-12 piston Rolls Royce Merlin XX aero engines each developing 1,390 hp (1,036 kW) driving a combination of three-bladed Rotol R7/35/54 and R7/35/55 fully feathering wooden propellers.

Defensive armament consisted of eight .303 inch Browning machine guns; two nose guns in a Bolton Paul C Mk.II turret; two midships guns in a Bolton Paul C Mk.II turret; and, four tail guns in a Bolton Paul E Mk.I turret. The maximum bomb load was 13,000lbs (5,897kg). The aircraft was painted in the standard RAF Night scheme of matt Dark Green and Dark Earth on the upper surfaces and Black on all undersurfaces.

00Jun42 Accepted into RAF Service.

25Jun42 Aircraft received direct from Handley Page by No.10 (B) Sqn at RAF Leeming, North Yorkshire

30Jun42 Aircraft flew no operational missions and made two non-operational flights in June 1942.

05Jul42 PLTOFF J.C Murray with a crew of five and three groundcrew departed Leeming for a transit flight to Gibraltar where they remained overnight. The aircraft was one of seven 10 Sqn Halifax machines detached for duty RAF Station Aqir in Palestine.

06Jul42 1st Operational Mission. PLTOFF J.C Murray with a crew of five and three groundcrew departed Gibraltar for a flight to RAF Station Fayid in Egypt. The aircraft refuelled then departed for RAF Kasfareet.

08Jul42 PLTOFF J.C Murray with a crew of five and three groundcrew departed Kasfareet and arrived safely at RAF Station Aqir, Palestine.

12Jul42 2nd Operational Mission. PLTOFF J.C Murray and crew flew from Aqir to RAF Fayid where the aircraft was prepared for an attack against Tobruk harbour installations. The aircraft departed Fayid at 2243hrs and successfully bombed their target before returning direct to Aqir at 0612hrs on the 13th.

18Jul42 3rd Operational Mission. SGT De Clerk and crew flew from Aqir to LG.224/Cairo West where the aircraft was prepared for an attack against Tobruk harbour installations. The aircraft departed LG.224 at 2236hrs and successfully bombed their target before returning to LG.224 at 0532hrs on the 13th.

20Jul42 4th Operational Mission. PLTOFF J.C Murray and crew departed LG.224 at 2326hrs to attack shipping and port installations in Tobruk harbour. The crew successfully bombed their target before returning direct to Aqir at 0659hrs on the 21st.

Halifax W1176 returning from a Tobruk raid c. July 1942

Halifax W1176 returning from a Tobruk raid c. July 1942

22Jul42 5th Operational Mission. PLTOFF J.C Murray and crew flew from Aqir to LG.224 where the aircraft was prepared for an attack against Tobruk harbour installations. The aircraft departed LG.224 at 2343hrs and successfully bombed their target before returning direct to Aqir at 0620hrs on the 23rd.

24Jul42 6th Operational Mission. WOFF Peterson and crew flew from Aqir to LG.224 where the aircraft was prepared for an attack against Tobruk harbour installations. The aircraft departed LG.224 at 2126hrs and successfully bombed their target before returning direct to Aqir at 0410hrs on the 25th.

28Jul42 7th Operational Mission. PLTOFF J.C Murray and crew flew from Aqir to LG.224 where the aircraft was prepared for an attack against Tobruk harbour installations. The aircraft departed LG.224 at 2234hrs and successfully bombed their target before returning direct to Aqir at 0626hrs on the 29th.

30Jul42 8th Operational Mission. PLTOFF Kenny and crew flew from Aqir to LG.224 where the aircraft was prepared for an attack against Tobruk harbour installations. The aircraft departed LG.224 at 2300hrs and successfully bombed their target before returning direct to Aqir at 0650hrs on the 31st.

30Jul42 Aircraft flew eight operational missions and made at least two non-operational flights in July 1942

09Aug42 HQME directed the Squadron to move to a new operating base at RAF Fayid, Egypt.

12Aug42 PLTOFF J.C Murray and crew flew the aircraft to the new operating base at RAF Fayid.

15Aug42 10th Operational Mission. PLTOFF J.C Murray and crew departed Fayid at 2000hrs to attack shipping in Tobruk. At 2100hrs the radio failed followed soon after by serious electrical faults. Pilot aborted the mission and heeded back for Base after jettisoning the bomb load.

17Aug42 11th Operational Mission. FLGOFF J.C Murray and crew departed Fayid at 2020hrs to attack shipping in Tobruk. On the bomb run in the port outer engine failed but the crew pressed on and bombed the target before returning to Fayid.

31Aug42 Aircraft flew eight operational missions and made at least two non-operational flights in August 1942

05Sep42 19th Operational Mission. FLTSGT M.D Gribben and crew departed Fayid at 1605hrs along with three other Halifax bombers and joined a further four Halifax aircraft from 10/227Sqn to attack dispersed aircraft on the German held airfield at Heraklion, Crete. The aircraft sustained moderate flak damage and was unsuccessfully attacked by a Me.109 after dropping its bombs.

07Sep42 205 Group HQ Instruction No.17 dated 02Sep42 directed Nos10/227 and 76/462 Squadrons to amalgamate and form No.462 Squadron (RAAF) at RAF Fayid. The Halifax aircraft, personnel and equipment of Nos.10 & 76 Sqns were allocated to 462Sqn on this day.

Aircraft struck off charge and allocated to No.462Sqn. While serving with 10Sqn RAF the aircraft flew thr19 operational missions and made at least four non-operational flights

09Sep42 Aircraft officially received by 462Sqn and issued to B Flt as Z for Zebra.

Halifax-W1176-bombing -up-egypt-1942-462sqdRAAF.jpg

W1176 ‘Z’ bombing up at Fayid, Egypt. Circa September 1942.

29Sep42FLTLT J.C Murray and crew departed Fayid at 2119hrs to attack Tobruk harbour. One minute after take-off at 50ft the port outer lost all power and, as the pilot clawed for altitude the port inner failed at 150ft. FLTLT Murray successfully crash landed in the desert five miles NW of Fayid. Crew walked back to base. Aircraft was assessed as Cat.E/FB.

The crew was:

RAFVR Pilot FLTLT J.C Murray

RAFVR Observer 137331 FSGT R Jenkyn DFC and Bar

RAFVR Wireless Air Gunner SGT. B Bevan

RAFVR Air Gunner SGT E M Cottrell

RAFVR Air Gunner SGT R Walton

RAFVR Flight Engineer SGT S Oakford

06Oct42 Aircraft struck off charge and was recovered by an RAF RSU for conversion to spares. While serving with 462Sqn RAAF the aircraft flew six operational missions. While flying with 10Sqn RAF the aircraft flew 19 operational missions and at least four non-operational flights, giving a total of 25 operational missions and at least four non-operational flights.

W1183

00Jun42 Handley Page Type HP59 Halifax B.MK II bomber W1183 was manufactured under license to Contract B982938/39 by the English Electric Co Ltd at their Salmsebury airfield factory in Preston, Lancashire UK. The aircraft was the 43rd of 50 aircraft built in the Serial Range W1141 to W1190.

Powered by four 27-litre liquid-cooled V-12 piston Rolls Royce Merlin XX aero engines each developing 1,390 hp (1,036 kW) driving a combination of three-bladed Rotol R7/35/54 and R7/35/55 fully feathering wooden propellers.

Defensive armament consisted of eight .303 inch Browning machine guns; two nose guns in a Bolton Paul C Mk.II turret; two midships guns in a Bolton Paul C Mk.II turret; and, four tail guns in a Bolton Paul E Mk.I turret. The maximum bomb load was 13,000lbs (5,897kg). The aircraft was painted in the standard RAF Night scheme of matt Dark Green and Dark Earth on the upper surfaces and Black on all undersurfaces.

00Jun42 Accepted into RAF Service.

28Jun42 Aircraft received direct from HP by No.77 (B) Sqn at RAF Elvington but was immediately re-allocated.

29Jun42 Aircraft received by No.76 (B) Sqn at RAF Middleton St George, Durham. Coded MP-M.

14Jul42 SQNLDR P.G.B Warner with a crew of five and three groundcrew departed Middleton St George at 0355hrs and arrived Gibraltar at 1225hrs for an overnight stay. The aircraft was one of eight 76 Sqn Halifax machines detached for duty to RAF Station Aqir in Palestine.

15Jul42 1st Operational Mission SQNLDR P.G.B Warner with a crew of five and three groundcrew departed Gibraltar at 1545hrs and arrived safely at RAF Station Kabrit in Egypt at 0330hrs. The aircraft refuelled and departed at 1200hrs for RAF Kasfareet, arriving 1215hrs.

16Jul42 2nd Operational Mission SQNLDR P.G.B Warner with a crew of five and three groundcrew departed Kasfareet at1500hrs and arrived safely at RAF Station Aqir, Palestine at 1625hrs.

19Jul42 3rd Operational Mission. SQNLDR P.G.B Warner and crew departed Aqir at 1057hrs and flew to LG.224/Cairo West arriving at 1250hrs. The crew departed LG.224 at 2230hrs and successfully bombed Tobruk Harbour then returned direct to Aqir, arriving at 0545hrs on the 20th.

25Jul42 4th Operational Mission. SQNLDR P.G.B Warner and crew departed Aqir at 1020hrs and flew to LG.224/Cairo West arriving at 1210hrs. The crew was tasked to attack Tobruk harbour but was forced to abort on rake-off when the engines overheated.

29July 5th Operational Mission. SQNLDR P.G.B Warner and crew departed Aqir at 0945hrs and flew to LG.224/Cairo West arriving at 1155hrs. The crew departed LG.224 at 2318hrs and successfully bombed petrol installations at Tobruk Harbour then returned direct to Aqir, arriving at 0616hrs on the 30th.

31Jul42 6th Operational Mission. FLGOFF W.R Kofoed and crew departed Aqir at 1012hrs and flew to LG.224/Cairo West arriving at 1205hrs. The crew departed LG.224 at 2310hrs and successfully bombed a ship lying off Tobruk Harbour then returned direct to Aqir, arriving at 0616hrs on the 1st.

11Aug42 RAF HQME directed 76 Squadron to move to a new operating base at RAF Station Fayid located some 116km NE of Cairo.

12Aug42 SQNLDR P.G.B Warner and crew departed Aqir at 0910hrs along with nine other Halifax and proceeded to the new operating base at RAF Fayid, Egypt arriving at 1030hrs.

17Aug42 11th Operational Mission. PLTOFF K.D Clack and crew departed Fayid with five other Halifax bombers to attack shipping on Tobruk harbour. Immediately after take-off a fuel line burst so the captain jettisoned the bomb load five miles west of Fayid and landed back at Base.

31Aug42 Aircraft flew eight operational missions and made two non-operational flights in August 1942

05Sep42 14th and final Operational Mission with 76Sqn. PLTOFF K.D Clack and crew departed Fayid at 1557hrs with five other Halifax bombers to carry out a daylight attack on disperse aircraft on the German held airfield at Heraklion, Crete. Five minutes after take-off the stbd outer engine failed so the Captain aborted the mission, jettisoned the bomb load in the Great Bitter Lake and returned to Base.

07Sep42 205 Group HQ Instruction No.17 dated 02Sep42 directed Nos10/227 and 76/462 Squadrons to amalgamate and form No.462 Squadron (RAAF) at RAF Fayid. The Halifax aircraft, personnel and equipment of Nos.10 & 76 Sqns moved to 462Sqn on this day.

08Sep42 Aircraft officially received by 462Sqn and issued to B Flt as M for Mother.

13Sep42 1st Operational Mission (462Sqn). SQNLDR P.G.B Warner and crew departed Fayid at 2210hrs along with 13 other aircraft to attack AA positions in and around Tobruk. The crew successfully bombed a battery position of 24 guns and destroyed and/or silenced 22. On the return journey the Captain returned at low altitude along the main coastal highway and strafed numerous vehicles.

30Sep42 Aircraft flew four operational missions and made one non-operational flight in September 1942.

10Oct42 7th Operational Mission (462Sqn). SQNLDR P.G.B Warner and crew departed Fayid at 1912hrs with four other Halifax bombers for an attack on dispersed German aircraft at Maleme aerodrome, Crete. Over the target the aircraft was hit by flak in the nose section, riddling it with splinters which severed all electrics in the fwd fuselage and put both outboard engines out of action. The bombs could not be jettisoned electrically and the crew had to wait until the bombs could be manually released at 1100ft. Warner managed to coax the port outer back to life and climb back up to 3900ft as the crossed the North African coast. The port outer failed again and Warner diverted toward Abu Sueir but the weight of the bombs in the wing cells prevented the aircraft from maintain height. Warner was forced to make a successful forced landing at 0240hrs some 17km from Dikirnes. Aircraft was Cat.E/FA.

FGT Collins W1183 462 sqd RAAF

Note: The Navigator, FLTLT F.T Collins (left) was seriously wounded when the aircraft was hit by the Flak, but continued his duties after receiving first aid treatment. For his courage and devotion Collins was awarded an immediate Distinguished Service Order.

The crew was:

RAF Pilot 84972 Squadron Leader P.G.B Warner

RAFVR Navigator Flight Lieutenant F.T Collins (left)

PA Gower W1183 462 sqd raaf

RAFVR Pilot Sergeant P.A Gower (right)

RAFVR Flight Engineer Sergeant G W Waddington

RAFVR Wireless Air Gunner Sergeant A Watson

RAFVR Air Gunner (mid upper) Sergeant R.S Mortham

RAFVR Air Gunner (tail) Sergeant R Wiltshire

00Oct42 Aircraft struck off charge. While serving with 462Sqn RAAF the aircraft flew seven Operational Missions and made at least two non-operational flights. Additionally, the aircraft flew 14 Operational Missions and made at least four non-operational flights while serving with 76 Sqn RAF, giving a total of 21 operational missions and at least eight non-operational flights.

W7655

00Mar42 Handley Page Type HP59 Halifax B.MK II bomber W7655 was manufactured to Contract B73328/40 by Handley Page Ltd at their Cricklewood facility in London. At Cricklewood the various aircraft components and sections were built then transported to Radlett Aerodrome for assembly and flight testing. The aircraft was the 6th of 30 aircraft built in the Serial Range W7650 to W7679.

Powered by four 27-litre liquid-cooled V-12 piston Rolls Royce Merlin XX aero engines each developing 1,390 hp (1,036 kW) driving a combination of three-bladed Rotol R7/35/54 and R7/35/55 fully feathering wooden propellers.

Defensive armament consisted of eight .303 inch Browning machine guns; two nose guns in a Bolton Paul C Mk.II turret; two midships guns in a Bolton Paul C Mk.II turret; and, four tail guns in a Bolton Paul E Mk.I turret. The maximum bomb load was 13,000lbs (5,897kg). The aircraft was painted in the standard RAF Night scheme of matt Dark Green and Dark Earth on the upper surfaces and Black on all undersurfaces.

00Apr42 Accepted into RAF Service.

08Apr42 Aircraft received direct from Handley Page by No.76 (B) Sqn at RAF Middleton St George, Durham. Coded MP-C for Charlie.

29Apr42 FLTLTM.W Renaut and crew flew a successful 45min acceptance air test.

30Apr42 Aircraft flew no operational missions but made two non-operational flights in April 1942.

03May42 1st Operational Mission. FLTLT M.W Renaut and crew departed Middleton St George at 2303hrs with six other Halifax bombers and joined up with another 74 bombers for an attack on Hamburg. The crew completed the mission and returned safely to Base at 0507hrs.

05May42 2nd Operational Mission. FLTLT M.W Renaut and crew departed Middleton St George at 2158hrs with five other Halifax bombers and joined up with another 71 bombers for an attack on Stuttgart docks. At 2350hrs the port outer engine failed so the captain aborted the mission, jettisoned the bomb load and returned to Base at 0145hrs.

22May42 Aircraft sustained Cat.A/C damage during a heavy landing following a local test flight.

30May42 4th Operational Mission. PLTOFF Perry and crew departed Middleton St George at 2330hrs with 20 other Halifax bombers and joined up with another 1,027 bombers for the first Thousand Bomber Raid on Cologne. After bombing the target the aircraft was struck by heavy AA but managed to return to Base at 0503hrs. Damage was assessed as Cat.A and easily repaired at Base.

31May42 Aircraft flew four operational missions and made at least four non-operational flights in May 1942.

