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Archive Report: Allied Forces

Compiled from official National Archive and Service sources, contemporary press reports, personal logbooks, diaries and correspondence, reference books, other sources, and interviews.
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460 Squadron Crest
10/11.04.1944 No. 460 Squadron Lancaster III ND586 AR-B F/O. Arthur H. Probert

Operation: Aulnoye 

Date: 10/11th April 1944 (Monday/Tuesday)

Unit: N0. 460 Squadron RAAF

Type: Lancaster III

Serial: ND586

Code: AR-B

Base: RAF Binbrook

Location: Vieux Mesnil, France

Pilot: F/O. Arthur Harold Probert AUS/420054 RAAF Age 25. Killed

Fl/Eng: Sgt. Basil Guy Wiseman 1603151 RAFVR Age 20. Killed

Nav: F/O. Robert Bruce McDougall AUS/410609 RAAF Age 24. Killed

Air/Bmr: Fl/Sgt. Austin Hardcastle Palfreyman AUS/425207 RAAF Age 22. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Dennis Robbins AUS/1338956 RAAF Age 22. Killed

Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. William George Hogg AUS/429322 RAAF Age 19. Killed

Air/Gnr: F/O. Keith Francis Ryan AUS/418695 RAAF Age 20. Killed

We are keen to contact relatives of this crew as the crash site has recently been identified.


Took off at 23.41 hrs to join 132 Lancasters of 1 Group and 15 Pathfinder Mosquitoes to bomb the railway yards and buildings. 

The raid was classed as a success with reports that 287 bombs had hit the target. Damage included 30 locomotives hit and the engine shed. 340 houses were also destroyed and 14 civilians were killed. This was all part of several other raids taking place this night - concentrating on the railway yards at Tours, Tergnier, Laon, Ghent and Aulnoye.

8 Lancaster were lost on this raid (one lost on take off) with the resulting death of 39 aircrew, 4 were made PoWs and 6 evaded capture. 

Lancaster ND586 was shot down by Hptm. Helmut Bergmann (1) of 8./NJG4 with the interception taking place at 3,000 mtrs. with the aircraft crashing 10 km. south west of Maubeuge at Vieux Mesnil at 02.20 hrs. He opened fire from 100 mtrs from underneath.


Pilot of ND586 F/O. Arthur Harold Probert (courtesy Daniel Hopper)


The original grave marker of F/O. Probert and his wife, Irene Clark Probert- wearing his wings (courtesy Daniel Hopper) 


The beautiful memorial erected on the 70th anniversary for the crew lost. Service held on April 11th 2014, by people from the village. 7 Doves were released for the 7 crew members lost. (courtesy Daniel Hopper)

We are reliably informed that the wreckage of this crashed Lancaster has recently been found by a group of French researchers and they are very interested in contacting relatives of the crew. The daughter of Sgt. Dennis Robbins contacted Aircrew Remembered in April 2014. 


(1) This was the 19th confirmed claim for Hptm. Bergmann (7 on this nights operations) He went on to claim a total of 34 kills, before he was killed on the 6/7th August 1944. Shot down by Fl/Lt. John Surman in Mosquito MM449 from 604 squadron.


Crash site and plaque 2012 (courtesy Bernard Feutry)


Left: Inscription at Miles General Cemetery, Queensland, Australia (courtesy Kate Tame) Above: Maubeuge-Centre Cemetery, Nord, France (courtesy CWGC)

Burial details:

F/O. Arthur Harold Probert. Maubeuge-Centre Cemetery, Nord, France. Row B. Grave 7. Son of Harold William and Louise Probert, husband of Irene Clark Probert, of Drummoyne, New South Wales, Australia.

Sgt. Basil Guy Wiseman. Maubeuge-Centre Cemetery, Nord, France. Row B. Grave 9. Son of Ernest Victor and Mildred Wiseman, of Hendon, Middlesex, England.

F/O. Robert Bruce McDougall. Maubeuge-Centre Cemetery, Nord, France. Row B. Grave 8. Son of John Johnstone McDougall and Christina Galway McDougall, of Ascot Vale, Victoria, Australia. B.A.

Fl/Sgt. Austin Hardcastle Palfreyman. Maubeuge-Centre Cemetery, Nord, France. Row B. Grave 10. Son of Frederic Godfrey and Marjorie Therese Palfreyman, of Gregory Terrace, Queensland, Australia.

Sgt. Dennis Robbins. Maubeuge-Centre Cemetery, Nord, France. Row B. Grave 6. Son of Ernest Edward and Florence Robbins, husband of Dorothy May Robbins, of Chapel End, Nuneaton, Warwickshire, England.

Fl/Sgt. William George Hogg. Maubeuge-Centre Cemetery, Nord, France. Row B. Grave 11. Son of William Ballantine Hogg and Helen Nita Hogg, of Greenmount, Queensland, Australia.

F/O. Keith Francis Ryan. Maubeuge-Centre Cemetery, Nord, France. Row B. Grave 12. Son of Peter and Lillian May Ryan, of South Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

Researched for relatives of the crew. For further details our thanks to the following, Daniel Hopper, Shirley Robbins, Bill Chorley - 'Bomber Command Losses Vol's. 1-9, plus ongoing revisions', Dr. Theo E.W. Boiten and Mr. Roderick J. Mackenzie - 'Nightfighter War Diaries Vol's. 1 and  2', Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt - 'Bomber Command War Diaries (Updated 2014 version), Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

Pages of Outstanding Interest
History Airborne Forces •  Soviet Night Witches •  Bomber Command Memories •  Abbreviations •  Gardening Codenames
CWGC: Your Relative's Grave Explained •  USA Flygirls •  Axis Awards Descriptions •  'Lack Of Moral Fibre'
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Sources used by us in compiling Archive Reports include: Bill Chorley - 'Bomber Command Losses Vols. 1-9, plus ongoing revisions', Dr. Theo E.W. Boiten and Mr. Roderick J. Mackenzie - 'Nightfighter War Diaries Vols. 1 and 2', Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt - 'Bomber Command War Diaries', Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Tom Kracker - Kracker Luftwaffe Archives, Michel Beckers, Major Fred Paradie (RCAF) and MWO François Dutil (RCAF) - Paradie Archive (on this site), Jean Schadskaje, Major Jack O'Connor USAF (Retd.), Robert Gretzyngier, Wojtek Matusiak, Waldemar Wójcik and Józef Zieliński - 'Ku Czci Połeglyçh Lotnikow 1939-1945', Archiwum - Polish Air Force Archive (on this site), Anna Krzystek, Tadeusz Krzystek - 'Polskie Siły Powietrzne w Wielkiej Brytanii', Franek Grabowski, Norman L.R. Franks 'Fighter Command Losses', Stan D. Bishop, John A. Hey MBE, Gerrie Franken and Maco Cillessen - Losses of the US 8th and 9th Air Forces, Vols 1-6, Dr. Theo E.W. Boiton - Nachtjagd Combat Archives, Vols 1-13. Aircrew Remembered Databases and our own archives. We are grateful for the support and encouragement of CWGC, UK Imperial War Museum, Australian War Memorial, Australian National Archives, New Zealand National Archives, UK National Archives and Fold3 and countless dedicated friends and researchers across the world.
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