LEST WE FORGET
Flight Sergeant Allan John James BROWN
Service No: 412054
Born: Hamilton NSW, 19 September 1921
Enlisted in the RAAF: 21 June 1941
Unit: No. 460 Squadron, RAF Station Binbrook, Lincolnshire
Died: Air Operations (No. 460 Squadron Lancaster aircraft JB611), Germany, 2 December 1943, Aged 22 Years
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Walter and Mary Josephine Brown; husband of Florence Margaret Brown, of Cessnock, New South Wales, Australia
Roll of Honour: Newcastle NSW
Remembered: Panel 192, Runnymede Memorial, Surrey UK
Remembered: Panel 107, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT
Remembered: Newcastle Boys High School Memorial Entrance World War II, Waratah NSW
Date: 2-3 December 1943
Total Force: Dispatched – 458, Attacking – 401
RAAF Force: No. 460 Dispatched – 25, Attacking – 24; No. 463 Dispatched – 5, Attacking – 4; No. 467 Dispatched – 13, Attacking – 13
Tons of Bombs Dropped: 1,686
Total Aircraft Lost: 40
RAAF Aircraft Lost: No. 460 – 5
Thus far the campaign, while not achieving success comparable to the holocaust at Hamburg, had won satisfactory results against the most heavily-defended target in Germany, but the fifth raid on 2nd-3rd December was a costly failure. The winds actually met in flight varied from those forecast considerably in strength and by 90 degrees in direction. Many navigators failed to discover this before they had been blown well south of track and the bomber stream scattered. Some crews of No. 460 found new winds by means of H2S navigation, but because they were so radically opposed to the forecast, in many cases the new information was ignored. Worse still the change in winds cleared away fog which had been blanketing the German airfields and enemy fighters were present over Berlin from the outset to oppose the disorganised bombing force as it arrived. Few of the Pathfinders successfully identified Rathenow from which they were to make a timed run, and consequently target indicators and bombs were scattered over many square miles to the south of Berlin.
It was a very black night for No. 460; it lost five Lancasters, and three more had to struggle home on three engines. Several aircraft from the other Australian squadrons were damaged by gun fire during their return, when use of forecast winds again caused confusion so that they faced not only the defences of Berlin but the defences of the Ruhr during the same flight. The nightly battle of bluff on this occasion prevented clear thinking by some of the Australian navigators, who clearly saw Pathfinder route markers, but, as they were so far distant from their own track, they dismissed them as enemy decoys, and continued to head into danger.
Extracts from Herington, J. (John) (406545) Air War Against Germany and Italy 1939-1943, Australian War Memorial, Canberra, 1954 – Pages 637, 639-40
Lancaster JB611 took off from RAF Binbrook at 1635 hours on 2 December 1943 to bomb Berlin. The bomb load was 1 x 4000 lb (pound) (1,800 kg) bomb, 56 x 30 lb (14 kg) and 1230 x 4 lb (2 kg) incendiaries. Nothing was heard from the aircraft after take off and it did not return to base. It was established post war that the aircraft crashed near Doeberitz and all the crew members were killed.
The crew members of JB611 were:
Flight Sergeant Allan John James Brown (412054) (Navigator)
Squadron Leader Edward Geoffrey Manson Corser DFC MID (405122) (Pilot)
Warrant Officer Leslie Arnold Kent DFC (404296) (Mid Upper Gunner)
Sergeant Harry George Keymer (1124499) (RAFVR) (Rear Gunner)
Flight Sergeant William Walter Harrington (1263308) (RAFVR) (Flight Engineer)
Sergeant Leslie Price (1206397) (RAFVR) (Wireless Operator Air Gunner)
Sergeant William Arthur Young (1480146) (RAFVR) (Bomb Aimer)
No. 460 Squadron lost Lancaster JB 608 (Flight Lieutenant Thomas Derek Hudson Alford (420333) (Pilot)) on 2 December 1943.
No. 460 Squadron lost Lancaster DV 296 (Flight Sergeant Colin Howard Edwards (24574) (Pilot)) on 2 December 1943.
No. 460 Squadron lost Lancaster W 4881 (Pilot Officer James Herbert John English DFC (413843) (Pilot)) on 2 December 1943.
No. 460 Squadron lost Lancaster LM 316 (Flying Officer Alan Roy Mitchell (409933) (Pilot)) on 2 December 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, 166/6/352
Register of War Memorials in New South Wales On-Line
Firkins, P. C. (Peter Charles) (441386) Strike and Return, Westward Ho Publishing City Beach WA, 1985