01Jun42 5th Operational Mission. PLTOFF Perry and crew departed Middleton St George at 2247hrs with 21 other Halifax bombers and joined up with another 956 bombers for the second Thousand Bomber Raid, target was the Krupps Munitions Works in Essen. Aircraft sustained slight damage from flak. Damage was assessed as Cat.A and easily repaired at Base.

25Jun42 8th Operational Mission. PLTOFF G.W Raymond and crew departed Middleton St George at 2259hrs with 13 other Halifax bombers and joined up with another 1,054 bombers for the third Thousand Bomber Raid, target was an area attack in central Bremen. At 0130hrs the port outer inner developed a serious glycol leak and the port inner engine began to overheat. The Captain aborted the mission and returned to Base at 0237hrs.

30Jun42 Aircraft flew eight operational missions and made at least eight non-operational flights in June 1942

10Jul42 PLTOFF G.W Raymond with a crew of five and three groundcrew departed Middleton St George at 0410hrs and arrived Gibraltar at 1340hrs for an overnight stay. The aircraft was one of seven 76 Sqn Halifax machines detached for duty to RAF Station Aqir in Palestine.

11Jul42 9th Operational Mission PLTOFF G.W Raymond with a crew of five and three groundcrew departed Gibraltar at 1700hrs and arrived safely at RAF Station Fayid in Egypt at 0515hrs. The aircraft refuelled and departed at 0620hrs for RAF Kasfareet, arriving 0635hrs.

12Jul42 10th Operational Mission PLTOFF G.W Raymond with a crew of five and three groundcrew departed Kasfareet at 0915hrs and arrived safely at RAF Station Aqir, Palestine at 1045hrs.

15Jul42 11th Operational Mission. PLTOFF G.W Raymond and crew departed Aqir at 1115hrs and arrived at Shallufa landing field in Egypt 1235hrs where the aircraft was prepared for an attack on Tobruk Harbour. The crew departed Shallufa at 2320hrs and successfully bombed their assigned target then returned to Shallufa at 0715hrs. Remained overnight then departed at 0840hrs and arrived back at Aqir by 1015hrs.

21Jul42 12th Operational Mission. PLTOFF G.W Raymond and crew departed Aqir at 1030hrs and flew to LG.224/Cairo West arriving at 1230hrs where the aircraft was prepared for an attack on Tobruk Harbour. The crew departed LG.224 at 2110hrs and successfully bombed their assigned target then flew to Lydda arriving 0445hrs. After refuelling the aircraft departed at 0550hrs and arrived back at Aqir by 0610hrs.

23Jul42 13th Operational Mission. PLTOFF G.W Raymond and crew departed Aqir at 1056hrs and flew to LG.224/Cairo West arriving at 1245hrs where the aircraft was prepared for an attack on Tobruk Harbour. The crew departed LG.224 at 2110hrs and successfully bombed their assigned target then flew to Aqir, arriving 0445hrs.

29Jul42 14th Operational Mission. PLTOFF G.W Raymond and crew departed Aqir at 0928hrs and flew to LG.224/Cairo West arriving at 1140hrs where the aircraft was prepared for an attack on Tobruk Harbour. The crew departed LG.224 at 2307hrs and successfully bombed their assigned target then flew to Aqir, arriving 0612hrs.

31Jul42 15th Operational Mission. PLTOFF G.W Raymond and crew departed Aqir at 0945hrs and flew to LG.224/Cairo West arriving at 1140hrs where the aircraft was prepared for an attack on Tobruk Harbour. The crew departed LG.224 at 2310hrs and successfully bombed their assigned target then flew to Aqir, arriving 0601hrs.

31Jul42 Aircraft flew seven operational missions and made at least eight non-operational flights in July 1942.

06Aug42 16th Operational Mission. PLTOFF G.W Raymond and crew departed Aqir at 1048hrs and flew to LG.224/Cairo West arriving at 1230hrs where the aircraft was prepared for an attack on Tobruk Harbour. The crew departed LG.224 at 2340hrs and successfully bombed their assigned target then flew to Aqir, arriving 0702hrs.

11Aug42 RAF HQME directed 76 Squadron to move to a new operating base at RAF Station Fayid located some 116km NE of Cairo.

13Aug42 PLTOFF G.W Raymond and crew departed Aqir at 1555hrs and flew to Fayid, Egypt arriving at 1720hrs.

17Aug42 17th Operational Mission. PLTOFF G.W Raymond and crew departed Fayid at 1955hrs with five other bombers for an attack on Tobruk Harbour Jetties & Shipping. The crew bombed their assigned target and returned safely to Fayid at 0248hrs.

19Aug42 18th Operational Mission. PLTOFF G.W Raymond and crew departed Fayid at 1950hrs with nine other bombers for an attack on Tobruk Harbour Jetties & Shipping. The crew bombed their assigned target and returned safely to Fayid at 0300hrs.

21Aug42 19th Operational Mission. PLTOFF G.W Raymond and crew departed Fayid at 1949hrs with seven other bombers for an attack on Tobruk Harbour Jetties & Shipping. The crew bombed their assigned target and returned safely to Fayid at 0320hrs.

25Aug42 20th and final Operational Mission with 76Sqn. PLTOFF G.W Raymond and crew departed Fayid at 2015hrs with five other bombers for an attack on Tobruk Harbour Jetties & Shipping. The crew bombed their assigned target and returned safely to Fayid at 0333hrs.

31Aug42 Aircraft flew five operational missions and made at least six non-operational flights in August 1942. While serving with 76Sqn the aircraft flew 20 operational missions and made at least 28 non-operational flights.

07Sep42 205 Group HQ Instruction No.17 dated 02Sep42 directed Nos10/227 and 76/462 Squadrons to amalgamate and form No.462 Squadron (RAAF) at RAF Fayid. The Halifax aircraft, personnel and equipment of Nos.10 & 76 Sqns moved to 462Sqn on this day.

09Sep42 Aircraft officially received by 462Sqn and issued to B Flt as C for Charlie. The aircraft was only used for training flights from September 1942 to January 1943.

12Nov42 HQME ordered the Squadron to move from Fayid to a new operating base at LG.237 located 40km west of Cairo.

13Nov42 Aircraft moved from Fayid to new base at LG.237

28Nov42 HQME ordered the Squadron to move from LG.237 to LG.167 located 95km east of Tobruk at Bir el Baheira, Libya

30Nov42 Aircraft moved from LG.237 to LG.167

12Dec42 HQME ordered the Squadron to move from LG.167 back to LG.237

14Dec42 Aircraft moved to LG.237. Upon arrival the aircraft was handed over to No.236 Wing because 462Sqn became non-operational on this day. All Sqn personnel were posted to No.22 PTC to await transport back to the UK.

17Jan43 HQME ordered the Squadron to move back to LG.167

18Jan43 Aircraft moved to LG.167

22Jan43 HQME ordered the Squadron to move to Solluch No1 Landing Ground 50km SSE of Benghazi, Libya (now Suluq, Libya)

24Jan43 Aircraft moved to Solluch

462sqd raaf bases libya

29Jan43 1st Operational Mission (462Sqn). SQNLDR R.O Buskell and crew departed Solluch at 0047hrs with five other aircraft to attack the rail ferry terminal at Messina Harbour, Sicily. The crew bombed the target and returned safely to Base at 0820hrs.

31Jan43 Aircraft flew two operational missions and made at least four non-operational flights in January 1943.

08Feb43 4th Operational Mission (462Sqn). SQNLDR R.O Buskell and crew departed Solluch at 1727hrs with five other Halifax aircraft to attack shipping in Palermo Harbour, Sicily. At 1850hrs the pilot aborted the mission because of severe icing but bombed searchlight batteries at Ragusa on the return journey.

10Feb43 HQME ordered the Squadron to move from Solluch to a new operating base at Gardabia Main (Misrata) airfield located 90km east of Tripoli, Libya.

14Feb43 Aircraft moved from Solluch to Gardabia.

22Feb43 6th Operational Mission (462Sqn). SQNLDR R.O Buskell and crew departed Gardabia at 2207hrs with seven other Halifax aircraft to attack shipping in Palermo Harbour, Sicily. At 2227hrs the primary flight instruments failed so the captain aborted the mission, jettisoned the bomb load and returned to Base. Landing without instruments at night proved extremely difficult at it came as no surprise when Buskell stalled on landing and made a very heavy touchdown. The undercarriage collapsed which created sparks that led to a fire that quickly spread. All crewmen egressed the aircraft without serious injury but the fire rapidly engulfed the aircraft and was completely destroyed.

The crew was:

Pilot SQNLDR R.O Buskell

Observer FLGOFF G.L McKenny

WAG FSGT R. Marsden

AG SGT W.P Wright

AG SGT H.J Dunne

FENG SGT H. Pearson

00Feb43 Aircraft struck off charge. While serving with 462Sqn RAAF the aircraft flew six Operational Missions and made at least 14 non-operational flights. Additionally, the aircraft flew 20 Operational Missions and made at least 28 non-operational flights while serving with 76 Sqn RAF, giving a total of 26 operational missions and at least 42 non-operational flights.

W7659

00Apr42 Handley Page Type HP59 Halifax B.MK II bomber W7659 was manufactured to Contract B73328/40 by Handley Page Ltd at their Cricklewood facility in London. At Cricklewood the various aircraft components and sections were built then transported to Radlett Aerodrome for assembly and flight testing. The aircraft was the 10th of 30 aircraft built in the Serial Range W7650 to W7679.

Powered by four 27-litre liquid-cooled V-12 piston Rolls Royce Merlin XX aero engines each developing 1,390 hp (1,036 kW) driving a combination of three-bladed Rotol R7/35/54 and R7/35/55 fully feathering wooden propellers.

Defensive armament consisted of eight .303 inch Browning machine guns; two nose guns in a Bolton Paul C Mk.II turret; two midships guns in a Bolton Paul C Mk.II turret; and, four tail guns in a Bolton Paul E Mk.I turret. The maximum bomb load was 13,000lbs (5,897kg). The aircraft was painted in the standard RAF Night scheme of matt Dark Green and Dark Earth on the upper surfaces and Black on all undersurfaces.

00Apr42 Accepted into RAF Service.

19Apr42 Aircraft received direct from Handley Page by No.10 (B) Sqn at RAF Leeming, North Yorkshire. Coded as MP-F for Freddie.

22Apr42 Acceptance test flight.

03May42 1st Operational Mission. WOFF Peterson and crew departed Leeming at 2257hrs with nine other aircraft then joined 72 aircraft of the main stream to attack Hamburg. Target bombed and returned to Base at 0519hrs.

05May42 2nd Operational Mission. WOFF O’Driscoll and crew departed Leeming at 2150hrs with nine other aircraft then joined 113 aircraft of the main stream to attack Stuttgart. At 0042hrs the pilot realised he would not be able to reach Stuttgart and return because of excessive fuel consumption. He therefore aborted the mission and headed home. At 0108hrs he saw and bombed a lighted airfield near Karlsruhe. Germany and resumed course for home. At 0450hrs the aircraft landed at RAF Laken Heath due to fuel shortage

06May42 3rd Operational Mission. WOFF Peterson and crew departed Leeming at 2149hrs with one other Halifax then joined 95 aircraft of the main stream to attack Stuttgart. At 2304hrs the Captain aborted the mission when both inner engines developed serious glycol leaks, the bomb load was jettisoned over the North Sea and the aircraft diverted to RAF Swanton Morley, Norfolk. Returned to base on 8th May.

19May42 4th Operational Mission. WOFF Peterson and crew departed Leeming at 2204hrs with eight other Halifax then joined 188 aircraft of the main stream to attack Mannheim. At 1230hrs the navigator became ill and lost consciousness so the pilot aborted and headed for home. Not long after he identified the German town of Trier near the Belgium border and dropped his bombs.

31May42 Aircraft flew five operational missions and made at least six non-operational flights in May 1942.

05Jun42 6th Operational Mission. WOFF Peterson and crew departed Leeming at 2308hrs with 13 other Halifax bombers that joined with 166 aircraft of the main stream for an attack on Essen. Bombed the target at 0116hrs then all four engines cut out causing the aircraft to lose 4,000ft before they could be restarted. At 0240hrs a Me.110 night fighter passed overhead then turned back and attacked from the rear quarter scoring several hits on the port wing and petrol tanks. The rear gunner fired a two second burst and watched tracers enter the cockpit area starboard wing. A short time later the starboard engine burst into flames and the Me.110 spiraled down out of control. Nothing further was seen of the enemy and the aircraft returned to Base.

08Jun42 7th Operational Mission. SGT Allen and crew departed Leeming at 2322hrs with eight other Halifax bombers that joined with 161 aircraft of the main stream for an attack on Essen. The aircraft did not reach the target at the required time so the pilot aborted and returned to base.

16Jun42 8th Operational Mission. WOFF Lloyd and crew departed Leeming at 2254hrs with 10 other Halifax bombers that joined with 95 aircraft of the main stream for an attack on Essen. At 2348hrs the pilot aborted when the starboard inner engine failed.

30Jun42 Aircraft flew nine operational missions and made 10 non-operational flights in June 1942

06Jul42 WOFF Lloyd with a crew of five and three groundcrew departed Leeming for a transit flight to Gibraltar where they remained overnight. The aircraft was one of seven 10 Sqn Halifax machines detached for duty RAF Station Aqir in Palestine.

07Jul42 11th Operational Mission. WOFF Lloyd with a crew of five and three groundcrew departed Gibraltar for a flight to RAF Station Fayid in Egypt. The aircraft refuelled then departed for RAF Kasfareet.

08Jul42 WOFF Lloyd with a crew of five and three groundcrew departed Kasfareet and arrived safely at RAF Station Aqir, Palestine.

26Jul42 11th Operational Mission. WOFF Lloyd and crew departed Aqir and flew to LG.224/Cairo West where the aircraft was prepared for an attack against Tobruk. The aircraft departed LG.224 at 2136hrs and successfully bombed their target before returning to LG.224 at 0303hrs on the 27th.

30Jul42 12th Operational Mission. WOFF Lloyd and crew departed LG.224/Cairo West at 2255hrs with one other aircraft for an attack against Tobruk. The aircraft successfully bombed their target before returning direct to Aqir, arriving to LG.224 at 0720hrs on the 31st.

31Jul42 Aircraft flew three operational missions and made five non-operational flights in July 1942

09Aug42 HQME directed the Squadron to move to a new operating base at RAF Fayid, Egypt.

12Aug42 SGT A.G DeClerck and crew flew the aircraft to the new operating base at RAF Fayid.

31Aug42 Aircraft flew four operational missions and made six non-operational flights in August 1942

03Sep42 14th Operational Mission. SGT A.G DeClerck and crew departed Fayid at 2255hrs with one other aircraft for an attack against Tobruk.

07Sep42 205 Group HQ Instruction No.17 dated 02Sep42 directed Nos10/227 and 76/462 Squadrons to amalgamate and form No.462 Squadron (RAAF) at RAF Fayid. The Halifax aircraft, personnel and equipment of Nos.10 & 76 Sqns were allocated to 462Sqn on this day.

Aircraft struck off charge and allocated to No.462Sqn. While serving with 10Sqn RAF the aircraft flew 14 operational missions and made at least 28 non-operational flights

15Sep42 Aircraft officially received by 462Sqn and issued to A Flt as F for Freddie.

17Sep42 1st Operational Mission. (462Sqn) SGT B.J Gibbons and crew departed Fayid at 1932hrs with nine other aircraft to bomb jetties in Tobruk. The crew bombed their assigned target and returned safely to Fayid at 0237hrs.

30Sep42 Aircraft flew two operational mission and made three non-operational flights in September 1942.

07Oct42 3rd Operational Mission. (462Sqn) SGT A.G DeClerck and crew departed Fayid at 2307hrs with six other Halifax bombers tasked to attack shipping and jetties at Suda Bay, Crete. Fifteen minutes after take-off the starboard outer engine failed so the captain jettisoned the bombs and returned to Fayid.

23Oct42 6th Operational Mission (462Sqn). SGT A.G DeClerck and crew departed Fayid at 2135hrs with one other Halifax tasked to attack dispersed German aircraft at Maleme aerodrome, Crete. The aircraft failed to return and was listed as MIA. It was later learned the aircraft had experienced severe icing and one engine failure that resulted in the aircraft ditching 20km north of Crete. The dinghy failed to operate and all the crew drowned with exception of the Flight Engineer, SGT G.F Simpson who survived by clinging to a petrol tank. Simpson was picked up by an Italian vessel and handed over to the Germans.

