BERRYMAN Arthur Albert 415495

LEST WE FORGET

Pilot Officer Arthur Albert William BERRYMAN 

Service No: 415495
Born: Mitcham England, 17 May 1915
Enlisted in the RAAF: 9 November 1941 (at Perth WA)
Unit: No. 467 Squadron, RAF Waddington, Lincolnshire
Died: Air Operations: (No. 467 Squadron Lancaster aircraft LM450), France, 25 June 1944, Aged 29 Years
Buried: Neuilly-L’Hopital Churchyard, France
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Frederick Langley Berryman and Gertrude Annie Berryman; husband of Agnes Elizabeth Berryman, of Victoria Park, Western Australia.
Roll of Honour: Busselton WA
Remembered: Panel 110, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT
Remembered: Cenotaph Undercroft, State War Memorial, Kings Park WA

On the night of 24th-25th June, although No. 466 had a quiet trip to Le Grand Rossignol, Nos. 463 and 467 had an unhappy introduction to Noball targets when a force from No. 5 Group was sent against Prouville.  Between them the two RAAF units supplied 34 Lancasters and eight other Australian pilots flew in the total force of 112 aircraft.  At first all augured well because the weather was clear with only a slight haze and the initial illumination and marking was done punctually.  Before the attack got under way, however, intense enemy searchlight activity in cooperation with guns and fighters threatened to disrupt the work of the pathfinder “backers-up”, so the master bomber ordered the main force to refrain from bombing and to circle the target until a deliberate attack could begin.

The 20-minutes delay caused by this zealous attempt to make the best possible attack gave enemy fighters and guns ample opportunity to take heavy toll of the bombers, 13 being destroyed. Wing Commander Donald Roy Donaldson (400631) who had taken over command of No. 463 as recently as 18th June was shot down by gunfire and two other Lancasters of his squadron captained by Pilot Officer Jeoffrey Maxwell Tilbrook (417248) and Pilot Officer John Francis Martin (16203) failed to return. No. 467 also lost two crews while the Lancaster captained by Pilot Officer Johns DFC (425021) was so heavily damaged by cannon fire from a night fighter that the rear turret was almost completely severed and the gunner blown out without his parachute. The aft end of the aircraft was set on fire and with the inter-communication set out of action the mid-upper gunner baled out. Nevertheless the fire was brought under control and, although the badly-damaged Lancaster was difficult to control and was virtually defenceless, Johns insisted on continuing his journey and bombed the target.  … Flight Lieutenant Forrest (415635) of No. 61 Squadron (RAF) also failed to return from this raid.

Extract from Herington, J. (John) Air War Over Europe 1944-1945, Australian War Memorial, Canberra, 1963 – Pages 176-7

Lancaster LM450 took off from RAF Waddington at 2232 hours on the night of 24/25th June 1944 to bomb flying bomb launch sites at Prouville, France. Bomb load 2 x 1000 lb (pound) (450 kg) and 14 x 500 lb (225 kg) bombs. Nothing was heard from the aircraft after take off and it did not return to base. Sixteen aircraft from the Squadron took part in the raid and two of these including LM 450 failed to return. Post war it was established that the aircraft crashed at Neuilly-l’Hopital (Somme).

The crew members of LM450 were:

Pilot Officer Arthur Albert William Berryman (415495) (Pilot)
Sergeant J W P Carey (967050) (RAFVR) (Flight Engineer) Evaded Capture
Flight Sergeant William John Conway (424978) (Air Gunner) PoW, Discharged from the RAAF: 31 October 1945
Pilot Officer John William Berry Down (418086) (Navigator) Evaded Capture, Discharged from the RAAF: 11 August 1945
Flight Sergeant Peter Padbury Hardwick, (427323) (Wireless Operator Air Gunner) PoW, Discharged from the RAAF: 20 October 1945
Warrant Officer John Murray Hughes (418418) (Bomb Aimer) PoW, Discharged from the RAAF: 20 February 1946
Sergeant F H Pagett (863239) (RAF (Auxiliary Air Force)) (Air Gunner) POW

Pilot Officer Down in a statement reported “Just after dropping the bombs in target area, aircraft was caught in searchlights and fire broke out in rear of aircraft caused by enemy aircraft or flak. A small fire also in front of the cockpit. Intercom unserviceable. Pilot by visual signs signalled abandon aircraft as controls ineffective. Bomb Aimer, Flight Engineer baled out and I then followed. Height about 8000 feet. Pilot had prepared to abandon and the WOP had gone to the rear exit to warn the two gunners to abandon. Aircraft on fire and in steep dive. Do not know fate of others.”

Warrant Officer Hughes reported “Hit by flak. Intercom unserviceable. Pilot hand signals abandon. WOP hit by flak. I was first out at approx 7000 feet. Controls U/S. Aircraft burning in various places between WOP and tail of aircraft. WOP, two Gunners and self POWs.”   Flight Sergeant Hardwick reported “Aircraft hit by flak. Pilot ordered abandon and baled out.”

No. 463 Squadron lost Lancaster LM574 (Pilot Officer Jeoffrey Maxwell Tilbrook (417248) (Pilot)) on 25 June 1944.

No. 463 Squadron lost Lancaster LM571 (Pilot Officer John Francis Martin (16203) (Pilot)) on 25 June 1944.

No. 463 Squadron lost Lancaster LM587 (Wing Commander Donald Roy Donaldson DFC (400631) (Pilot) (Commanding Officer No. 463 Squadron)) on 25 June 1944.

No. 467 Squadron lost Lancaster ND729 (Flight Lieutenant Roland Reginald Cowan DFC (425278) (Pilot)) on 25 June 1944.

No. 467 Squadron suffered a further operational casualty (Flight Sergeant John James Fallon (414546) (Rear Gunner)) on 25 June 1944.

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, 166/5/589

The code name for all anti V-weapon (German cruise (V1) and ballistic (V2) missile) operations was CROSSBOW, that for targets, e.g. ski sites and supply depots, was “NOBALL”