Flying Officer Alan Edwin ASTILL

Service No: 421143
Born: Chatswood NSW, 7 November 1920
Enlisted in the RAAF: 31 January 1942
Unit: No. 462 Squadron, RAF Foulsham, Norfolk
Died: Air Operations (No. 462 Squadron Halifax aircraft LL598), Norfolk, 14 January 1945, Aged 24 Years
Buried: Cambridge City Cemetery, Cambridgeshire UK
CWGC Additional Information: Son of James Edwin and Maud Astill, of Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.
Roll of Honour: Roseville NSW
Remembered: Panel 109, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT
Remembered: Roseville War Memorial, Roseville NSW
Remembered: Ku-ring-gai World War II Book of Remembrance, Gordon NSW

Beginning on 7th-8th January each aircraft carried 1,000 pounds of bombs in addition to its cargo of Window (radar spoofing metallic foil). This practice was to spread to other Halifax units of No. 100 Group and also gave rise to a more ambitious scheme whereby the Window force would simulate a normal No. 5 Group attack, complete with flares, markers and a spoof master bomber using No. 5 Group frequencies. Four more “Window-bombing” attacks by No. 462 followed in the latter half of January and, after a month of operations, despite a run of mechanical failures which caused some early returns, the squadron had settled down and was enthusiastic.

Extract from Herington, J. (John) (406545) Air War Over Europe 1944-1945, Australian War Memorial, Canberra, 1963 – Page 406

Halifax LL598 took from RAF Foulsham, Norfolk, at 1633 hours on the night of 14 January 1945 to carry out a special duty spoof raid dropping window and release bombs in the Mannheim area, Germany. At 4,000 feet the Pilot levelled out and set course from base. A few minutes later the Mid Upper reported smoke coming from the starboard outer engine. The pilot feathered the engine and then used the extinguisher. About 30 seconds after the engine was unfeatheared, replacing the smoke was a sheet of flame which rapidly spread over the wing. The Pilot ordered bale out. The starboard wing weakened by the heat broke off just next to the outer engine. The aircraft immediately turned starboard and dived into the ground.

The crew members of LL598 were:

Flying Officer Alan Edwin Astill (421143) (Pilot)
Warrant Officer Sydney Robert Fuller (421198) (Wireless Air Gunner)
Flight Sergeant Mervyn George Isaac (433727) (Mid Upper Gunner)
Warrant Officer Stanley James Minett (423814) (Bomb Aimer)
Sergeant Leslie Edward Miles (1894484) (RAFVR) (Special Duties/ Flight Engineer)
Flight Sergeant Neville Owen Reed (435209) (Rear Gunner) Baled Out, Discharged from the RAAF: 8 March 1946
Sergeant George Arthur Edgar Sanday (1896933) (RAFVR) (Flight Engineer) Baled Out, KIA 24 February 1945
Flight Sergeant Phillip Swarbrick (427410) (Navigator)


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, 166/4/189
Register of War Memorials in New South Wales On-Line