RAAF Pilot 402790 Sergeant Albert George DeClerck (26) of Dudley in Newcastle, New South Wales was KIA and has no known grave. He is commemorated on Column 265 of the Alamein Memorial, El Alamein War Cemetery, Egypt. He is also honoured on Panel 109 in the Commemorative Area at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, ACT; on the Honour Roll in Merewether, Newcastle.

alamein memorial

Alamein War Cemetery

RAFVR Observer 999518 Sergeant Kenneth Hughes Whitmore (22) was KIA and has no known grave. He is commemorated on Column 250 of the Alamein Memorial, El Alamein War Cemetery, Egypt.

RAFVR Wireless Air Gunner 1153580 Sergeant Leslie Walter Giles (29) of Penge, Kent UK was KIA and has no known grave. He is commemorated on Column 261 of the Alamein Memorial, El Alamein War Cemetery, Egypt.

RCAF Air Gunner R82619 Sergeant Arthur Henry Pepper (20) of Ottawa in Ontario, Canada was KIA and has no known grave. He is commemorated on Column 261 of the Alamein Memorial, El Alamein War Cemetery, Egypt. He is also honoured on Page 106 of the Canadian Second World War Book of Remembrance.

RAF Air Gunner 551714 Sergeant John Wilson Tyson (22) 0f Keswick, Cumberland was KIA and has no known grave. He is commemorated on Column 250 of the Alamein Memorial, El Alamein War Cemetery, Egypt.

Survivor:

RAFVR Flight Engineer 538225Sergeant George Frederick Simpson survived the crash and was rescued by an Italian vessel. He was handed over to the Germans who sent him to Germany where he was interrogated before being sent to Stalag Luft 4 with PoW No.903. He was later sent to Stalag 11B before going to Stalag Luft 6 in 1945.

00Oct42 Aircraft struck off charge. While serving with 462Sqn the aircraft flew six operational missions and made at least seven non-operational flights. Additionally, the aircraft flew 14 Operational Missions and made at least 28 non-operational flights while serving with 76 Sqn RAF, giving a total of 20 operational missions and at least 35 non-operational flights.

W7672

00Apr42 Handley Page Type HP59 Halifax B.MK II bomber W7672 was manufactured to Contract B73328/40 by Handley Page Ltd at their Cricklewood facility in London. At Cricklewood the various aircraft components and sections were built then transported to Radlett Aerodrome for assembly and flight testing. The aircraft was the 23rd of 30 aircraft built in the Serial Range W7650 to W7679.

Powered by four 27-litre liquid-cooled V-12 piston Rolls Royce Merlin XX aero engines each developing 1,390 hp (1,036 kW) driving a combination of three-bladed Rotol R7/35/54 and R7/35/55 fully feathering wooden propellers.

Defensive armament consisted of eight .303 inch Browning machine guns; two nose guns in a Bolton Paul C Mk.II turret; two midships guns in a Bolton Paul C Mk.II turret; and, four tail guns in a Bolton Paul E Mk.I turret. The maximum bomb load was 13,000lbs (5,897kg). The aircraft was painted in the standard RAF Night scheme of matt Dark Green and Dark Earth on the upper surfaces and Black on all undersurfaces.

08Apr42 Aircraft received by Royal Aircraft Establishment at Farnborough Airfield, Hampshire

28Apr42 Received by RAF No.48MU near Chester

02May42 Aircraft received by No.76 (B) Sqn at RAF Middleton St George, Durham. Coded MP-E for Edward.

30May42 1st Operational Mission. SQNLDR Iverson and crew departed Middleton St George at 2322hrs with 20 other Halifax bombers and joined up with another 1,027 bombers for the first Thousand Bomber Raid on Cologne. The crew completed their assignment and returned to Base at 0422hrs.

31May42 Aircraft flew one operational mission and made two non-operational flights in May 1942.

30Jun42 Aircraft flew two operational mission and made two non-operational flights in June 1942.

10Jul42 SQNLDR D. Iverson DFC with a crew of five and three groundcrew departed Middleton St George at 0400hrs and arrived Gibraltar at 1230hrs for an overnight stay. The aircraft was one of eight 76 Sqn Halifax machines detached for duty to RAF Station Aqir in Palestine.

11Jul42 2nd Operational Mission SQNLDR D. Iverson DFC with a crew of five and three groundcrew departed Gibraltar at 1645hrs and arrived safely at RAF Station Fayid in Egypt at 0450hrs. The aircraft refuelled and departed at 0700hrs for RAF Kasfareet, arriving 0710hrs.

12Jul42 3rd Operational Mission SQNLDR D. Iverson DFC with a crew of five and three groundcrew departed Kasfareet at 0915hrs and arrived safely at RAF Station Aqir, Palestine at 1005hrs.

15Jul42 4th Operational Mission SQNLDR D. Iverson DFC and crew departed Aqir at 1100hrs and arrived at Shallufa landing field in Egypt 1230hrs where the aircraft was prepared for an attack on Tobruk Harbour. The crew departed Shallufa at 2245hrs and successfully bombed their assigned target then returned to Shallufa at 0515hrs. Remained overnight then departed at 0830hrs and arrived back at Aqir by 09455hrs on the 16th.

21Jul42 5th Operational Mission SQNLDR D. Iverson DFC and crew departed Aqir at 1023hrs and flew to LG.224/Cairo West arriving at 1210hrs where the aircraft was prepared for an attack on Tobruk Harbour. The crew departed LG.224 at 2110hrs and successfully bombed their assigned target then flew back to LG.224 arriving 0245hrs where they picked up ground crew members before proceeding to Aqir.

25Jul42 6th Operational Mission SQNLDR D. Iverson DFC and crew departed Aqir at 09454hrs and flew to LG.224/Cairo West arriving at 1135hrs where the aircraft was prepared for an attack on Tobruk Harbour. The crew departed LG.224 at 2036hrs and successfully bombed their assigned target then flew back to Aqir, arriving 0316hrs on the 26th.

29Jul42 7th Operational Mission SQNLDR D. Iverson DFC and crew departed Aqir at 0942hrs and flew to LG.224/Cairo West arriving at 1125hrs where the aircraft was prepared for an attack on Shipping & Petrol Installations at Tobruk. The crew departed LG.224 at 2320hrs and successfully bombed their assigned target then flew back to Aqir, arriving 0412hrs on the 30th.

31Jul42 Aircraft flew six operational missions and made seven non-operational flights in July 1942

02Aug42 8th Operational Mission SQNLDR D. Iverson DFC and crew departed Aqir at 0955hrs for a flight to LG.224 but was forced to abort and return to Aqir at 1030hrs after the starboard inner engine failed.

11Aug42 RAF HQME directed 76 Squadron to move to a new operating base at RAF Station Fayid located some 116km NE of Cairo.

13Aug42 SQNLDR D. Iverson DFC and crew departed Aqir at 1115hrs and flew to Fayid, Egypt arriving at 17230hrs.

17Aug42 9th Operational Mission SQNLDR D. Iverson DFC and crew departed Fayid at 1946hrs with five other bombers for an attack on Tobruk Harbour Jetties & Shipping. The crew bombed their assigned target and returned safely to Fayid at 0228hrs.

19Aug42 10th Operational Mission SQNLDR D. Iverson DFC and crew departed Fayid at 1945hrs with nine other bombers for an attack on Tobruk Harbour Jetties & Shipping. The crew bombed their assigned target and returned safely to Fayid at 0200hrs.

23Aug42 11th Operational Mission SQNLDR D. Iverson DFC and crew departed Fayid at 1957hrs with seven other bombers for an attack on Tobruk Harbour Jetties & Shipping. The crew bombed their assigned target and returned safely to Fayid at 0245hrs.

28Aug42 12th Operational Mission SQNLDR D. Iverson DFC and crew departed Fayid at 2119hrs with six other bombers for an attack on Tobruk Harbour Jetties & Shipping. The crew bombed their assigned target and returned safely to Fayid at 0356hrs.

30Aug42 13th Operational Mission SQNLDR D. Iverson DFC and crew departed Fayid at 2230hrs with four other bombers for an attack on Tobruk Harbour Jetties & Shipping. The crew bombed their assigned target and returned safely to Fayid at 0525hrs.

31Aug42 Aircraft flew six operational missions and made eight non-operational flights in August 1942

01Sep42 14th Operational Mission SQNLDR D. Iverson DFC and crew departed Fayid at 2324hrs with seven other bombers for an attack on Tobruk Harbour Jetties & Shipping. The crew bombed their assigned target and returned safely to Fayid at 0645hrs.

03Sep42 15th Operational Mission SQNLDR D. Iverson DFC and crew departed Fayid at 2325hrs with six other bombers for an attack on Tobruk Harbour Jetties & Shipping. The crew bombed their assigned target and returned safely to Fayid at 0630hrs.

05Sep42 16th Operational Mission SQNLDR D. Iverson DFC and crew departed Fayid at 1550hrs with four other bombers for an attack on dispersed aircraft at Heraklion Aerodrome, Crete. The crew bombed their assigned target and returned safely to Fayid at 2225hrs.

07Sep42 205 Group HQ Instruction No.17 dated 02Sep42 directed Nos10/227 and 76/462 Squadrons to amalgamate and form No.462 Squadron (RAAF) at RAF Fayid. The Halifax aircraft, personnel and equipment of Nos.10 & 76 Sqns moved to 462Sqn on this day.

While serving with 76Sqn the aircraft flew 16 operational missions and made at least 19 non-operational flights

09Sep42 Aircraft officially received by 462Sqn and issued to A Flt as E for Easy.

29Sep42 WOFF D.W O’Driscoll with Flight Engineer SGT J. Ellyatt and three passengers departed Fayid at 1251hrs for a pre-mission test flight. Soon after take-off the port outer began surging so the captain decided to cut the engine but as he throttled back the port wing dropped and the aircraft became uncontrollable. Realising he could not turn back to Base, maintain height or climb O’Driscoll made a wheels up landing four kilometres from the base but the aircraft caught fire soon after touchdown. The crew and passengers all successfully egressed the burning aeroplane which was soon destroyed in the conflagration. O’Driscoll broke his left leg jumping from the aircraft and was later admitted to the 19th British General Hospital at Alexandria, but the remaining occupants escaped with minor injuries.

Aircraft crew were:

Pilot Warrant Officer D W O’Driscoll

Flight Engineer Sergeant John Ellyatt

Aircraft passengers were:

2nd Lieutenant Ferguson

Corporal A Gardiner

Aircraftsman 2 H Byrne

RAF Flight Engineer 51911 John Ellyatt (27) of West Hartlepool Co. Durham was shot down on 10Jun44 over the French town of Laval and KIA. He is buried in grave No.42943 in Sub-Sec D Row of the Laval (Valfleury) Communal Cemetery, France.

laval vommunal cemetery

Laval Communal Cemetery, France

30Sep42 Aircraft flew eight operational missions and made 10 non-operational flights in September 1942

06Oct42 Aircraft struck off charge. While serving with 462Sqn the aircraft flew eight operational missions and made at least 10 non-operational flights. Additionally, the aircraft flew 16 Operational Missions and made at least 19 non-operational flights while serving with 76 Sqn RAF, giving a total of 18 operational missions and at least 29 non-operational flights.

W7702

00May42 Handley Page Type HP59 Halifax B.MK II bomber W7702 was manufactured to Contract B73328/40 by Handley Page Ltd at their Cricklewood facility in London. At Cricklewood the various aircraft components and sections were built then transported to Radlett Aerodrome for assembly and flight testing. The aircraft was the 8th of 26 aircraft built in the Serial Range W7695 to W7720.

Powered by four 27-litre liquid-cooled V-12 piston Rolls Royce Merlin XX aero engines each developing 1,390 hp (1,036 kW) driving a combination of three-bladed Rotol R7/35/54 and R7/35/55 fully feathering wooden propellers.

Defensive armament consisted of eight .303 inch Browning machine guns; two nose guns in a Bolton Paul C Mk.II turret; two midships guns in a Bolton Paul C Mk.II turret; and, four tail guns in a Bolton Paul E Mk.I turret. The maximum bomb load was 13,000lbs (5,897kg). The aircraft was painted in the standard RAF Night scheme of matt Dark Green and Dark Earth on the upper surfaces and Black on all undersurfaces.

14May42 Aircraft delivered to No.45 Maintenance Unit at RAF Kinloss, Scotland for acceptance checks.

30May42 Aircraft delivered to No.76 (B) Sqn RAF at RAF Middleton St George, Durham. Coded MP-L

thomas cathcart traill

08Jun42 1st Operational Mission. FLTLT M.W Renaut and crew departed Leeming at 2307hrs with eight other Halifax bombers that joined with 161 aircraft of the main stream for an attack on Essen. The crew successfully bombed the target area and returned to Leeming at 0454hrs. Of note for this mission is the fact the Station Commander, Group Captain T.C Traill (left), flew this mission as the bomb aimer. Traill eventually retired from the RAF in 1954 as Air Vice Marshal Thomas Cathcart Traill, CB, OBE, DFC.

25Jun42 2nd Operational Mission. FLTLT M.W Renaut and crew departed Middleton St George at 2257hrs with 13 other 76Sqn Halifax bombers and joined with a further 1,059 aircraft for the third ‘Thousand Force’ Bomber Command raid, this time on Bremen docks and industrial centers. Renaut was one of eight Captains selected to carry a mixture of bombs and flares to mark various targets 30min before the main stream bombers arrived.

Arriving over the target area the crew found cloud cover of 8/10-10/10 at 3000 to 5000ft that obscured the target. Renaut therefore dived down to 2500ft, visually acquired his target and released his bomb load before making a rich mixture climb back to the safety of the clouds. During the three minutes of exposure during the bomb run the aircraft was repeatedly hit by small calibre AAA but fortunately caused no serious damage. Returned safely to Leeming at 0505hrs. The following day damage was assessed as Cat.A and took five days to repair.

30Jun42 Aircraft flew two operational missions and made three non-operational flights in June 1942.

14Jul42 FLTLT M.W Renaut with a crew of five and three groundcrew departed Middleton St George at 0401hrs and arrived Gibraltar at 1246hrs for an overnight stay. The aircraft was one of eight 76 Sqn Halifax machines detached for duty to RAF Station Aqir in Palestine.

15Jul42 3rd Operational Mission FLTLT M.W Renaut with a crew of five and three groundcrew departed Gibraltar at 1545hrs and arrived safely at RAF Station Kabrit in Egypt at 0345hrs. The aircraft refuelled and departed at 1200hrs for RAF Kasfareet, arriving 1215hrs.

16Jul42 4th Operational Mission FLTLT M.W Renaut with a crew of five and three groundcrew departed Kasfareet at1600hrs and arrived safely at RAF Station Aqir, Palestine at 1740hrs.

25Jul42 5th Operational Mission. FLTLT M.W Renaut and crew departed Aqir at 1031hrs and flew to LG.224/Cairo West arriving at 1212hrs. The crew departed LG.224 at 2038hrs with seven other aircraft to attack shipping and docks in Tobruk harbour. On the bomb run flak splinters pierced the bomb aiming panel and PLTOFF F.G Collins sustained facial and eye injuries. The crew completed the mission and retuned to LG.224 where Collins received treatment while the aircraft returned to Aqir.

27Jul42 6th Operational Mission. FSGT H.A Brown and crew departed Aqir at 1054hrs and flew to LG.224/Cairo West arriving at 1257hrs. The crew departed LG.224 at 2022hrs with three other aircraft to attack shipping and docks in Tobruk harbour. After bombing the target the aircraft returned direct to Aqir, arriving 0326hrs on the 28th.

31Jul42 7th Operational Mission. FSGT H.A Brown and crew departed Aqir at 2319hrs and flew to LG.224/Cairo West arriving at 0625hrs on 1st Aug. The crew departed LG.224 at 2310hrs with four other aircraft to attack shipping and docks in Tobruk harbour. After bombing the target the aircraft returned direct to Aqir, arriving 0601hrs on 2nd Aug.

