LEST WE FORGET

Flying Officer Geoffrey Albert BROWN

Service No: 408452
Born: Latrobe TAS, 19 December 1923
Enlisted in the RAAF: 19 June 1942
Unit: No. 467 Squadron, RAF Station Waddington, Lincolnshire
Died: Air Operations (No. 467 Squadron Lancaster aircraft LM636), France, 24 September 1944, Aged 20 Years
Buried: Calais Canadian War Cemetery, Leubringhen, Pas de Calais, France
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Albert Edgar and Marie Victoria Brown, of Launceston, Tasmania, Australia
Roll of Honour: Launceston TAS
Remembered: Panel 110, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT

Between 20th and 28th September Bomber Command made six attacks against enemy-held defences in and around Calais during which 8,000 tons of bombs were used. The series began well with a heavy raid by 646 aircraft (27 of No. 460) but on 24th September No. 5 Group were faced by a combination of bad weather and strong anti-aircraft fire. Attacks on two of the five aiming points were abandoned and one-third of the force returned to base without bombing. Attacks on the remaining positions were made at very low level from below the overcast but were relatively expensive, among the eight Lancasters failing to return being two piloted by Flying Officer Geoffrey Albert Brown (408452) and Flying Officer Richard Allan Jones (419511) of No. 467. Many other aircraft were damaged by flak. Squadron Leader Smith (1) of No. 635, one of the master bombers, was forced to withdraw temporarily when his aircraft was badly damaged, but he regained control and directed the attack on one aiming point until all had bombed. Flying Officer Roberts (2) of No. 35, although his own aircraft was badly holed, took over control at another aiming point when the master bomber was forced to return to base, but despite such examples of fortitude and determination the raid was only moderately successful.

(1) Squadron Leader French Smith DSO DFC (412037) Discharged from the RAAF: 11 April 1946
(2) Wing Commander Roy Patrick Roberts DFC (12439) (O237) Discharged from the RAAF: 21 December 1962

Extract from Herington, J. (John) (406545) Air War Over Europe 1944-1945, Australian War Memorial, Canberra, 1963 – Page 266-7

Lancaster LM636 took off from RAF Waddington at 1723 hours on 24 September 1944 to attack enemy strong points at Calais. The bomb load was 6 x 1000 lb (pound) (450 kg) and 2 x 500 lb (225 kg) bombs. Nothing was heard from the aircraft after take off and it did not return to base. The aircraft took off in shocking weather with the cloud base 200 feet. Before most of the aircraft reached the target a recall to base was issued. A number of aircraft failed to receive the message and they went in and bombed from 2, 000 feet. Flak was accurate and this evidently accounted for the losses.

The crew members of LM636 were:

Flight Sergeant David Corry Ardis (418242) (Bomb Aimer)
Flying Officer Geoffrey Albert Brown (408452) (Pilot)
Flight Sergeant Lindsay Vernon Giddings (419365) (Wireless Operator Air)
Sergeant Norman Hainsworth (1594915) (RAFVR) (Air Gunner)
Flight Sergeant John Oliver Millar (433183) (Navigator) Safe, Discharged from the RAAF: 7 June 1946
Sergeant Roy Oxborrow (1853210) (RAFVR) (Flight Engineer) Died 25 September 1944
Sergeant W J Turnbull (1545568) (RAFVR) (Air Gunner) Safe

Flight Sergeant Turnbull later reported “The aircraft crash landed at 2100 hours on 24 September. The Flight Engineer died in a Canadian hospital. The Pilot and rest of crew in Canadian Army hospital suffering from burns.”

Flight Sergeant Millar reported “Both Sergeant Turnbull and I were admitted to RAF hospital on return to UK. I can provide no information on rest of Crew.”

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, 166/6/716