BALL Alfred Desmond 427182

LEST WE FORGET

Flying Officer Alfred Desmond John BALL

Service No: 427182
Born: Perth WA, 11 April 1924
Enlisted in the RAAF: 25 May 1942
Unit: No. 462 Squadron, RAF Foulsham, Norfolk
Died: Air Operations: (No. 462 Squadron Halifax aircraft NA240), Germany, 10 April 1945, Aged 20 Years
Buried: Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery, Germany
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Frederick Arthur and Dorothy Louise Ball, of Leederville, Western Australia.
Roll of Honour: Perth WA
Remembered: Panel 109, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT
Remembered: Cenotaph Undercroft, State War Memorial, Kings Park WA

No. 462 was the only RAAF squadron to improve its operational tally in April 1945 compared with the previous month.  On 14 nights varying numbers of Halifaxes set out on “spoof” Window and bombing raids while a few Window aircraft actually flew with main forces at Kiel (9th-10th and 13th-14th), Leipzig (10th-11th), Potsdam (14th-15th ) and Pilsen (16th-17th), to confuse enemy radar operators as to the size of the bomber streams.  Late in the month the first of the specially modified Halifaxes designed as flying radio counter-measure units became available and special jamming patrols were flown with main forces attacking Heligoland (18th) and Wangerooge (25th) in daylight and Lubeck on the night of 23rd-24th April.  This squadron was also the only RAAF unit of Bomber Command to operate during May, when on the 2nd-3rd six aircraft made a simulated full-scale bombing raid in the Flensburg area while four others completed a radar-jamming mission near Kiel.  During the 139 sorties of this period two Halifaxes were lost.

Extract from Herington, J. (John) (406545) Air War Over Europe 1944-1945, Australian War Memorial, Canberra, 1963 – Page 446

Halifax NA240 took off from RAF Foulsham at 1910 hours on the night of 10 April 1945, detailed to carry out a protective patrol with the Main Force to Leipzig, Germany. Of the ten aircraft from the Squadron three were involved in radar counter measures and the others a feint window attack whereby they proceeded on the same track ahead of the main force, branching off just before Leipzig which was the target for the main force. NA240 failed to return from the mission. A post war report by a Missing Research & Enquiry unit records “NA240 was shot down by anti-aircraft fire and exploded in the air over the village of Zaasch. Zaasch is approximately 14 miles north east of Halle, Germany.”

The crew members of NA240 were:

Flying Officer Alfred Desmond John Ball (427182) (Pilot)
Sergeant Frederick Brookes (546437) (RAF) (Flight Engineer)
Flight Sergeant Neil Vernon Evans (436113) (Navigator)
Flying Officer Murray Frank (409532) (Bomb Aimer)
Flying Officer John Heggarty (179888) (RAFVR) (Special Equipment (Radar) Operator Air/Ground)
Flight Sergeant Maxwell James Hibberd (435342) (Rear Gunner) PoW, Discharged from the RAAF: 18 February 1946
Flight Sergeant John Mickle Tait (430788) (Mid Upper Gunner)
Warrant Officer Ronald Reginald Taylor (432346) (Wireless Operator Air Gunner)

In a later statement Flight Sergeant Hibberd reported “The aircraft had a direct hit by flak on the starboard wing. Orders from the Captain were not heard. I baled out at 14,000 feet. The aircraft was tossing about at the time. It crashed north east of Leipzig. Believe others were killed when aircraft crashed in the target area. Probably unable to get out because of special equipment in the aircraft. Hid for one day. Suffered loss of blood and concussion. Wounded in thigh and ankle. Released by Americans.”

References:

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, 166/5/1064