31Jul42 Aircraft flew five operational mission and made at least seven non-operational flights in July 1942

02Aug42 8th Operational Mission. FSGT J.S Thomas and crew departed Aqir at 1025hrs and flew to LG.224/Cairo West arriving at 1210hrs. The crew departed LG.224 at 2327hrs with four other aircraft to attack shipping and docks in Tobruk harbour. The aircraft was struck on the nose by AA fire which caused minor damage. After bombing the target the aircraft returned to LG.224 to refuel then proceed to Aqir, arriving 0916hrs on the 3rd.

04Aug42 9th Operational Mission. FSGT H.D Alcock and crew departed Aqir at 1123hrs and flew to LG.224/Cairo West arriving at 1405hrs. The crew departed LG.224 at 2327hrs with six other aircraft to attack shipping and docks in Tobruk harbour. After bombing the target the aircraft returned direct to Aqir, arriving 0601hrs on 5th Aug.

10Aug42 10th Operational Mission. FLGOFF V.D Knox and crew departed Aqir at 0931hrs and flew to LG.224/Cairo West arriving at 1115hrs. The crew departed LG.224 at 2342hrs with four other aircraft to attack shipping and docks in Tobruk harbour. After bombing the target the aircraft returned direct to Aqir, arriving 0650hrs on 11th Aug.

11Aug42 RAF HQME directed 76 Squadron to move to a new operating base at RAF Station Fayid located some 116km NE of Cairo.

12Aug42 FLTLT M.W Renaut and crew departed Aqir at 1135hrs and flew to Fayid, Egypt arriving at 1250hrs.

13Aug42 11th Operational Mission. FLTLT M.W Renaut and crew departed Fayid at 1430hrs and flew to LG.224 arriving 1535hrs. The crew departed LG.224 at 2327hrs with two other aircraft to attack shipping and docks in Tobruk harbour. After bombing the target the aircraft returned to Fayid arriving 0527hrs on 14th Aug.

15Aug42 12th Operational Mission. FLTLT M.W Renaut and crew departed Fayid at 1947hrs with six other aircraft tasked to bomb shipping and docks in Tobruk harbour. At 2105hrs oil pressure on starboard outer engine fell to zero so the captain feathered the engine, jettisoned the bombs and headed home. At 0005hrs the port inner engine failed just before reaching base but a safe landing was made at Fayid on the remaining two engines.

25Aug42 13th Operational Mission. FLTLT M.W Renaut and crew departed Fayid at 2021hrs with nine other aircraft tasked to bomb shipping and docks in Tobruk harbour. After bombing the target the aircraft returned to Fayid arriving 0330hrs on 26th Aug.

31Aug42 Aircraft flew six operational missions and made at least seven non-operational flights in August 1942

01Sep42 14th Operational Mission. FLTLT J. Bryan and crew departed Fayid at 2305hrs with seven other aircraft tasked to bomb shipping and docks in Tobruk harbour. At 0045hrs the Captain aborted owing to high oil temperature and low oil pressure in the port inner engine. Engine feathered and a safe return made to base.

05Sep42 15th and final Operational Mission with 76Sqn. FLTLT M.W Renaut and crew departed Fayid at 1552hrs with four other aircraft tasked to attack Heraklion aerodrome in Crete. After bombing the target the aircraft returned to Fayid arriving 2300hrs.

07Sep42 205 Group HQ Instruction No.17 dated 02Sep42 directed Nos10/227 and 76/462 Squadrons to amalgamate and form No.462 Squadron (RAAF) at RAF Fayid. The Halifax aircraft, personnel and equipment of Nos.10 & 76 Sqns moved to 462Sqn on this day.

While serving with 76Sqn the aircraft flew 15 operational missions and made at least 20 non-operational flights

09Sep42 Aircraft officially received by 462Sqn and issued to B Flt as L for Love.

08Sep42 1st Operational Mission (462Sqn). FSGT H.D Alcock and crew departed Fayid at 2110hrs with five other aircraft tasked to bomb shipping and docks in Tobruk harbour. On the bombing run the aircraft sustained minor damage from AA fire but completed the mission and returned safely to Fayid at 0410hrs on 9th Sep.

tobruk harbour

Tobruk Harbour

15Sep42 4th Operational Mission (462Sqn). SGT B.J Gibbons and crew departed Fayid at 1939hrs with nine other aircraft tasked to bomb shipping at Tobruk. At 2014hrs the starboard inner engine failed so the captain aborted and returned to Fayid at 2255hrs.

30Sep42 Aircraft flew six operational missions and made seven non-operational flights in September 1942.

05Oct42 5th Operational Mission (462Sqn). SGT F.J Wyatt and crew departed Fayid at 1940hrs with seven other Halifaxes to attack Tobruk docks. At 2118hrs the stbd outer engine developed problems and was feathered at 2122hrs. The bombs were jettisoned into the sea and the aircraft returned to Fayid on three engines.

19Oct42 6th Operational Mission (462Sqn). SGT A.G DeClerck and crew departed Fayid at 2115hrs with five other Halifaxes to attack Tobruk docks. At 2351hrs the stbd outer stopped and was feathered. The pilot set course for Base and enroute decided to bomb Sollum Harbour, one of the approved secondary targets. An attempt was made to bomb Sollum from 9000ft but only one bomb dropped. The remaining five bombs were manually jettisoned on the way back to Fayid.

31Oct42 Aircraft flew four operational missions and made four non-operational flights in October 1942.

12Nov42 HQME ordered the Squadron to move from Fayid to a new operating base at LG.237 located 40km west of Cairo.

13Nov42 Aircraft moved from Fayid to new base at LG.237

27Nov42 HQME ordered the Squadron to move from LG.237 to a new operating base at LG.167 located 95km east of Tobruk at Bir el Baheira, Libya.

28Nov42 Aircraft departed LG.237 with 10 other Halifax for a transit flight to LG.09, 150km SW of Alexandria, Egypt.

29Nov42 Aircraft departed LG.09 with nine other Halifax for a transit flight to LG.167.

14Dec42 Aircraft departed LG.167 for a transit flight to LG.237. Upon arrival the aircraft was handed over to No.236 Wing because 462Sqn became non-operational on this day. All Sqn personnel were posted to No.22 PTC to await transport back to the UK.

01Jan43 Aircraft sent for major servicing then placed into reserve storage following maintenance.

00Feb43 Received for use with 462Sqn at Solluch No1 Landing Ground 50km SSE of Benghazi, Libya

10Feb43 Movement orders issued for an advanced party to move to the Squadron’s new operating base at Gardabia Main (Misurata) airfield located 90km east of Tripoli, Libya.

14Feb43 Aircraft moved from Solluch to Gardabia Main.

28Feb43 Aircraft flew one operational mission and made two non-operational flights in February 1943.

24Mar43 20th Operational Mission (462Sqn). WOFF W.J Dalton and crew departed Gardabia at 1255hrs with nine other Halifax aircraft to attack troops and MT near El Hamma. The aircraft was hit by heavy AAA over the target causing damage to the port outer engine and wing. The captain diverted to Castel Benito aerodrome on the return leg where the aircraft remained overnight.

31Mar43 Aircraft flew seven operational mission and made eight non-operational flights in March 1943.

11Apr43 21st Operational Mission (462Sqn). FLGOFF H.L Baker and crew departed Gardabia at 1816hrs with two other Halifax aircraft to attack dispersed aircraft at Saint Marie du Zit West LG 50km south of Tunis. At 1837hrs the starboard inner engine failed so the captain aborted the mission, jettisoned the bomb load and returned to Base.

00Apr43 Aircraft sent to 61RSU at RAF Fayid to have all four engines serviced and/or changed. A request from 462 Sqn CO to have the front and mid-upper turrets removed was approved by RAF HQME. Accordingly, the turrets were removed sometime in late April/early May at 61RSU.

30Apr43 Aircraft flew one operational mission and made three non-operational flights in April 1943.

06May43 22nd Operational Mission (462Sqn). PLTOFF Earl and crew departed Gardabia at 2222hrs with nine other Halifax aircraft to attack troop concentrations the retreating Africa Korps on roads between Birzerta and Tunis. While searching for targets the aircraft was struck by a violent electrical storm that caused the port outer engine to fail resulting in a rapid loss of height. The only way the pilot could regain control was to jettison the bomb load then abort the mission and return to Base.

22May43 One of 19 Halifax aircraft that departed Gardabia Main to a new operating base at Hosc Raui airfield located approximately 8km south of Benghazi, Libya.

31May43 Aircraft flew three operational missions and made four non-operational flights in May 1943.

07Jun43 25th Operational Mission (462Sqn). FLTLT W.C.S Craig and crew departed Hosc Raui at 2011hrs with seven other Halifax aircraft to attack the Ferry Terminal and dockyards at Messina, Sicily. At 2041hrs the pilot aborted the mission because the aircraft would not climb at full maximum power. Bombs were jettisoned at sea and the aircraft returned safely to Base.

ferry terminal messina

Ferry Terminal Messina, Sicily

17Jun43 Aircraft withdrawn from operations and sent to an MU for a major servicing.

00Dec43 Aircraft returned to 462Sqn now based at Terria LG, Libya.

26Dec43 27th Operational Mission (462Sqn). SGT H.G Tattersall and crew departed Terria at 2115hrs with seven other Halifax bombers for an attack on Piraeus Harbour, Greece. The captain aborted the mission when the aircraft ran into extreme weather conditions.

28Dec43 HQME ordered the Squadron to move from Terria LG to a new operating base at LG.144 near El Adem located 38km south of Tobruk, Libya.

31Dec43 Aircraft flew one operational mission and made two non-operational flights in December 1943.

01Jan44 Aircraft moved from Terria to El Adem

15Jan44 31st Operational Mission (462Sqn). FSGT K.A Potts and crew departed El Adem at 2245hrs with six other Halifax bombers for an attack on Piraeus Harbour, Greece. At 2355hrs the aircraft experienced severe icing and extreme weather so the captain aborted the mission, jettisoned the bombs and returned to base. The aircraft crashed on landing and was written off.

RAAF Pilot 412683 Flight Sergeant Kenneth Alan Potts (23) of Bondi in Sydney, New South Wales survived the crash with minor bruising and shock. He survived the war and discharged from the RAAF as a Warrant Officer on 14 January 1945 at RAF Station El Gidida.

RAAF Air Gunner 420776 Flight Sergeant Kenneth Brandon Perkins (22) of Kogarah in Sydney, New South Wales survived the crash with minor bruising and shock. He survived the war and discharged from the RAAF as a Warrant Officer on 30 January 1946.

RAFVR Wireless Air Gunner 1576825 Sergeant Samuel Henry Radburn survived the crash with minor bruising and shock.

RAFVR Air Gunner Sergeant D.J Ives survived the crash with minor bruising and shock.

RAFVR Bombadier Sergeant H.S Litchfield survived the crash with minor bruising and shock.

RAFVR Navigator Sergeant W.A Griffiths sustained non-lethal injuries

31Jan44 Aircraft flew four operational mission and made five non-operational flights in January 1944.

01Mar44 Aircraft struck off charge. While serving with 462Sqn the aircraft flew 31 Operational Missions and made at least 36 non-operational flights. Additionally, the aircraft flew 15 Operational Missions and made at least 20 non-operational flights while serving with 76 Sqn RAF, giving a total of 46 operational missions and at least 56 non-operational flights.

W7758

00Jun42 Handley Page Type HP59 Halifax B.MK II bomber W7758 was manufactured to Contract B73328/40 by Handley Page Ltd at their Cricklewood facility in London. At Cricklewood the various aircraft components and sections were built then transported to Radlett Aerodrome for assembly and flight testing. The aircraft was the 14th of 40 aircraft built in the Serial Range W7745 to W7784.

Powered by four 27-litre liquid-cooled V-12 piston Rolls Royce Merlin XX aero engines each developing 1,390 hp (1,036 kW) driving a combination of three-bladed Rotol R7/35/54 and R7/35/55 fully feathering wooden propellers.

Defensive armament consisted of eight .303 inch Browning machine guns; two nose guns in a Bolton Paul C Mk.II turret; two midships guns in a Bolton Paul C Mk.II turret; and, four tail guns in a Bolton Paul E Mk.I turret. The maximum bomb load was 13,000lbs (5,897kg). The aircraft was painted in the standard RAF Night scheme of matt Dark Green and Dark Earth on the upper surfaces and Black on all undersurfaces.

00Jun42 Accepted into RAF Service.

23Jun42 Aircraft received direct from Handley Page by No.10 (B) Sqn at RAF Leeming, North Yorkshire. Coded as MP-Y for Yankee.

25Jun42 Acceptance test flight.

05Jul42 FSGT M.D Gribben with a crew of five and three groundcrew departed Leeming for a transit flight to Gibraltar where they remained overnight. The aircraft was one of seven 10 Sqn Halifax machines detached for duty RAF Station Aqir in Palestine.

06Jul42 1st Operational Mission. FSGT M.D Gribben with a crew of five and three groundcrew departed Gibraltar for a flight to RAF Station Fayid in Egypt. The aircraft refuelled then departed for RAF Kasfareet.

08Jul42 FSGT M.D Gribben with a crew of five and three groundcrew departed Kasfareet and arrived safely at RAF Station Aqir, Palestine.

13Ju42 2nd Operational Mission. FSGT M.D Gribben and crew departed Aqir and flew to Shallufa where the aircraft was prepared for an attack against shipping in Tobruk harbour. The aircraft departed Shallufa at 2239hrs and successfully bombed their target before returning to Shallufa at 0612hrs on the 14th.

20Jul42 3rd Operational Mission. FSGT M.D Gribben and crew departed Aqir and flew to LG.224/Cairo West where the aircraft was prepared for an attack against Tobruk harbour installations. The aircraft departed LG.224 at 2339hrs with six other aircraft and successfully bombed their target before returning to Aqir at 0645hrs on the 21st.

22Jul42 4th Operational Mission. PLTOFF Kenny and crew departed Aqir and flew to LG.224/Cairo West where the aircraft was prepared for an attack against Tobruk harbour installations. The aircraft departed LG.224 at 2057hrs with five other aircraft and successfully bombed their target before returning to Aqir at 0455hrs on the 23rd.

28Jul42 5th Operational Mission. SGT F.J Wyatt and crew departed Aqir and flew to LG.224/Cairo West where the aircraft was prepared for an attack against Tobruk harbour installations. The aircraft departed LG.224 at 2243hrs with five other aircraft and successfully bombed their target before returning to Aqir at 0336hrs on the 29th.

30Jul42 Aircraft flew five operational missions and made at least six non-operational flights in July 1942

01Aug42 SGT A. DeClerck and crew departed Aqir at 1355hrs and flew to LG.224/Cairo West arriving 1555hrs where the aircraft was prepared for an attack against Tobruk harbour installations however, the aircraft failed to depart LG.224 because of fuel issues. The crew remained at LG.224 overnight.

02Aug42 6th Operational Mission. SGT A. DeClerck and crew departed LG224 at 2346hrs and successfully bombed their target before returning to Aqir at 0645hrs on the 3rd.

05Aug42 7th Operational Mission. PLTOFF Kenny and crew departed Aqir at 1015hrs and flew to LG.224/Cairo West, arriving 1155hrs where the aircraft was prepared for an attack against Tobruk harbour installations. The aircraft departed LG.224 at 2335hrs with four other aircraft and successfully bombed their target before returning to Aqir at 0735hrs on the 6th.

07Aug42 8th Operational Mission. FLGOFF J.C Murray and crew departed Aqir at 1025hrs and flew to LG.224/Cairo West, arriving 1205hrs where the aircraft was prepared for an attack against Tobruk harbour installations. The aircraft departed LG.224 at 2256hrs with four other aircraft and successfully bombed their target before returning to Aqir at 0602hrs on the 8th.

09Aug42 HQME directed the Squadron to move to a new operating base at RAF Fayid, Egypt.

10Aug42 9th Operational Mission. PLTOFF J. Kenny and crew departed Aqir at 1005hrs and flew to LG.224/Cairo West, arriving 1145hrs where the aircraft was prepared for an attack against Tobruk harbour installations. The aircraft departed LG.224 at 2339hrs with one other aircraft but did not reach the target because the port inner engine began to overheat so the pilot aborted and headed for Aqir. At 0455hrs the pilot saw lights ahead in an unrestricted ocean area and bombed the lights. The tail gunner reported a bright flash followed by smoke and flames. Arrived Aqir at 0630hrs on the 11th.

