Flight Sergeant Jack Stanley BIFFEN

Service No: 411839
Born: Sydney NSW, 28 September 1921
Enlisted in the RAAF: 25 May 1941
Unit: No. 460 Squadron, RAF Station Binbrook, Lincolnshire
Died: Air Operations (No. 460 Squadron Lancaster aircraft W4984), Netherlands, 24 May 1943, Aged 21 Years
Buried: Schoonebeek (Oud Schoonebeek) General Cemetery, Drenthe, Netherlands
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Alfred Stanley and Henrietta Biffen, of Rose Bay, New South Wales, Australia
Roll of Honour: Sydney NSW
Remembered: Panel 107, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT

Date: 23-24 May 1943
Target: Dortmund
Total Force: Dispatched – 826, Attacking – 724
RAAF Force: No. 460 Dispatched – 24, Attacking – 22; No. 466 Dispatched – 15, Attacking – 13; No. 467 Dispatched – 24, Attacking – 24
Tons of Bombs Dropped: 2,024
Total Aircraft Lost: 38
RAAF Aircraft Lost: No. 460 – 2

In the second raid for the first time over 2,000 tons of explosive and incendiary bombs were dropped in one night. This scale of attack not only swamped enemy defences but resulted in geometric rather than arithmetic progression of damage compared with lighter attacks. In some respects the virtual elimination of this industrial centre after only two attacks, and at a total cost of sixty-nine aircraft, was one of the most remarkable successes yet gained.

Extract from Herington, J. (John) (406545) Air War Against Germany and Italy 1939-1943, Australian War Memorial, Canberra, 1954 – Page 486

Lancaster W4984 took off from RAF Binbrook at night on 23 May 1943 to attack Dortmund, Germany. The bomb load was 1 x 4000 lb (pound) (1,800 kg) bomb, 48 x 30 lb (14 kg) and 540 x 4lb (2 kg) incendiaries. Nothing was heard from the aircraft after take off and it did not return to base.

The crew members of W4984 were:

Flight Sergeant Jack Stanley Biffen (411839) (Wireless Operator Air Gunner)
Flight Sergeant Beresford Milton Troy Davis (405966) (Pilot)
Flight Sergeant Kenneth Douglas Dyce (412411) (Navigator)
Flight Sergeant Clarence Goldthorpe (405849) (Bomb Aimer) PoW, Discharged from the RAAF: 29 October 1945
Sergeant Fredrick Wilson Ralph (R/152317) (RCAF) (Air Gunner)
Sergeant Eric Rowlands (1040539) (RAFVR) (Flight Engineer)
Flight Sergeant Charles Sinclair Wright (421066) (Air Gunner)

Flight Sergeant Goldthorpe later reported that “the aircraft was attacked by a night fighter. The port engines and wing were on fire. Orders to abandon were given by gestures. The controls appeared damaged. Two baled out at 18,000 feet. I landed near the German Holland border, and was handed over to the Germans. I was told later that all the other six crew members were killed.” Post war it was established that the aircraft crashed near Oud Schoonebeek (Drenthe), 14kms south southeast of Emmen, Netherlands.

No. 460 Squadron lost Lancaster W4986 (Flight Sergeant Geoffrey Laing Stevens (408533) (Pilot)) on 24 May 1943.


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, 166/5/170


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

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