Pilot Officer Peter Robert ANDERSON

Service No: 28817
Born: Halbury SA, 19 November 1916
Enlisted in the RAAF: 4 March 1941
Unit: No. 460 Squadron, RAF Binbrook, Lincolnshire
Died: Air Operations: Assault on NW Europe (No. 460 Squadron Lancaster aircraft ED750), Germany, 31 March 1944, Aged 27 Years
Buried: Rheinberg War Cemetery, Kamp Lintfort, Nordrhein-Westfal, Germany
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Henry Robert and Janet Anderson, of Halbury, South Australia.
Roll of Honour: Balaklava SA
Remembered: Panel 106, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT
Remembered: World War II Honour Roll, National War Memorial of SA, North Terrace, Adelaide

Date: 30-31 March 1944
Target: Nuremberg
Total Force: Dispatched – 795, Attacking – 608
RAAF Force: No. 460 Dispatched – 24, Attacking –2; No. 463 Dispatched – 18, Attacking – 17; No. 466 Dispatched – 16, Attacking – 12; No. 467 Dispatched – 17, Attacking – 16
Tons of Bombs Dropped: 2,148
Total Aircraft Lost: 95
RAAF Aircraft Lost: No. 460 – 3; No. 467 -2

On 30th-31st March during the last heavy raid of the winter, Bomber Command suffered its worst single reverse of the whole war. Ninety-five aircraft failed to return, another eleven were damaged beyond repair while the target at Nuremberg was only slightly damaged. All four Australian squadrons were again included in the force. From the outset everything went badly. Conditions over the North Sea made it impossible to arrange any large-scale diversion there as had proved so successful for the earlier Frankfurt-on-Main raids. Some fifty Halifaxes were sent mine-laying in Heligoland Bight but were ignored by the German controllers who concentrated night fighters in groups at Bonn and Frankfurt-on-Main where they easily intercepted the bomber stream. The difficulty of predicting changeable March winds again led to serious errors in navigation so that the bombers soon spread over a broad belt to the north of the true track. Moreover the high cloud which was expected to give adequate concealment along the route dispersed altogether over Belgium and left the aircraft exposed in the light of a half-moon and silhouetted against lower clouds. A running battle was fought over a distance of nearly 250 miles from Aachen eastwards and then southwards, with more and more fighters joining in as the enemy correctly divined the probable target. At least twenty Australian aircraft were intercepted, but although most of them escaped by skilful flying or spirited return fire, Australian losses included the very experienced Utz, a flight commander of No. 460, who was killed. Comparatively the Halifaxes suffered most heavily, losing thirty out of the total of ninety three dispatched, and so No. 466 was fortunate that all its aircraft returned safely. Thirty burning aircraft were counted between Aachen and Nuremberg by Flight Lieutenant Smith s of No. 467 and it is probable that at least fifty bombers were shot down before reaching the target. Another 187 failed to attack at all.

Extracts from Herington, J. (John) (406545) Air War Against Germany and Italy 1939-1943, Australian War Memorial, Canberra, 1954 – Pages 660, 661-2

Lancaster ED750 took off from RAF Binbrook at 2224 hours on 30 March 1944 to bomb Nuremberg, Germany. The bomb load 1 x 4000 lb (pound) (1,800 kg) bomb, 96 x 30 lb (14 kg) and 1020 x 4 lb (2 kg) incendiaries. Nothing was heard from the aircraft after take off and it did not return to base. Twenty four aircraft from the squadron took part in the raid and three of these including ND 750 failed to return. Post war it was established that the aircraft was hit by anti-aircraft fire when nearing Koblenz on the outward leg and crashed at Rodenback, 4 kms north west of Neuwid.

The crew members of ED750 were:

Pilot Officer Peter Robert Anderson (28817) (Pilot)
Flight Sergeant George Parker Johnson (1534666) (RAFVR) (Navigator) PoW
Sergeant Richard Rostron Jones (1355796) (RAFVR) (Mid Upper Gunner) PoW
Sergeant Douglas Graham Lax (1852128) (RAFVR) (Flight Engineer)
Sergeant Richard Sydney Parmenter (1804750) (RAFVR) (Rear Gunner)
Sergeant Albert Stanley Pitfield (1318780) (RAFVR) (Wireless Operator Air)
Flying Officer Richard Lovell Woods (152285) (RAFVR) (Bomb Aimer) PoW

In a statement Flying Officer Woods said “The last time I heard Anderson was when he ordered abandon over the intercom. At that time he was apparently unwounded. I can supply no further details.”

No. 460 Squadron lost Lancaster ND738 (Flight Sergeant Charles Haley Hargreaves (421596) (Pilot)) on 31 March 1944.

No. 460 Squadron lost Lancaster ND361(Squadron Leader Eric Arthur Gibson Utz DFC & Bar (403438) (Pilot)) on 31 March 1944.

No. 467 Squadron lost Lancaster DV240 (Pilot Officer Ronald Ernest Llewelyn (410423) (Pilot)) on 31 March 1944.

No. 467 Squadron lost Lancaster LM376 (Flight Lieutenant Arthur Bruce Simpson DFC (408881) (Pilot)) on 31 March 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, 166/3/193


Firkins, P. C. (Peter Charles) (441386) Strike and Return, Westward Ho Publishing City Beach WA, 1985

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