Air Operations: (No. 466 Squadron Halifax aircraft LV943), France, 7 May 1944

Date: 6-7 May 1944
Target: Mantes Gassicourt Marshalling Yards
Total Force: Dispatched – 132, Attacking – 120
RAAF Force: No. 466 Dispatched – Not available, Attacking – 12
Tons of Bombs Dropped: 630
Total Aircraft Lost: 3
RAAF Aircraft Lost: 1

Extract from Herington, J. (John) (406545) Air War Over Europe 1944-1945, Australian War Memorial, Canberra, 1963 – Page 28

Halifax LV943 took off from RAF Leconfield at 0011 hours on the morning of 7 May 1944 to bomb the marshalling yards at Mantes-Gassicourt. It was later established that the aircraft was attacked by a night fighter south of the target area and set on fire. All the crew baled out and survived – three crew members evaded capture and four were captured.

The crew members of LV943 were:

Warrant Officer Christopher Robert Cullen (414205) (Navigator) PoW, Discharged from the RAAF: 25 October 1945
Sergeant J E Dickens (1177399) (RAFVR) (Flight Engineer) Evaded capture
Warrant Officer Owen James Doherty (414863) (Wireless Operator Air Gunner) PoW, Discharged from the RAAF: 13 September 1945
Flight Sergeant Lawrence Joseph Garske (423094) (Rear Gunner) PoW, Discharged from the RAAF: 4 October 1945
Pilot Officer Edmund Hourigan DFC (420882) (Pilot) Evaded capture, Discharged from the RAAF: 2 October 1945
Flight Sergeant Lawrence Nestor Schulz (417524) (Mid Upper Gunner) Evaded capture, Discharged from the RAAF: 10 October 1947
Flight Sergeant Raymond Walter Perry (415738) (Bomb Aimer) PoW, Discharged from the RAAF: 22 February 1946

In a 1945 report the then Flying Officer Cullen stated “A night fighter attacked. The aircraft was under control but set on fire. Captain ordered normal bale out. Crew acknowledged. I went first at approx 13000ft. Aircraft crashed 20 miles west of target. Evaded for two days then captured at farm while trying to obtain food. Released British Army 2 March 1945.”

In a further report by Pilot Officer Hourigan and others it was recorded: “The engines were running perfectly. The Engineer could not detect any petrol leak on the gauges. Both Gunners left their turrets and came forward. The Mid Upper was dazed and cut on the face. The Pilot continued to corkscrew until after the third attack from the port beam. He saw tracer going past him in this attack and felt the aircraft shudder but had no knowledge of any further damage. Gave order to bale out and all crew baled out of the front hatch. When the Engineer baled out the Pilot left his seat, the port wing dropped and the plane went into a steep dive. He got tangled up in his I/C but eventually got free and baled out. There was a smell of fire in the fuselage.”


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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