Pilot Officer Leslie Dean ANDERSON

Service No: 414121
Born: Toowoomba QLD, 26 February 1923
Enlisted in the RAAF: 16 August 1941
Unit: No. 466 Squadron, RAF Leconfield, Yorkshire
Died: Air Operations: (No. 466 Squadron Halifax aircraft HX345), Germany, 29 January 1944, Aged 20 years
Buried: Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery, Germany
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Leslie John and Florence Anderson, of Toowoomba, Queensland, Australia.
Roll of Honour: Toowoomba QLD
Remembered: Panel 110, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT

Date: 28-29 January 1944
Target: Berlin
Total Force: Dispatched – 680, Attacking – 596
RAAF Force: No. 460 Dispatched – 12, Attacking – 11; No. 463 Dispatched – 14, Attacking – 12; No. 466 Dispatched – 14, Attacking – 12; No. 467 Dispatched – 13, Attacking – 12
Tons of Bombs Dropped: 1,954
Total Aircraft Lost: 46
RAAF Aircraft Lost: No. 463 – 1; No. 466 – 3; No. 467 – 1

Yet another ruse was employed on 28th-29th January by sending a few Mosquitos to bomb Berlin several hours before the Lancasters and Halifaxes were due to arrive. Despite this and other diversionary means, the four Australian squadrons found an estimated 150 German fighters awaiting them. Twelve of the fifty-three Australian bombers were actually engaged in air combats but found that the tactics of taking the initiative and opening fire first staved off many attacks. The Halifaxes of No. 466 were very hotly beset. Of twelve aircraft which reached Berlin, three were shot down, including one captained by Squadron Leader McCormack; who was made prisoner. Two others were attacked twice by fighters over Berlin and three more had single combats during the return flight at positions up to 100 miles distant from the target. The loss-rate remained high at 6.3 per cent, but this was offset by the general success of the raid. For the first time the bombers found breaks in the cloud through which ground target indicators could be clearly seen. The supplementary sky markers were also well grouped so that there was little hesitation or indecision among bomb aimers. Squadron Leader Eric Arthur Gibson Utz DFC (403438), flying his second tour of operations, described this as “the most effective attack yet “, and for the first time fires appeared to amalgamate into a mass of flames too great for fire fighters to control.

Extracts from Herington, J. (John) (406545) Air War Against Germany and Italy 1939-1943, Australian War Memorial, Canberra, 1954 – Pages 643, 645

Halifax HX345 took off from RAF Leconfield at 0025 hours on the night of 28/29th January 1944 to bomb Berlin. Fourteen Aircraft from the Squadron took part in the raid and three of these including HX345 failed to return. Post war it was established that the aircraft was shot down by a night fighter from 20,000ft and crashed at Biesdorff, 10kms east south east from the centre of Berlin.

The crew members of HX345 were:

Pilot Officer Leslie Dean Anderson (414121) (Navigator)
Flight Sergeant Peter Parnell Balderston (420516) (Wireless Operator Air Gunner) PoW, Discharged from the RAAF: 31 October 1945
Sergeant Jack Tempest Causier (1675297) (RAFVR) (Flight Engineer) PoW
Pilot Officer Geoffrey Bernard Coombes (205836) (Pilot) PoW, Discharged from the RAAF: 26 October 1945
Sergeant Roger Nelson (1801584) (RAFVR) (Mid Upper Gunner)
Flight Sergeant Robert Douglas Hughes (417305) (Second Pilot) PoW, Discharged from the RAAF: 11 December 1945
Pilot Officer Ronald Roland Last (865591) (RAF (Auxiliary Air Force)) (Bomb Aimer) PoW
Pilot Officer Clifford John Trotman (409617) (Rear Gunner)

In 1945 the then Flying Officer Coombes reported “The starboard inner engine failed when crossing the German Baltic coast – oil pump. Attacked and shot down by an ME210 running in on the target. Seven attacks resulting in loss of starboard outer and port outer. Aileron controls damaged. Ordered bale out intercom cut out before crew could acknowledge. Rear Gunner acknowledged by call light. Remained with aircraft from 13,000 to 7,000 feet and baled out. Five had already baled out but not sure of Trotman and Nelson as I had been unconscious for a while and a little hazy. Aircraft descended in a spiral. No fire. Crashed near Berlin. Met Pilot Officer Last in hospital who was wounded in back. I had cannon shell wound in left leg and shrapnel wound in forehead. Landed in small field on outskirts Berlin. Captured immediately by Germans manning searchlights. Released by British Army 10 April 1945.”

Leconfield Operational order No 136 required:
16 Aircraft from 466 Squadron (14 took off) Target Berlin Night 28/29th January 1944.
Route: Base – Flamboro _ 55.10N 07.00E – 55.10N 10.35E – Target – 52.23N 13.45E – 52.35N 14.05E – 55.10N 10.10E – 55.10N 07.00E – Flamboro – Base.
All Aircraft to carry 2 x 1000 lb (pound) (450 kg), 2 x 500 lb (225 kg). Clusters 5 SBC (90 x 4) 3 SBC (8 x 30)
All Aircraft to carry Monica. All Aircraft except D & Z equipped with H2S

No. 466 Squadron lost Halifax HX233 (Flight Lieutenant Frank Wharton Mack (412463) (Pilot)) on 29 January 1944.

No. 466 Squadron lost Halifax HX294 (Pilot Officer Jack Wilfred Tylor (406223) (Navigator)) on 29 January 1944.

No. 463 Squadron lost Lancaster HK537 (Flight Lieutenant Norman Percival Cooper (29881) (Pilot)) on 29 January 1944.

No. 467 Squadron lost Lancaster ED867 (Flight Lieutenant Ivan George Durston DFC (414343) (Pilot)) on 29 January 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
National Archives of Australia On-Line Record A705, 166/3

Book Now Book Now