12Aug42 PLTOFF J. Kenny and crew flew the aircraft to the new operating base at RAF Fayid.

19Aug42 10th Operational Mission. PLTOFF J. Kenny and crew departed Fayid at 2000hrs with four other aircraft to attack shipping and docks in Tobruk harbour. The crew successfully bombed their target before returning to Fayid at 0306hrs on the 20th.

21Aug42 11th Operational Mission. FSGT E.F Allen and crew departed Fayid at 2000hrs with four other aircraft to attack shipping and docks in Tobruk harbour. The crew successfully bombed their target before returning to Fayid at 0238hrs on the 22nd.

23Aug42 12th Operational Mission. PLTOFF J.C Murray and crew departed Fayid at 2000hrs with four other aircraft to attack shipping and docks in Tobruk harbour. At 2201hrs the starboard inner engine failed and the Captain aborted the mission. A short time later the pilot observed vehicle lights on the coastal highway and promptly dropped the bomb load on the target. The aircraft safely reached Fayid on three engines, landing at 0030hrs.

28Aug42 13th Operational Mission. PLTOFF J.C Murray and crew departed Fayid at 2120hrs with three other aircraft to attack shipping and docks in Tobruk harbour. . The crew successfully bombed their target before returning to Fayid at 0410hrs on the 29th.

31Aug42 Aircraft flew eight operational missions and made at least 10 non-operational flights in August 1942

05Sep42 14th and final Operational Mission with 10Sqn. PLTOFF J. Kenny and crew departed Fayid at 1601hrs with four other aircraft to attack dispersed aircraft at Heraklion Aerodrome, Crete. At 1742hrs the starboard inner engine failed and the captain jettisoned the bomb load and returned to Base at 1900hrs.

07Sep42 205 Group HQ Instruction No.17 dated 02Sep42 directed Nos10/227 and 76/462 Squadrons to amalgamate and form No.462 Squadron (RAAF) at RAF Fayid. The Halifax aircraft, personnel and equipment of Nos.10 & 76 Sqns moved to 462Sqn on this day.

While serving with 10Sqn the aircraft flew 14 operational missions and made at least 21 non-operational flights

09Sep42 Aircraft officially received by 462Sqn and issued to B Flt as N for Nuts.

25Sep42 1st Operational Mission (462Sqn). SGT F.J Wyatt and crew departed Fayid at 2044hrs with eight other aircraft to attack shipping and docks in Tobruk harbour. . The crew successfully bombed their target despite being hit by flak in the port wing and fuselage before returning to Fayid at 0403hrs.

30Sep42 Aircraft flew one (462Sqn) operational mission and two non-operational flights in September 1942.

31Oct42 Aircraft flew five operational mission and made seven non-operational flights in October 1942.

12Nov42 HQME ordered the Squadron to move from Fayid to a new operating base at LG.237 located 40km west of Cairo.

13Nov42 Aircraft moved from Fayid to new base at LG.237

27Nov42 HQME ordered the Squadron to move from LG.237 to a new operating base at LG.167 located 95km east of Tobruk at Bir el Baheira, Libya.

28Nov42 Aircraft departed LG.237 with 10 other Halifax for a transit flight to LG.09, 150km SW of Alexandria, Egypt.

29Nov42 Aircraft departed LG.09 with nine other Halifax for a transit flight to LG.167.

30Nov42 Aircraft flew 10 operational mission and made at least 11 non-operational flights in November 1942.

14Dec42 Aircraft departed LG.167 for a transit flight to LG.237. Upon arrival the aircraft was handed over to No.236 Wing because 462Sqn became non-operational on this day. All Sqn personnel were posted to No.22 PTC to await transport back to the UK.

31Dec42 Aircraft flew no operational mission and made one non-operational flights in December 1942.

01Jan43 Aircraft sent for major servicing then placed into reserve storage following maintenance.

17Jan43 HQME ordered the Squadron to move back to LG.167

18Jan43 Aircraft moved to LG.167

22Jan43 HQME ordered the Squadron to move to Solluch No1 Landing Ground 50km SSE of Benghazi, Libya

24Jan43 Aircraft moved to Solluch

31Jan43 Aircraft flew no operational mission and made two non-operational flights in January 1943.

10Feb43 Movement orders issued for an advanced party to move to the Squadron’s new operating base at Gardabia Main (Misurata) airfield located 90km east of Tripoli, Libya.

14Feb43 12 Aircraft departed Solluch at 1100hrs and arrived 1605hrs at Gardabia Main, Libya

W1151/B W1170/U W1172/Q W7655/C W7664/T W7756/K

W7758/N W7826/M W7847/F DT497/E DT501/J DT504/Y

23Feb43 20th Operational Mission (462Sqn). WNGCDR P.G Warner and crew were about to depart Gardabia at 2220hrs when the starter magneto failed, mission aborted.

28Feb43 Aircraft flew eight operational missions and made ten non-operational flights in February 1943.

21Mar43 25th Operational Mission (462Sqn). PLTOFF E.P Landon and crew departed Gardabia at 2045hrs with 10 other Halifax aircraft to attack targets in the Mareth area of Tunisia. At 2113hrs the starboard inner engine failed so the captain aborted the mission, jettisoned the bomb load and returned to Base.

31Mar43 Aircraft flew three operational missions and at least three non-operational flights in February 1943.

00Apr43 Aircraft sent to 61RSU at RAF Fayid to have all four engines serviced and/or changed. A request from 462 Sqn CO to have the front and mid-upper turrets removed was approved by RAF HQME. Accordingly, the turrets were removed sometime in late April/early May at 61RSU.

30Apr43 Aircraft flew no operational missions and made one non-operational flight in April 1943.

20May43 Sqn directed to move to new operating base at Hosc Raui LG located 15km south of Benghazi, Libya

22May43 One of 19 Halifax aircraft that moved to new base at Hosc Raui LG.

31May43 Aircraft flew four operational missions and at least five non-operational flights in May 1943.

04Jun43 29th Operational Mission (462Sqn). FLGOFF H.L Baker and crew departed Hosc Raui at 0430hrs with five other Halifax aircraft to attack shipping and docks at Catania Harbour, Sicily. At 0505hrs the port outer failed so the pilot aborted the mission, jettisoned the bombs out to sea and returned to Base.

12Jun43 Aircraft withdrawn from operations to undergo scheduled maintenance for three weeks.

30Jun43 Aircraft flew one operational mission and at least one non-operational flight in June 1943.

14Jul43 35th Operational Mission (462Sqn). WNGCDR P.G.B Warner and crew departed Hosc Raui at 2000hrs with six other Halifax aircraft to attack the Passenger Railway Station at Messina, Italy. The aircraft was proceeding normally at 10000ft about 20km off Cape Spartivento when at approximately 2315hrs a number of heavy detonations were heard and felt in the port wing. The whole port wing and engines quickly became a mass of flames and the pilot gave the abandon ship order to which the flight engineer, SGT E. Loomes, and the rear gunner PLTOFF R. Parson immediately responded and baled out. Meanwhile the remaining crewmen were standing around the nose escape hatch but only the Bombadier, SGT Ainsley, is known to have baled out.

SGT Loomes saw the aircraft falling and eventually explode on hitting the water before he started swimming toward the Sicilian coast and was picked up off Catania by the RN Destroyer HMS Nubian. SGT Ainsley had no memory of the crash or parachute decent because he hit his chin on the escape hatch coaming which knocked him out for a brief period. Fortunately for him he regained consciousness in time to unbuckle his parachute and inflate his Mae West after dropping into the ocean. Approximately one hour later he was rescued by RN Gunboat 662. The remainder of the crewmen were not recovered and they were eventually posted as KIA.

RAFVR pilot 84972 Wing Commander Percy George Batty Warner DSO (24) of Notting Hill in London, England was KIA and has no known grave. He is commemorated on Column 267 of the Alamein Memorial, El Alamein War Cemetery, Egypt. He is also honoured in the World War Remembrance Book at the King Edward VI School in Southampton. At the time of his death he was the Commanding Officer of No.462Sqn RAAF.

RAFVR observer 116532 Flying Officer Stanley James Elphick (30) of Forest Hill in London, England was KIA and has no known grave. He is commemorated on Column 268 of the Alamein Memorial, El Alamein War Cemetery, Egypt. He is also remembered on the Institute of Actuaries Memorial Plaque at Staple Inn Hall, London.

alamein war cemetery

Alamein War Cemetery

RAFVR wireless air gunner 1289545 Sergeant Robert Davies Copley (23) of South Harrow in Middlesex, England was KIA and has no known grave. He is commemorated on Column 270 of the Alamein Memorial, El Alamein War Cemetery, Egypt.

roy edward parsons W7758 462sqd RAAF

RAFVR air gunner (tail) 129972 Flying Officer Roy Edward Parsons DFM (28) (right) of Southwick in Sussex, England was KIA and has no known grave. He is commemorated on Column 268 of the Alamein Memorial, El Alamein War Cemetery, Egypt.

Aircraft Survivors:

charles robert borden ainley W7758 462 sqd RAAF

RAFVR Bombadier 1451753 Sergeant Charles Robert Borden Ainley (22) (left) of Doncaster in Yorkshire, England survived the ordeal and was rescued by a Royal Navy destroyer.

He returned to active duty and survived another Halifax crash (BB321) on 27/28 September 1943. He is known to have survived the war.

RAFVR Flight Engineer Sergeant E Loomes survived the ordeal and was rescued by a Royal Navy destroyer. He returned to active duty but nothing further has been found on his history.



W7848

00Sep42 Handley Page Type HP59 Halifax B.MK II bomber W7848 was manufactured to Contract B73328/40 by Handley Page Ltd at their Cricklewood facility in London. At Cricklewood the various aircraft components and sections were built then transported to Radlett Aerodrome for assembly and flight testing. The aircraft was the 5th of 44 aircraft built in the Serial Range W7844 to W7887

Powered by four 27-litre liquid-cooled V-12 piston Rolls Royce Merlin XX aero engines each developing 1,390 hp (1,036 kW) driving a combination of three-bladed Rotol R7/35/54 and R7/35/55 fully feathering wooden propellers.

Defensive armament consisted of eight .303 inch Browning machine guns; two nose guns in a Bolton Paul C Mk.II turret; two midships guns in a Bolton Paul C Mk.II turret; and, four tail guns in a Bolton Paul E Mk.I turret. The maximum bomb load was 13,000lbs (5,897kg). The aircraft was painted in the standard RAF Night scheme of matt Dark Green and Dark Earth on the upper surfaces and Black on all undersurfaces.

08Sep42 Aircraft delivered to No.18 Maintenance Unit at RAF Dumfries for acceptance checks.

10Oct42 Received by No.1 Overseas Aircraft Preparation Unit at RAF Kemble.

21Nov42 Received by No.1 Overseas Aircraft Despatch Unit at RAF Portreath.

22Nov42 Despatched for ferry flight to RAF Middle East

23Nov42 Arrived Egypt

00Jan43 Allocated to No.462Sqn RAAF at LG.237, 40km west of Cairo.

12Jan43 Aircraft delivered to 462Sqn at LG.237 where it was taken on charge with B Flt as Y for Yankee.

17Jan43 HQME ordered the Sqn to move to LG.167 located 95km east of Tobruk at Bir el Baheira, Libya.

18Jan43 Aircraft moved to LG.167

24Jan18 Squadron moved to Solluch No1 Landing Ground 50km SSE of Benghazi, Libya

31Jan43 Aircraft flew no operational missions and made four non-operational flights in January 1943.

03Feb43 1st Operational Mission. FLGOFF F.A Birmingham and crew departed Solluch at 1908hrs with six other Halifax aircraft to attack shipping in Palermo Harbour, Sicily. Approaching the target area a night fighter was detected and for the next 90min the pilot flew evasive tactics until the night fighter eventually disengaged. By this time the aircraft was too far away from the target so the bombs were jettisoned and the aircraft returned to Base.

05Feb43 2nd Operational Mission. SQNLDR D.A Fordham and crew departed Solluch at 1735hrs with eight other Halifax aircraft to attack shipping in Palermo Harbour, Sicily. The crew could not find the target and with fuel running low, jettisoned the bomb load and set course for Base. The wireless operator could not obtain a QDM until 0110hrs which showed the aircraft was off course and in high terrain so the pilot began to turn away but soon thereafter at 0115hrs crashed into high ground 15km south of Barce. The aircraft was a total wreck but all crewmembers survived the crash but all sustained injuries.

RAF pilot 39976 Squadron Leader Douglas Anthony Fordham DFC

RAFVR Flight Engineer Sergeant E Loomes

RAFVR Wireless Air Gunner Sergeant Rich

RAFVR Air Gunner (mid-upper) PLTOFF R E Parsons

RAFVR Air Gunner (tail) Sergeant Tucker

RAFVR navigator/bomb aimer 121921 Flying Officer Ronald Moorhouse (33) of Leeds, Yorkshire survived the crash but later succumbed to his injuries in hospital. He is buried in Grave 24, Row D of Plot 7 at the Benghazi War Cemetery, Libya.

benghazi war cemetery

Benghazi War Cemetery

BB321

00Feb43 Handley Page Type HP59 Halifax B Mk II bomber Serial BB321 was manufactured under license to Contract B124357/40 by the London Aircraft Production Group (a subsidiary of the London Passenger Transport Board) at various locations throughout London. The aircraft was the 22nd of 45 aircraft built in the Serial Range BB300 to BB344.

Powered by four 27-litre liquid-cooled V-12 piston Rolls Royce Merlin XX aero engines each developing 1,390 hp (1,036 kW) driving a combination of three-bladed Rotol R7/35/54 and R7/35/55 fully feathering wooden propellers.

Defensive armament consisted of eight .303 inch Browning machine guns; two nose guns in a Bolton Paul C Mk.II turret; two midships guns in a Bolton Paul C Mk.II turret; and, four tail guns in a Bolton Paul E Mk.I turret. The maximum bomb load was 13,000lbs (5,897kg). The aircraft was painted in the standard RAF Night scheme of matt Dark Green and Dark Earth on the upper surfaces and Black on all undersurfaces.

Boulton Paul C Turret

Boulton Paul C Turret

22Feb43 Aircraft delivered to No.18 Maintenance Unit at RAF Dumfries for acceptance checks.

04Mar43 Received by No.1 Overseas Aircraft Preparation Unit at RAF Kemble.

00Mar43 Aircraft allocated to No.462Sqn in Egypt.

05Apr43 Received by No.301 Ferry Unit at RAF Portreath.

14Apr43 Aircraft despatched to the Middle East Command (MAC)

15Apr43 Aircraft arrived in the Middle East and delivered direct to 462Sqn at Gardabia Main airfield in Libya. The aircraft was taken on charge and issued to A Flight.

00Apr43 A request from the 462 Sqn CO to have the front and mid-upper turrets removed was approved by RAF HQME. Accordingly, the two turrets were removed sometime in late April/early May at 61RSU.

30Apr43 Aircraft flew no operational missions and made two non-operational flights in April 1943

06May43 1st Operational Mission. FLTLT Craig and crew were taxying out to take-off for an attack on road convoys near Tunis. The oil pressure gauge on the port inner engine failed plus the intercom became intermittent so the captain aborted the mission.

20May43 Sqn directed to move to new operating base at Hosc Raui LG located 15km south of Benghazi, Libya

22May43 One of 19 Halifaxes that moved from Gardabia to Hosc Raui

31May43 Aircraft flew three operational flights and made four non-operational flights in May 1943.

12Jun43 7th Operational Mission. FLGOFF McIntosh and crew were tasked to attack Catania aerodrome on Sicily but were forced to abort before take-off because of engine problems.

17Jun43 8th Operational Mission. FLGOFF MacIntosh and crew departed Hosc Raui at 2033hrs with seven other Halifax aircraft to attack the hangars and workshops at Comiso Aerodrome, Sicily. Fifteen minutes after take-off the starboard outer failed so the pilot aborted the mission, jettisoned the bombs out to sea and returned to Base.

22Jun43 10th Operational Mission. FLGOFF McIntosh and crew departed Hosc Raui at 2315hrs with five other aircraft to attack Comiso aerodrome, Sicily. At 0125hrs the captain aborted when the oxygen supply system failed and the Navigator became violently ill.

