LEST WE FORGET
Flight Sergeant John Cecil BOND
Service No: 420433
Born: McMahon’s Point NSW, 1 December 1921
Enlisted in the RAAF: 8 November 1941
Unit: No. 466 Squadron, RAF Leconfield, Yorkshire
Died: Air Operations (No. 466 Squadron Halifax aircraft LV875), France, 11 April 1944, Aged 23 Years
Buried: Meharicourt Communal Cemetery, Somme, France
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Percy Walter and Clara Bond, of Enmore, New South Wales, Australia.
Roll of Honour: Newtown NSW
Remembered: Panel 110, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT
Date: 10-11 April 1944
Target: Tergnier Marshalling Yards
Total Force: Dispatched – 162, Attacking – 154
RAAF Force: No. 466 Dispatched – Unavailable, Attacking – 15
Tons of Bombs Dropped: 692
Total Aircraft Lost: 10
RAAF Aircraft Lost: No. 466 – 2
Eisenhower ruled that the rail interdiction campaign must proceed in the absence of a better plan to weaken the enemy materially before June. Once this decision was made, the task of evolving new techniques to attack these targets was not only tackled energetically by Bomber Command but solved in a most successful manner; the result was that, by 5th June, of the 80 prime targets, 51 were assessed as so heavily damaged that they warranted no further attack until vital repairs had been effected, 25 were severely damaged but had some installations intact, while 4 had received only superficial damage.
Transport experts and operational research sections advised that for optimum damage to rail centres, a maximum concentration of 500-lb (225 kg) bombs should be dropped around the main aiming point, sufficient to achieve a stated overall density of strikes. This involved a reduction of the normal Bomber Command force to approximately 100 aircraft, and radically changed the bomb load, which against German targets had tended to consist of increasingly larger individual bombs. The vital difficulty of target marking was overcome partly because most of the targets lay within range of “Oboe”, and partly by the low-level visual marking method evolved by No. 5 Group, in conjunction with the master of ceremonies technique, which, although it sometimes increased the danger to crews orbiting the target, reduced to a minimum wild bombing and thus prevented unnecessary casualties among French civilians. The first Bomber Command attack was made on 6th-7th March 1944 against the marshalling yard of Trappes, south-west of Paris, but in the campaign proper, from 1st April to 5th June, 53 raids were made, mostly by Nos. 4 and 5 Groups, although on occasions other Bomber Command groups were active. RAAF squadrons joined in 25 of these attacks, the heaviest effort naturally being that of No. 466 in No. 4 Group and Nos. 463 and 467 in No. 5 Group.
Extract from Herington, J. (John) (406545) Air War Over Europe 1944-1945, Australian War Memorial, Canberra, 1963 – Pages 26-7
Halifax LV875 took off from RAF Leconfield at 2058 hours on the night of 10/11th April 1944 to bomb Tergnier marshalling yards, France. Fifteen aircraft from the Squadron took part in the raid and two of these including LV875 failed to return. It was later established that the aircraft was shot down by a night fighter and crashed near Rosieres-eu-Santerre (Somme) 15 kms north west of Roye, France.
The crew members of LV875 were:
Flight Sergeant John Cecil Bond (420433) (Pilot)
Flight Sergeant John Neville Keys (426112) (Bomb Aimer)
Warrant Officer John Henry Maunder (412562) (Navigator)
Sergeant Donald Kenneth Messenger (1588224) (RAFVR) (Mid Upper Gunner)
Flight Sergeant Brian Leo Sheean (409855) (Wireless Operator Air Gunner)
Flight Sergeant Clifford Young Warren (427047) (Rear Gunner)
Sergeant John Arthur White (1548168) (RAFVR) (Flight Engineer)
These crew members (except for Warrant Officer Maunder) had survived the ditching of Halifax LW521 off Salcombe, Devon, on 15 March 1944 in which Flying Officer Oswald Kenneth Grimes (151348) (RAFVR) was lost.
No. 466 Squadron lost Halifax HX274 (Flying Officer Colin Neilson Lamb (400387) (Pilot)) on 11 April 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, 166/6/481