Air Operations (No. 463 Squadron Lancaster aircraft NG256), Norfolk, 6 November 1944

Bomber Command showed more interest in the proposal to attack the heavily used internal waterway system of Germany, especially the Dortmund-Ems canal which linked with the Mitteland canal to provide a direct passage from the Ruhr to central and eastern Germany. … The Waddington squadrons had also set out on 6th-7th November to bomb an embanked stretch of the Mitteland canal at Gravenhorst but this attack was abandoned because of thick cloud. Ten aircraft were shot down including three from No. 463, while two crews of No. 467 had to beat off determined fighter attacks during this disappointing and abortive raid.

Extracts from Herington, J. (John) (406545) Air War Over Europe 1944-1945, Australian War Memorial, Canberra, 1963 – Pages 311-2

Lancaster NG 256 took off from RAF Waddington at 1646 hours on 6 November 1944 to bomb the Weser-Ems Canal at Gravenhorst. The bomb load 14 x 1000 lb (pound) (450 kg) bombs. The aircraft completed the mission but crashed at 2141 hours while trying to land at Seething after clipping trees in poor weather. Seething is some 9 miles south east of Norwich, UK. There were no fatalities and no one was badly hurt. The Operations Record book records “The target was not attacked – Ordered by Controller to return to base. Full load brought back. Landed at Seething, Norfolk. Very good treatment received at Seething and every thing possible done for our comfort.”

The crew members of NG256 were:

Flying Officer Colin James Gifford (418385) (Bomb Aimer) Discharged from the RAAF: 14 December 1945
Major Greenhough (British Army) (Supernumerary)
Flying Officer S Harwood (RAF) (Navigator)
Pilot Officer Joseph Kevin McDonald (O11330) (Air Gunner) Discharged from the RAAF: Date Unavailable
Pilot Officer Stanley Whitesides Mason DFC (425330) (Air Gunner) Discharged from the RAAF: 19 February 1946
Flying Officer A H Melhuish (RAF) (Flight Engineer)
Squadron Leader Desmond Joseph Sullivan DSO DFC (415192) (Pilot) Discharged from the RAAF: 15 September 1945
Flight Sergeant Charles Ian Wright (418321) (Wireless Operator Air) Discharged from the RAAF: 20 September 1945

No. 463 Squadron lost Lancaster PD311 (Flying Officer Peter John Bowell (422394) (Pilot)) on 6 November 1944.

No. 463 Squadron lost Lancaster NG191 (Flying Officer James Austin (419452) (Pilot)) on 6 November 1944.

No. 463 Squadron lost Lancaster NF990 (Flying Officer Cyril Joseph Lynch (424270) (Pilot)) on 6 November 1944.

No. 463 Squadron lost Lancaster NG256 (Squadron Leader Desmond Joseph Sullivan CSO DSO (415192) (Pilot)) on return to Waddington on 6 November 1944.


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

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