30Jun43 Aircraft flew eight operational flights and made nine non-operational flights in June 1943.

00Jul43 Aircraft withdrawn from operations and sent away for prolonged maintenance.

31Jul43 Aircraft flew two operational flights and made three non-operational flights in July 1943.

30Aug43 Aircraft did not make any flights in August 1943

00Sep43 Aircraft returned from maintenance.

26Sep43 Post maintenance test flight

27Sep43 14th Operational Mission. FLGOFF Robert Hilary Vivian Thomas and crew departed Hosc Raui at 2000hrs loaded with 150 flares with one other similarly loaded Halifax to act as flare droppers for an attack on Larissa Aerodrome, Greece by eight other Squadron aircraft. At 2220hrs the port inner engine failed so the captain aborted and returned to base still with flares aboard. The following extract recounts what happened next in some detail: ‘Upon reaching the Hosc Raui base they made a left hand circuit of the landing ground and began to make their landing. Flying Officer Vivian Thomas recorded in his pilot’s log book and it is known from the accident report card for BB321 that the undercarriage collapsed on landing. The reasons for making such a heavy landing are not known, perhaps there were hydraulic issues or the undercarriage was not locked securely. Perhaps Vivian miss judged their height and landed sooner than expected. The landing ground was in total darkness and that close to the ground the aircraft’s altimeter would not have been accurate. It may have been the extra weight on board as still carrying their flares that meant the aircraft did not perform as expected. The reason will never be known now and was probably a result of multiple factors. It is known however from the accident report card that the accident was attributed to pilot’s error of judgement.

BB321 broke up when she hit the ground as was common to the Halifax and the saviour of many a crewman. Sergeant Don Monroe their wireless operator years later recalled “We landed with the thing and it crashed and the plane split. We all had to get out.” Don and other members of the crew scrambled out of the stricken Halifax, he would comment later “It was pitch black where we landed on our little strip. You thought you had a long way to go when you’re off the wing, but it was on the ground, so you hurt yourself more jumping off this, little ways than you did in the crash”. Sgt Don C Munroe would rescue Vivian Thomas and the rear gunner Charlie Weston from the stricken Halifax before all the crew ran away from it seconds before it exploded.

The only official injury during the crash was the rear gunner sustained minor cuts but it is known that Vivian was knocked out and John too sustained a head injury.

Other crew: F/O E G Page (Observer/Navigator), Sgt C R B Ainley (Bomb Aimer), Sgt J H Thomas (FE)

28Sep43 Aircraft struck off charge. While serving with 462Sqn the aircraft flew 14 operational missions and flew at least 21 non-operational flights.

BB325

00Feb43 Handley Page Type HP59 Halifax B Mk II bomber Serial BB325 was manufactured under license to Contract B124357/40 by the London Aircraft Production Group (a subsidiary of the London Passenger Transport Board) at various locations throughout London. The aircraft was the 26th of 45 aircraft built in the Serial Range BB300 to BB344.

Powered by four 27-litre liquid-cooled V-12 piston Rolls Royce Merlin XX aero engines each developing 1,390 hp (1,036 kW) driving a combination of three-bladed Rotol R7/35/54 and R7/35/55 fully feathering wooden propellers.

Defensive armament consisted of eight .303 inch Browning machine guns; two nose guns in a Bolton Paul C Mk.II turret; two midships guns in a Bolton Paul C Mk.II turret; and, four tail guns in a Bolton Paul E Mk.I turret. The maximum bomb load was 13,000lbs (5,897kg). The aircraft was painted in the standard RAF Night scheme of matt Dark Green and Dark Earth on the upper surfaces and Black on all undersurfaces.

24Feb43 Aircraft delivered to No.18 Maintenance Unit at RAF Dumfries for acceptance checks.

08Mar43 Received by No.1 Overseas Aircraft Preparation Unit at RAF Kemble.

00Mar43 Aircraft allocated to No.462Sqn in Egypt.

29Mar43 Received by No.301 Ferry Unit at RAF Portreath.

08Apr43 Aircraft despatched to the Middle East Command (MAC)

09Apr43 Aircraft arrived in the Middle East and delivered direct to 462Sqn at Gardabia Main airfield in Libya. The aircraft was taken on charge and issued to A Flight.

18Apr43 1st Operational Flight. SQNLDR R.O Buskell and crew departed Gardabia at 0023hrs with three other aircraft to attack dispersed enemy aircraft at Crétéville Satellite LG 22km SE of Tunis. The crew successfully bombed the target and returned to Base at 0622hrs.

20Apr43 The aircraft was allocated for the night’s mission and during the afternoon it was being bombed up on the airfield. The CO, Wing Commander Warner was heading out to inspect the aircraft when an explosion occurred which started the aircraft burning. The CO ran to the aircraft and pulled a seriously injured airmen away from the scene just a series of explosions rent the air as bombs detonated one by one. Fragments of aircraft and bombs were being violently thrown in all directions and many personnel were struck down.

The area was immediately put out of bounds and a roll call of all Sections was taken that revealed that 14 airmen were missing, Of the 14 missing men, 12 were killed and two seriously injured. The following afternoon all 12 deceased were buried in the Misurata Cemetery. At a later date all the remains were exhumed and reinterred in the Tripoli War Cemetery, Libya.

RAFVR Armourer B 1112942 Corporal George Thomas Atkinson (34) of South Shields in County. Durham, England was killed in the explosion. He is buried in Collective Grave 5 in B.5-11 of the Tripoli War Cemetery, Libya.

tripoli war cemetery

Tripoli War Cemetery

RAFVR Armourer B 1551256 Leading Aircraftsman Thomas Boan (20) of Catrine in Ayrshire, Scotland was killed in the explosion. He is buried in Collective Grave 5 in B.5-11 of the Tripoli War Cemetery, Libya.

RAFVR Electrician II 1557703 Aircraftsman I Victor Courtney (22) of Liverpool, England was killed in the explosion. He is buried in Grave 5-E-5 of the Tripoli War Cemetery, Libya.

RAFVR Armourer B 1204592 Leading Aircraftsman Henry Dyne (38) was killed in the explosion. He is buried in Collective Grave 5 in B.5-11 of the Tripoli War Cemetery, Libya.

RAFVR Instrument Repairer 1140019 Leading Aircraftsman Cyril Grove (22) of Cleveleys, Lancashire England was killed in the explosion. He is buried in Collective Grave 5 in B.5-11 of the Tripoli War Cemetery, Libya.

RAF Fitter Armourer 577769 Leading Aircraftsman Edwin Roland Lister (21) Cheltenham, Gloucestershire was killed in the explosion. He is buried in Collective Grave 5 in B.5-11 of the Tripoli War Cemetery, Libya.

RAF Fitter Armourer 525479 Sergeant William Henry Mason (25) was killed in the explosion. He is buried in Grave 5-B-3 of the Tripoli War Cemetery, Libya.

RAFVR Fitter Armourer 1299118 Leading Aircraftsman Truman Joseph Merricks (18) of Hockley. Birmingham was killed in the explosion. He is buried in Collective Grave 5 in B.5-11 of the Tripoli War Cemetery, Libya.

RAFVR Armourer G 994763 Leading Aircraftsman John Scott (27) of Wolvercote, Oxford was killed in the explosion. He is buried in Collective Grave 5 in B.5-11 of the Tripoli War Cemetery, Libya.

RAFVR Mechanic Airframe 1279389 Leading Aircraftsman Peter Thomas Robert Spry (35) of Westminster, London was killed in the explosion. He is buried in Collective Grave 5 in B.5-11 of the Tripoli War Cemetery, Libya.

RAFVR Armourer B 1551979 Leading Aircraftsman Robert Gray Thompson was killed in the explosion. He is buried in Collective Grave 5 in B.5-11 of the Tripoli War Cemetery, Libya.

RAF Gunner 1352287 Leading Aircraftsman Joseph Roy Watts (22) of Porthcawl, Glamorgan was killed in the explosion. He is buried in Collective Grave 5 in B.5-11 of the Tripoli War Cemetery, Libya.

BB333

00Mar43 Handley Page Type HP59 Halifax B Mk II bomber Serial BB333 was manufactured under license to Contract B124357/40 by the London Aircraft Production Group (a subsidiary of the London Passenger Transport Board) at various locations throughout London. The aircraft was the 34th of 45 aircraft built in the Serial Range BB300 to BB344

Powered by four 27-litre liquid-cooled V-12 piston Rolls Royce Merlin XX aero engines each developing 1,390 hp (1,036 kW) driving a combination of three-bladed Rotol R7/35/54 and R7/35/55 fully feathering wooden propellers.

Defensive armament consisted of eight .303 inch Browning machine guns; two nose guns in a Bolton Paul C Mk.II turret; two midships guns in a Bolton Paul C Mk.II turret; and, four tail guns in a Bolton Paul E Mk.I turret. The maximum bomb load was 13,000lbs (5,897kg). The aircraft was painted in the standard RAF Night scheme of matt Dark Green and Dark Earth on the upper surfaces and Black on all undersurfaces.

26Mar43 Aircraft delivered for acceptance checks to No.18 Maintenance Unit at RAF Dumfries.

00Mar43 Aircraft allocated to No.462Sqn in Egypt.

02Apr43 Received by No.1 Overseas Aircraft Preparation Unit at RAF Kemble.

22Apr43 Received by No.301 Ferry Unit at RAF Portreath.

00May43 Aircraft despatched to the Middle East Command (MAC)

19May43 Arrived at Middle East Command

00May43 Delivered to No.462Sqn at Hosc Raui LG located 15km south of Benghazi, Libya where the aircraft was taken on squadron strength and issued to A Flight as J for Johnny

04Jun43 1st Operational Mission. SQNLDR R.O Buskell and crew departed Hosc Raui at 0100hrs with five other aircraft to attack Catania Harbour area, Sicily. The crew successfully bombed the target and returned to Base at 0700hrs.

30Jun43 Aircraft flew nine operational missions and made at least eleven non-operational flights in June 1943.

31July43 Aircraft flew 11 operational missions and made at least 12 non-operational flights in July 1943.

14Aug43 24th Operational Mission. FLTLT W.C.E Craig and crew departed Hosc Raui at 1944hrs with four other aircraft to attack Railway Sidings at San Giovani, Italy. Thirty minutes after take -off the pilot aborted owing to engine problems. Returned safely to Base a5 2045hrs.

18Aug43 25th Operational Mission. FLTLT W.C.E Craig and crew were tasked to bomb Marshalling Yards at Orotone, Italy with five other Halifax bombers. However during start-up port outer engine radiator failed do the pilot aborted the mission.

31Aug43 Aircraft flew eight operational missions and made ten non-operational flights in August 1943.

01Sep43 Aircraft flown to No.101MU, Cairo to have a defective fuel tank replaced.

16Sep43 Aircraft returned operations.

22Sep43 25th Operational Mission. FLTLT W.C.E Craig and crew departed Hosc Raui at 0147hrs with five other aircraft to attack Calato airfield on Rhodes Island. When the gunners were performing their normal after take-off tests the fuse for the rear turret blew every time the gunner tried to rotate the turret. Despite several fuse changes the problem could not be rectified so the Captain aborted the mission, jettisoned the bomb load and returned to Base at 0520hrs.

29Sep43 A Movement Order directed all Sqn personnel except the Air Party to move to Tripoli by 02Oct. The move was placed on hold after everything had been packed on vehicles and for the next two days the squadron slept and ate by and under their vehicles and aircraft. On the morning of 08Oct43 new orders arrived to move to Terria LG some 7km distant.

30Sep43 Aircraft flew three operational missions and made four non-operational flights in September 1943.

01Oct43 Aircraft moved from Hosc Raui LG to new base at Terria LG located some 15km south of Benghazi.

12Oct43 30th Operational Mission. FSGT K.E.M Marsh and crew departed Terria at 2344hrs with four other aircraft to attack Maritza Aerodrome, Rhodes. After take-off the pilot made one circuit of the airfield perhaps investigating a problem. The aircraft was then observed to lose height rapidly before crashing approximately two miles WNW of Terria LG. The bombs exploded on impact killing all aboard and destroying the aircraft.

RAFVR pilot 1386008 FSGT Kenneth Ernest Mark Marsh (23) of Charlton, London was KIA. He is buried in Plot 6 Row E Grave 13 of the Benghazi War Cemetery, Libya.

RNZAF Observer 421941 FSGT Mitchell Ridland (35) of Hokitika, Westland New Zealand was KIA. He is buried in Plot 6 Row E Grave 4 of the Benghazi War Cemetery, Libya.

benghazi war cemetery

Benghazi War Cemetery

RAFVR Bombardier 1575088 SGT Ian William Colvin (21) of Moseley, Birmingham UK was KIA. He is buried in Plot 6 Row E Grave 12 of the Benghazi War Cemetery, Libya.

RAFVR Flight engineer 1800355 SGT Edward James Stickland (20) of Hassocks, Sussex UK was KIA. He is buried in Plot 6 Row E Grave 14 of the Benghazi War Cemetery, Libya.

RAFVR Air Gunner 1016325 SGT Thomas James Kelly (30) of South Wigston, Leicestershire UK was KIA. He is buried in Plot 6 Row E Grave 10 of the Benghazi War Cemetery, Libya.

RAFVR wireless air gunner 1331844 SGT Sydney Ernest Tilley (21) of Kingston-on-Thames, Surrey UK was KIA. He is buried in Plot 6 Row E Grave 15 of the Benghazi War Cemetery, Libya.

13Oct43 Aircraft struck off charge. While serving with 462Sqn the aircraft flew 30 operational missions and flew at least 34 non-operational flights.

BB358

00Mar43 Handley Page Type HP59 Halifax B Mk II bomber Serial BB358 was manufactured under license to Contract B124357/40 by the London Aircraft Production Group (a subsidiary of the London Passenger Transport Board) at various locations throughout London. The aircraft was the 2nd of 35 aircraft built in the Serial Range BB357 to BB391

Powered by four 27-litre liquid-cooled V-12 piston Rolls Royce Merlin XX aero engines each developing 1,390 hp (1,036 kW) driving a combination of three-bladed Rotol R7/35/54 and R7/35/55 fully feathering wooden propellers.

Defensive armament consisted of eight .303 inch Browning machine guns; two nose guns in a Bolton Paul C Mk.II turret; two midships guns in a Bolton Paul C Mk.II turret; and, four tail guns in a Bolton Paul E Mk.I turret. The maximum bomb load was 13,000lbs (5,897kg). The aircraft was painted in the standard RAF Night scheme of matt Dark Green and Dark Earth on the upper surfaces and Black on all undersurfaces.

25Mar43 Aircraft delivered to No.18 Maintenance Unit at RAF Dumfries for acceptance checks.

00Apr43 Aircraft allocated to No.462Sqn in Egypt.

04May43 Received by No.1 Overseas Aircraft Preparation Unit at RAF Kemble.

18May43 Received by No.301 Ferry Unit at RAF Portreath.

00May43 Aircraft despatched to the Middle East Command (MAC)

00Jun43 Arrived MAC and delivered to 462Sqn at Hosc Raui LG near Benghazi, Libya

07Jun43 1st Operational Mission. FLGOFF H.L. Baker and crew departed Hosc Raui at 1948hrs with seven other aircraft to attack the Ferry Terminal and dockyards at Messina. Sicily. The crew completed the mission and returned safely to Base at 0250hrs.

17Jun43 4th Operational Mission. WOFF G.S Halley and crew departed Hosc Raui at 2021hrs with seven other Halifax aircraft to attack the hangars and workshops at Comiso Aerodrome, Sicily. The aircraft was hit by heavy flak on the bomb run which caused damage to the rear turret, tail unit and fuselage. The rea gunner sustained a slight shrapnel injury to the left arm. Aircraft returned safely to Base at 0226hrs/18Jun.

30Jun43 Aircraft flew seven operational missions and at least eight non-operational flights in June 1943.

05Jul43 Aircraft tasked to attack the night’s target but was scrubbed when, during pre-flight inspection, a serious electrical fault was discovered in the rear turret traversing system.

11Jul43 12th Operational Mission. FLGOFF H.L Baker and crew departed Hosc Raui at 1936hrs with eight other Halifax aircraft to attack the hangars and workshops at the Reggio Calabria Aerodrome, Sicily. At 2042hrs the starboard inner engine failed so the Captain aborted the mission, jettisoned the bombs and returned to Base.

