LEST WE FORGET
Air Operations: (No. 462 Squadron Halifax aircraft MZ448), Germany, 25 February 1945
No. 462 Squadron flew 155 sorties on 15 nights and one day during February and 83 sorties on 13 nights during the first three weeks of March. The combined Window-dropping and bombing raids during February were all in the Ruhr and Rhineland, mainly as decoys from the true target chosen that night but sometimes purely to confuse enemy raid reporting systems when no actual attack was contemplated. By its very nature this “coat-trailing” was hazardous, but crews intruded and withdrew safely with conspicuous success until 24th-25th February when four out of ten Halifaxes sent to the Ruhr failed to return.
Extract from Herington, J. (John) (406545) Air War Over Europe 1944-1945, Australian War Memorial, Canberra, 1963 – Page 432
Halifax MZ448 took off from RAF Foulsham at 1701 hours on the night of 24/25th February 1945 to carry out a spoof and bombing raid in the Ruhr area Germany. Ten aircraft from the Squadron took part in the raid and of these four including MZ448 failed to return.
The crew members of MZ448 were:
Flying Officer John Raymond Boyce (432692) (Wireless Air Gunner) PoW, Discharged from the RAAF: 26 April 1946
Flying Officer W K Datson* (154341) (RAFVR) (Bomb Aimer) PoW
Sergeant R G Hodgson (1592185) (RAFVR) (Flight Engineer) PoW
Sergeant John George Lynch (650438) (RAF) (Rear Gunner)
Flying Officer Wilhelm Julius Mann (437274) (Navigator) PoW, Discharged from the RAAF: 21 December 1945
Flying Officer Thomas Pawsey (163583) (RAFVR) (Special Duties (Air Bomber))
Flight Lieutenant Frederick Harold Ridgewell (149967) (RAFVR) (Pilot)
Sergeant George Edward Rolls (644506) (RAF) (Mid Upper Gunner)
* Family name may be Watson
In a later statement Flying Officer Mann reported: “The aircraft was hit by flak seven and a half minutes after bombs gone at height 15,000 feet. There was an immediate fire amidships. The
Captain ordered chutes on jump jump. The Engineer was out first while the Bomb Aimer, Navigator and WOP were blown out by the explosion of petrol vapour in the fuselage (the bomb bay tanks were hit). I assumed the Rear Gunner, Mid Upper and Pawsey were still in the aircraft. The aircraft was in a steep dive at time of explosion and on fire. It crashed south south west of Krefeld. The WOP was seen while descending his chute torn. I was captured immediately. Later met the B/Aimer, WOP and Engineer on way to the interrogation centre at Krefeld. Released by American troops.”
No. 462 Squadron lost Halifax MZ461 (Flying Officer Vivian Clive Ely (426221) (Pilot)) on 24 February 1945.
No. 462 Squadron lost Halifax PN429 (Flight Sergeant Patrick John Paul Carlon (432936) (Mid Upper Gunner)) on 24 February 1945.
No. 462 Squadron lost Halifax MZ447 (Flight Lieutenant Allan John Rate (423892) (Pilot)) on 24 February 1945.
Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour On-Line Records (RAAF Casualty Information compiled by Alan Storr (409804))
Commonwealth War Graves Commission On-Line Records
Department of Veteran’s Affairs On-Line WWII Nominal Roll