31Jul43 Aircraft flew 10 operational missions and at least 11 non-operational flights in July 1943.

05Aug43 Aircraft tasked to attack the night’s target but was scrubbed when the port outer engine would not start.

08Aug43 18th Operational Mission. SGT J.D Evans and crew departed Hosc Raui at 1936hrs with five other Halifax bombers to attack railway yards at San Giovanni, Italy. The aircraft bombed the target without incident and set course for home. Approaching the Libyan coast the crew could not fix their position and tried in vain over the next two hours to locate any LG where they could put down. Finally after more than nine hours in the air the Captain decided to ditch close to the shoreline near a beach. At 0436hrs the port inner engine failed due to a lack of fuel followed soon thereafter by the port outer and starboard inner. The pilot quickly managed a successful single engine ditching close to shore and all six crewmen escaped without injury and swam ashore. As it happens the bedraggled airmen discovered they had ditched very close to Berka II LG, where they spent the a few hours before being returned to Hosc Raui.

RAFVR Pilot 590903 Sergeant J D Evans

RAFVR Observer Sergeant J C Ashton

RAFVR Wireless Air Gunner Sergeant E.L Langfeld

RAFVR Air Gunner Sergeant R.J Ellis

RAFVR Flight Engineer Sergeant E.A Stevens

RAFVR Bombadier Sergeant A.T Wall

10Aug43 Aircraft struck off charge. While serving with 462Sqn the aircraft flew 18 operational missions and flew at least 22 non-operational flights.

BB417

00May43 Handley Page Type HP59 Halifax B Mk II bomber Serial BB417 was manufactured under license to Contract B124357/40 by the London Aircraft Production Group (a subsidiary of the London Passenger Transport Board) at various locations throughout London. The aircraft was the 6th of 35 aircraft built in the Serial Range BB412 to BB446

Powered by four 27-litre liquid-cooled V-12 piston Rolls Royce Merlin XX aero engines each developing 1,390 hp (1,036 kW) driving a combination of three-bladed Rotol R7/35/54 and R7/35/55 fully feathering wooden propellers.

Defensive armament consisted of eight .303 inch Browning machine guns; two nose guns in a Bolton Paul C Mk.II turret; two midships guns in a Bolton Paul C Mk.II turret; and, four tail guns in a Bolton Paul E Mk.I turret. The maximum bomb load was 13,000lbs (5,897kg). The aircraft was painted in the standard RAF Night scheme of matt Dark Green and Dark Earth on the upper surfaces and Black on all undersurfaces.

19May43 Aircraft delivered for acceptance checks to No.18 Maintenance Unit at RAF Dumfries.

00May43 Aircraft allocated to No.462Sqn in Egypt.

06Jun43 Received by No.1 Overseas Aircraft Preparation Unit at RAF Kemble.

26Jun43 Received by No.301 Ferry Unit at RAF Portreath.

09Sep43 Aircraft despatched to the Middle East Command (MAC)

10Sep43 Arrived MAC

03Oct43 Aircraft delivered to 462Sqn at Hosc Raui LG near Benghazi, Libya

09Oct43 1st Operational Flight. FLGOFF R.D Langton and crew departed Hosc Raui at 1930hrs with four other aircraft to bomb Calato Aerodrome, Rhodes. The crew completed the mission and returned to base at 0350hrs/10Oct.

10Oct43 2nd Operational Flight. FLGOFF R.D Langton and crew departed Hosc Raui at 2125hrs with five other aircraft to bomb Calato Aerodrome, Rhodes. The crew completed the mission and returned to base at 0430hrs/11Oct.

11Oct43 3rd Operational Flight. FSGT M.F Hall and crew departed Terria at 2056hrs to act as the flare dropper to seven Halifax bombers for an attack on Maritza Aerodrome, Rhodes. The aircraft reached the target area and illuminated the target for the other bombers then departed the area and headed for home. At 0207hrs a one word message from the aircraft was picked up by the signals unit ay RAF Lydda – the word was “Fire”. At 0230hrs the aircraft sent an S.O.S and position report but nothing more was heard, the aircraft failed to return and was listed as MIA. Other aircrew reported seeing a blazing aircraft fall from the sky and crash into the sea just off Rhodes and it is assumed this was BB417. It was also assumed that the aircraft had probably been hit by fire from heavy flak emplacements on Rhodes.

An extensive ASR mission as mounted at first light on the 12th by an Air/Sea Rescue Wellington and a H.S.L. (High Speed Launch) plus a Section of Hurricanes from RAF Station Mersa Matruh, Egypt. At 11.00 hours on October 13th, AHQ, Air Defences Eastern Mediterranean decided to abandon the search.

RAFVR pilot 1190798 Flight Sergeant Michael Frank Hall (21) of Sparkhill, Birmingham was KIA and has no known grave. He is commemorated on Column 269 of the Alamein Memorial, El Alamein War Cemetery, Egypt.

RAFVR Bomb Aimer 1061575 Flight Sergeant Melbourne Glaister Fraser (30) of Belfast, Northern Island was KIA and has no known grave. He is commemorated on Column 269 of the Alamein Memorial, El Alamein War Cemetery, Egypt. He is also remembered in The Queen's University of Belfast Book of Remembrance (Page 9 of Part 2, 1939-1945).

queens university belfast memorial

Queens University Belfast Memorial

RCAF Observer R97524 Warrant Officer (1) Frank Richmond Vincent Nello (27) of Westview in British Columbia, Canada was KIA and has no known grave. He is commemorated on Column 272 of the Alamein Memorial in the El Alamein War Cemetery, Egypt. He is also remembered on Page 198 of the Canadian Second World War Book of Remembrance in Ottawa, Canada.

RAFVR Wireless Air Gunner 1379996 Flight Sergeant Albert Griffin (22) of Kidderminster in Worcestershire, England was KIA and has no known grave. He is commemorated on Column 269 of the Alamein Memorial, El Alamein War Cemetery, Egypt.

RAFVR AG 1262360 Flight Sergeant Raymond Llewellyn Fennell (30) of New Southgate in Middlesex, England was KIA and has no known grave. He is commemorated on Column 269 of the Alamein Memorial, El Alamein War Cemetery, Egypt.

RAFVR Flight Engineer 1218515 Flight Sergeant Gordon Frederick William Lawrence (20) of East Dulwich in London, England was KIA and has no known grave. He is commemorated on Column 271 of the Alamein Memorial, El Alamein War Cemetery, Egypt.

13Oct43 Aircraft struck off charge. While serving with 462Sqn the aircraft flew three operational missions and flew four non-operational flights.

BB423

00May43 Handley Page Type HP59 Halifax B Mk II bomber Serial BB423 was manufactured under license to Contract B124357/40 by the London Aircraft Production Group (a subsidiary of the London Passenger Transport Board) at various locations throughout London. The aircraft was the 12th of 35 aircraft built in the Serial Range BB412 to BB446.

Powered by four 27-litre liquid-cooled V-12 piston Rolls Royce Merlin XX aero engines each developing 1,390 hp (1,036 kW) driving a combination of three-bladed Rotol R7/35/54 and R7/35/55 fully feathering wooden propellers.

Defensive armament consisted of eight .303 inch Browning machine guns; two nose guns in a Bolton Paul C Mk.II turret; two midships guns in a Bolton Paul C Mk.II turret; and, four tail guns in a Bolton Paul E Mk.I turret. The maximum bomb load was 13,000lbs (5,897kg). The aircraft was painted in the standard RAF Night scheme of matt Dark Green and Dark Earth on the upper surfaces and Black on all undersurfaces.

31May43 Aircraft delivered to No.18 Maintenance Unit at RAF Dumfries for acceptance checks.

00Jun43 Aircraft allocated to No.462Sqn in Egypt.

15Jun43 Received by No.1 Overseas Aircraft Preparation Unit at RAF Kemble.

13Jul43 Received by Overseas Aircraft Despatch Unit at RAF Hurn.

14Jul43 Aircraft despatched to the Middle East Command (MAC)

16Jul43 Arrived MAC

30Jult43 Aircraft delivered to 462Sqn at Hosc Raui LG near Benghazi, Libya

18Aug43 1st Operational Mission FLTLT F. B Birmingham and crew departed Hosc Raui at 0032hrs 19Aug42 with five other Halifax bombers to attack railway yards at Orotone, Italy. The aircraft failed to return and was listed as MIA. Other crews reported they saw a large explosion at 0417hrs followed by flaming debris falling from 13000ft. They assumed the debris was from BB423 and that it had fallen victim to the flak defences.

RAFVR pilot 113268 Flight Lieutenant Frederick Brook Birmingham DFC (22) of Selsden in Surrey, England was KIA and is buried in Plot 5 Row C Grave 20 of the Salerno War Cemetery in Salerno, Provincia di Salerno, Campania, Italy.

RAFVR navigator 157436 Pilot Officer Ernest Frederick Bass (23) of Anerley in Kent, England was KIA and is buried in Plot 5 Row C Grave 22 of the Salerno War Cemetery in Salerno, Provincia di Salerno, Campania, Italy.

salerno cemetery

Salerno War Cemetery


RAFVR Wireless Air Gunner 161300 Flight Sergeant Charles Sydney Holter (20) of Eastbourne in Sussex, England was KIA and is buried in Plot 5 Row C Grave 21 of the Salerno War Cemetery in Salerno, Provincia di Salerno, Campania, Italy.

RAFVR WAG 1380793 Flight Sergeant Alfred Whiting of Nantybwch in Tredegar, Monmouthshire Wales was KIA and is buried in Plot 5 Row C Grave 24 of the Salerno War Cemetery in Salerno, Provincia di Salerno, Campania, Italy.

RAAF flight engineer 16890 Flight Sergeant Albert Arthur Scott (33) of East Perth, Western Australia was KIA and is buried in Plot 5 Row C Grave 23 of the Salerno War Cemetery in Salerno, Provincia di Salerno, Campania, Italy. He is also commemorated on Panel 109 in the Commemorative Area at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, Australia.

20Aug43 Aircraft struck off charge.BB443

00Jun43 Handley Page Type HP59 Halifax B Mk II bomber Serial BB443 was manufactured under license to Contract B124357/40 by the London Aircraft Production Group (a subsidiary of the London Passenger Transport Board) at various locations throughout London. The aircraft was the 32nd of 35 aircraft built in the Serial Range BB412 to BB446

Powered by four 27-litre liquid-cooled V-12 piston Rolls Royce Merlin XX aero engines each developing 1,390 hp (1,036 kW) driving a combination of three-bladed Rotol R7/35/54 and R7/35/55 fully feathering wooden propellers.

Defensive armament consisted of eight .303 inch Browning machine guns; two nose guns in a Bolton Paul C Mk.II turret; two midships guns in a Bolton Paul C Mk.II turret; and, four tail guns in a Bolton Paul E Mk.I turret. The maximum bomb load was 13,000lbs (5,897kg). The aircraft was painted in the standard RAF Night scheme of matt Dark Green and Dark Earth on the upper surfaces and Black on all undersurfaces.

04Jul43 Aircraft delivered for acceptance checks to No.45 Maintenance Unit at RAF Kinloss.

00Aug43 Aircraft allocated to No.462Sqn in Egypt.

16Aug43 Received by No.3 Overseas Aircraft Preparation Unit at RAF Llandow

27Sep43 Received by No.301 Ferry Unit at RAF Portreath.

03Oct43 Received by No.3 Overseas Aircraft Despatch Unit at RAF Hurn.

05Oct43 Aircraft despatched to the Middle East Command (MAC)

07Oct43 Arrived MAC

13Nov43 Aircraft delivered to 462Sqn at Terria LG approximately 15km South of Benghazi, Libya.

18Nov43 1st Operational Flight. FSGT A.T Wheeler and crew departed Terria at 0155hrs with seven other aircraft to bomb targets in and around Candia Harbour, Crete. The crew completed the mission and returned to Base at 0735hrs.

20Nov43 At 1500hrs a loud explosion was heard and thick black smoke was seen emanating from the dispersal area where aircraft were being bombed-up for the night’s mission. Fears that this was a repetition of the 20th April explosion that killed 12 men and destroyed BB325 were soon confirmed. BB443 was destroyed and an immediate squadron roll call established that 11 airmen were missing presumed dead. A funeral for the eleven dead airmen was held the following day at the Benghazi Military

RAFVR Armourer/B 972695 Flight Sergeant Hugh Gold (26) of Auchinairn in Lanarkshire, Scotland was KIA and is buried in Plot 3, Row A, Grave 26 of the Benghazi War Cemetery, Libya.

RAF Fitter 2E 543587 Sergeant Robert Ruston (28) of Warrington in Lancashire, England was KIA and is buried in Plot 3 Row A, Grave 33 of the Benghazi War Cemetery, Libya.

benghazi

Benghazi War Cemetery


RAFVR Armourer 800655 Corporal Stanley Clegg (23) of Forest Gate in Essex, England was KIA and is buried in Plot 5 Row A, Grave 21 of the Benghazi War Cemetery, Libya.

RAFVR Fitter Mechanical II 1575433 Corporal John George Durdey (32) of Harewood in Yorkshire, England was KIA and is buried in Plot 3 Row A, Grave 32 of the Benghazi War Cemetery, Libya.

RAFVR Armourer 1012766 Corporal John Oag Shedden (30) of Arbroath in Angus, Scotland was KIA and is buried in Plot 3 Row A, Grave 27 of the Benghazi War Cemetery, Libya.

RAAF Fitter 2A 25093 Corporal Harry Freeman (25) of Rockhampton, Queensland was KIA and is buried in Plot 6 Row E, Grave 1 of the Benghazi War Cemetery, Libya. He is also commemorated on Panel 109 in the Commemorative Area at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, Australia; and, on the Roll of Honour in Rockhampton, Queensland.

RAFVR Armourer B 1534083 Leading Aircraftsman Charles Bruce Ratcliffe (21) of Middlesbrough in Yorkshire, England was KIA and is buried in Plot 3 Row A, Grave 27 of the Benghazi War Cemetery, Libya.

RAFVR Fitter Mechanical 1129972 Leading Aircraftsman Charles William Robins (23) of Canton in Cardiff, Wales was KIA and is buried in Plot 3 Row A, Grave 29 of the Benghazi War Cemetery, Libya.

RAFVR Electrician II 1275304 Leading Aircraftsman Harold Thomas T. Roper was KIA and is buried in Plot 3 Row A, Grave 29 of the Benghazi War Cemetery, Libya.

RAFVR Electrician I 932304 Leading Aircraftsman John Leonard Smith (23) of Brockley in London, England was KIA and is buried in Plot 3 Row A, Grave 30 of the Benghazi War Cemetery, Libya.

RAFVR Instrument Repairer (II) 1019105 Aircraftsman2 Richard David Reynolds (28) of Douglas on Isle of Man, England was KIA and is buried in Plot 7 Row G, Grave 18 of the Benghazi War Cemetery, Libya.

01Dec43 Aircraft struck off charge DT498

00Aug42 Handley Page Type HP59 Halifax B/GR Mk II bomber DT498 was manufactured under license to Contract B982938/39 by the English Electric Co Ltd at their Salmsebury airfield factory in Preston, Lancashire UK. The aircraft was the 18th of 46 aircraft built in the Serial Range DT481 to DT526

Powered by four 27-litre liquid-cooled V-12 piston Rolls Royce Merlin XX aero engines each developing 1,390 hp (1,036 kW) driving a combination of three-bladed Rotol R7/35/54 and R7/35/55 fully feathering wooden propellers.

Defensive armament consisted of eight .303 inch Browning machine guns; two nose guns in a Bolton Paul C Mk.II turret; two midships guns in a Bolton Paul C Mk.II turret; and, four tail guns in a Bolton Paul E Mk.I turret. The maximum bomb load was 13,000lbs (5,897kg). The aircraft was painted in the standard RAF Night scheme of matt Dark Green and Dark Earth on the upper surfaces and Black on all undersurfaces.

06Sep42 Aircraft delivered for acceptance checks to No.18 Maintenance Unit at RAF Dumfries.

00Sep42 Aircraft allocated to No.462Sqn in Egypt.

23Sep42 Received by No.1 Overseas Aircraft Preparation Unit at RAF Kemble.

27Sep42 Received by A.D.R.U

09Oct42 Aircraft despatched to the Middle East Command (MAC)

10Oct42 Arrived MAC after a ferry flight via Gibraltar and Malta.

18Oct42 Delivered to 462Sqn at RAF Fayid, Egypt where it was taken on charge with A Flight as C for Charlie. This was the first new Mk.II Halifax replacement aircraft to arrive at the squadron since its inception.

31Oct42 Aircraft flew no operational missions but flew an unknown number of training flights in October 1942.

05Nov42 1st Operational Mission. FSGT A.J Clarke and crew departed Fayid at 2025hrs with elven other aircraft that were tasked to interdict enemy concentrations in the ‘Egypt Battle Area’. The crew completed the mission and returned to Fayid at0124hrs/06Nov.

10Nov42 6th Operational Mission. SQNLDR J.R Goldston and crew departed Fayid at 2037hrs with five other Halifaxes to attack jetties in Tobruk harbour. The aircraft failed to return and did not respond to radio messages and was declared as MIA. At 1200hrs on November 15th the observer Canadian FLTLT Jack Watts walked into the Ops Room and stated the aircraft was shot down by flak. He reported the aircraft had bombed the target and immediately after was hit by heavy flak in the bomb bays causing a fire to break out. As the fire took hold it became apparent the aircraft could not be saved and the captain ordered the crew to bale out. The observer, mid-upper gunner, flight engineer and radio operator all baled out approximately four miles offshore from the target area. Watts swam to shore and hid among the rocky shoreline for four days until he was rescued by an Army patrol.

RAFVF pilot 69428 SQNLDR John Raymond Goldston (27) of Leigh-on-Sea, Essex did not survive the crash landing and was declared KIA. Goldston has no known grave and is commemorated on Column 247 of the Alamein War Memorial located in the El Alamein War Cemetery, Egypt.

RAFVR Air Gunner 1256988 Sergeant James Francis Henry Steer (22) of Walthamstow, Essex baled out of the stricken aircraft but is assumed to have drowned and was declared as KIA. Steer has no known grave and is commemorated on Column 262 of the Alamein War Memorial located in the El Alamein War Cemetery, Egypt.

RAFVR Air Gunner 1184656 Flight Sergeant Roy Spencer (28) of Pilsley, Derbyshire baled out of the stricken aircraft but is assumed to have drowned and was declared as KIA. Spencer has no known grave and is buried in Plot 2 Row D Grave No.2 of the Knightsbridge Cemetery in Acroma, Libya.

knightsbridge acroma

Knightsbridge Acroma War Cemetery


Survivors

RAFVR Flight Engineer 913326 Sergeant William George Plummer baled out of the stricken aircraft and was rescued by Italian navy personnel. He was initially incarcerated in one or more Italian POW Camps before being handed over to the Germans. He was transported by rail to the Dulag Luft in Frankfurt where he underwent Luftwaffe interrogation, issued POW No.260915 and sent to Stalag Luft 4B Muhlberg.

RCAF Wireless Air Gunner R68183 Flight Sergeant William Norman Guertin baled out of the stricken aircraft and was rescued the next day by Italian navy personnel. He was initially incarcerated in one or more Italian POW Camps before being handed over to the Germans in mid-1943. He was transported by rail to the Dulag Luft in Frankfurt where he underwent Luftwaffe interrogation, issued POW No.249003 and sent to Stalag Luft 6 Heydekrug, Lithuania. In May 1944 he was moved to Stalag Luft IV in Gross Tychow, Pomerania (now Tychowo, Poland).

RCAF Observer J4688 Flight Lieutenant Jack Vincent Watts DFC* DSO (22) of Hamilton in Ontario, Canada survived the crash. After swimming for five hours while navigating by the stars he finally reached the coast near Tobruk. Unfortunately for him he landed very close to a German camp guard tower and spent the next two days wedged between large rocks fearful of being discovered. After spending a very gruelling time hiding in the rocks he decided to break into the camp the next night. This time Lady Luck smiled on him – sneaking into the camp he found the Germans had gone and he was able to scrounge up food and supplies including new boots and clothes, albeit German uniform items. The next day Watts was rudely awakened from his sleep when a vehicle pulled up outside his hut and a British MP burst into the room and reached for his gun when seeing a German soldier in front of him! After hasty explanations the MPs accepted his story and took him back to the nearest RAF Unit from where he was sent to RAF Hospital, Abassia in Cairo for treatment.

Jack Watts returned to the UK and served with 105Sqn where he was awarded a Bar to his DFC. He survived the War and discharged from the RCAF in 1946 as a Squadron Leader. Two years later he rejoined the RCAF and spent the remainder of his working life in the service finally retiring as a Brigadier General in 1975. Brigadier-General (Ret) Jack V. Watts, DSO, DFC, CD, Croix de Guerre/Legion d’Honneur, Knight of St. George passed away peacefully at the Ottawa Perley Rideau Veterans Health Centre on 20th September 2019 aged 98 years. Vale.

29Nov42 Aircraft struck off charge. While serving with 462Sqn the aircraft flew six operational missions and at least eight non-operational flights.DT499

00Aug42 Handley Page Type HP59 Halifax B/GR Mk II bomber DT499 was manufactured under license to Contract B982938/39 by the English Electric Co Ltd at their Salmsebury airfield factory in Preston, Lancashire UK. The aircraft was the 19th of 46 aircraft built in the Serial Range DT481 to DT526

Powered by four 27-litre liquid-cooled V-12 piston Rolls Royce Merlin XX aero engines each developing 1,390 hp (1,036 kW) driving a combination of three-bladed Rotol R7/35/54 and R7/35/55 fully feathering wooden propellers.

Defensive armament consisted of eight .303 inch Browning machine guns; two nose guns in a Bolton Paul C Mk.II turret; two midships guns in a Bolton Paul C Mk.II turret; and, four tail guns in a Bolton Paul E Mk.I turret. The maximum bomb load was 13,000lbs (5,897kg). The aircraft was painted in the standard RAF Night scheme of matt Dark Green and Dark Earth on the upper surfaces and Black on all undersurfaces.

06Sep42 Aircraft delivered for acceptance checks to No.18 Maintenance Unit at RAF Dumfries.

00Sep42 Aircraft allocated to No.462Sqn in Egypt.

24Sep42 Received by No.1 Overseas Aircraft Preparation Unit at RAF Kemble.

30Sep42 Received A.D.R.U

11Oct42 Aircraft despatched to the Middle East Command (MAC)

12Oct42 Arrived MAC after a ferry flight via Gibraltar and Malta.

19Oct42 Delivered to 462Sqn at RAF Fayid, Egypt where it was taken on charge with A Flight as D for Dog. This was the second new Mk.II Halifax replacement aircraft to arrive at the squadron since its inception.

27Oct42 1st Operational Mission. FSGT M.D Gribbin and crew departed Fayid at 2003hrs with six other aircraft to attack Maleme Aerodrome on Crete. The crew completed the mission and returned to Fayid at 0407hrs/28Oct.

31Oct42 Aircraft flew three operational missions and made five non-operational flights in October 1942.

05Nov42 6th Operational Mission. FSGT M.D Gribbin and crew departed Fayid at 2046hrs with 11 other Halifaxes to attack targets in the ‘Egypt Battle Area’ carrying a load of 5 x 1000lb and 10 Small Bomb Containers each filled with 6 x 40lb GP bombs. The crew attacked their assigned targets but unbeknownst to the crew, a 40lb bomb had hung up in the bomb bay and when the aircraft landed at Base the 40lb bomb was shaken loose and detonated in the bomb bay which started a raging fire. All crewmen made an emergency exit and escaped unharmed but the aircraft was destroyed in the resultant conflagration.

Crew consisted of:

RAFVR Pilot 134492 FSGT M D Gribbin DFC DFM

RAAF Observer 407196 Pilot Officer Peter Patrick Siebert DFC (23) of Adelaide, South Australia survived his tour of duty and was repatriated back to Australia in 1944. He resigned from the RAAF on 7th February 1945 with the rank of Flight Lieutenant.

RAFVR Wireless Operator A J Jones

RAFVR Air Gunner Sergeant P Ellison

RAFVR Flight Sergeant Air Gunner W J Stevens

RAFVR Flight Engineer 571066 A E Hessel

29Nov42 Aircraft struck off charge. While serving with 462Sqn the aircraft flew six operational missions and at least seven non-operational flights.

DT501

00Aug42 Handley Page Type HP59 Halifax B/GR Mk II bomber DT501 was manufactured under license to Contract B982938/39 by the English Electric Co Ltd at their Salmsebury airfield factory in Preston, Lancashire UK. The aircraft was the 21st of 46 aircraft built in the Serial Range DT481 to DT526

Powered by four 27-litre liquid-cooled V-12 piston Rolls Royce Merlin XX aero engines each developing 1,390 hp (1,036 kW) driving a combination of three-bladed Rotol R7/35/54 and R7/35/55 fully feathering wooden propellers.

Defensive armament consisted of eight .303 inch Browning machine guns; two nose guns in a Bolton Paul C Mk.II turret; two midships guns in a Bolton Paul C Mk.II turret; and, four tail guns in a Bolton Paul E Mk.I turret. The maximum bomb load was 13,000lbs (5,897kg). The aircraft was painted in the standard RAF Night scheme of matt Dark Green and Dark Earth on the upper surfaces and Black on all undersurfaces.

09Sep42 Aircraft delivered for acceptance checks to No.18 Maintenance Unit at RAF Dumfries.

00Sep42 Aircraft allocated to No.462Sqn in Egypt.

25Sep42 Received by No.1 Overseas Aircraft Preparation Unit at RAF Kemble.

14Oct43 1445 FTF

16Oct42 Received A.D.R.U

21Nov42 Received by No.1 Overseas Aircraft Despatch Unit at RAF...

22Nov42 Aircraft despatched to the Middle East Command (MAC)

23Nov42 Arrived MAC after a ferry flight via Gibraltar and Malta.

01Dec42 Delivered to 462Sqn at LG.167, Egypt where it was taken on charge with A Flight as D for Dog. This was the fourth new Mk.II Halifax replacement aircraft to arrive at the squadron since its inception.

02Dec42 1st Operational Mission. FSGT A.J Clarke and crew departed LG.167 at 2135hrs with seven other aircraft to attack Heraklion aerodrome, Crete. The crew bombed the target and returned safely to LG.167 at 0120hrs/03Dec

10Dec42 205Grp HQ ordered the squadron to move back to LG237.

14Dec42 Aircraft flown to LG.237. Upon arrival the aircraft was handed over to No.236 Wing because 462Sqn became non-operational on this day. All Sqn personnel were posted to No.22 PTC to await transport back to the UK.

31Dec42 Aircraft flew one operational mission and made three non-operational flights in December 1942.

17Jan43 HQME ordered the Squadron to move back to LG.167

18Jan43 Aircraft moved to LG.167

22Jan43 HQME ordered the Squadron to move to Solluch No1 Landing Ground 50km SSE of Benghazi, Libya

24Jan43 Aircraft moved to Solluch LG.

31Jan43 Aircraft flew two operational missions and made four non-operational flights in January 1943.

05Feb43 5th Operational Mission. WOFF H. Vertican and crew departed Solluch at 1747hrs with eight other Halifax aircraft to attack shipping in Palermo Harbour, Sicily. The aircraft would not climb above 2500ft so the pilot aborted and returned to Base.

10Feb43 Movement orders issued for an advanced party to move to the Squadron’s new operating base at Gardabia Main (Misurata) airfield located 90km east of Tripoli, Libya.

14Feb43 Aircraft moved to Gardabia Main.

20Feb43 6th Operational Mission. WOFF H. Vertican and crew were tasked aircraft to attack shipping in Palermo Harbour, Sicily with eight other Halifax. Soon after start-up the magneto of the port outer engine failed so the mission was scrubbed.

23Feb43 8th Operational Mission. WOFF H. Vertican and crew departed Gardabia at 0235hrs with eight other Halifax aircraft to attack dispersed aircraft at Gabes Aerodrome, Tunisia. Primary not bombed because of 10/10 cloud cover but alternate was bombed at 0358hrs. The aircraft was struck several times by AAA over the target resulting in slight damage to the port wing, port flaps and port tailplane. No aircrew injuries were sustained.

28Feb43 10th Operational Mission. FLGOFF Earl and crew departed Gardabia at 2028hrs with eight other Halifax aircraft to attack shipping in Palermo Harbour, Sicily. Soon after take-off the port inner began emitting flames which could not be extinguished so the captain aborted the mission, jettisoned the bomb load and returned to Base.

31Jan43 Aircraft flew five operational missions and made seven non-operational flights in February 1943.

31Mar43 Aircraft flew six operational missions and made at least six non-operational flights in March 1943.

00Apr43 Aircraft withdrawn from operations to undergo scheduled maintenance.

00May43 Post maintenance test flight carried out.

06May43 17th Operational Mission. WOFF Harold Vertican and crew departed Gardabia Main at 2225hrs with nine other Halifax aircraft to attack the retreating Africa Korps on roads between Birzerta and Tunis. The aircraft failed to return and was listed as MIA. The story of the crew’s ordeal came to light late in the month when the survivors related their experience.

On the inward leg over Tunisia the starboard outer developed a glycol leak leading to overheating then shutdown. The heavily laden aircraft began to lose height and WOFF Vertican headed for the coast some 70km away to jettison his bomb-load out to sea. Upon reaching the coast all bombs were jettisoned and the aircraft set course for base but soon after the port inner also developed a glycol leak and had to be shut down. Down to two engines and struggling to maintain height WOFF Vertican altered course for the Castel Benito airfield and ordered the crew to jettison every item they could, including their parachutes.

The aircraft could now maintain height but at only 1000ft but Castel Benito was surrounded by mountains three times that high. Vertican, therefore, elected to orbit out to sea and await the dawn but at 35km off the coast, the port outer also developed a glycol leak and was shut down. Vertican immediately ordered the crew to prepare for ditching which was successfully accomplished at 0414hrs 70 miles NNW of Tripoli. All the crew escaped without serious injury however, the crew were then subjected to a nerve-wracking 11-day ordeal at sea before making landfall 30kms west of Homs. The emaciated crew were looked after by local Arabs and reached Homs on the 18th May. Vertican was awarded a CGM (and an immediate commission), Tempest received a DFC, Curnow and Gordon DFMs, and Smith was MiD.

RAF Pilot 565380 Warrant Officer Harold 'Mickey' Vertican DFC, CGM(F) following a period of rest and recuperation completed his tour of duty and eventually survived the War.

RAFVR Pilot 1270886 Sergeant William Stanley 'Ace' Allard following a period of rest and recuperation completed his tour of duty and eventually survived the War.

RAFVR Navigator 122516 Flying Officer John Lawson 'Timmy' Tempest following a period of rest and recuperation completed his tour of duty and eventually survived the War. Later in life, he lived near Princes Risborough, Buckinghamshire where he died in 1993.

RAFVR Wireless Air Gunner 1381481 Sergeant Frederick Benjamin 'Ben' Ward

RAAF Flight Engineer 16655 Flight Sergeant Clifton Donald Curnow DFM (24) of Kalgoorlie, Western Australia following a period of rest and recuperation completed his tour of duty. He was posted back to the UK in early 1944 where he served with No.105 Operational Training Unit and 511Sqn before he was commissioned and returned to Australia in March 1944. He resigned from the RAAF on 16th April 1946 with the rank of Flight Lieutenant.

RAFVR Air Gunner 1314419 Sergeant George 'Taffy' Smith following a period of rest and recuperation completed his tour of duty and eventually survived the War.

RAFVR Air Gunner 1057611 Sergeant James Roberts 'Jock' Gordon following a period of rest and recuperation completed his tour of duty and was then promoted to Warrant Officer and posted back to the UK. He was a gunner aboard 635Sqn Lancaster (VI) JB713 that was shot down on the night of 18/19th August 1944 while on a raid to Bremen, Germany. He is buried in Collective Grave 5A, Section K.1-6 of the Hamburg Ohlsdorf Cemetery, Hamburg Germany.

Hamburg Ohlsdorf Cemetery Germany

Hamburg Ohlsdorf Cemetery Germany

10May43 Aircraft struck off charge. While serving with 462Sqn the aircraft flew 11 operational missions and made at least 18 non-operational flights.

PMcG 4 May 2022

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