Flying Officer Peter Ross CALLAHAN

Service No: 432114
Born: Wollstonecraft NSW, 3 October 1919
Enlisted in the RAAF: 5 December 1942
Unit: No. 460 Squadron, RAF Binbrook, Lincolnshire
Died: Air Operations (No. 460 Squadron Lancaster aircraft NR652), Germany, 27 April 1944, Aged 24 Years
Buried: Reichswald Forest War Cemetery, Kleve, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Reginald and Doris Egerton Callahan, of Wahroonga, New South Wales, Australia
Roll of Honour: Wahroonga NSW
Remembered: Panel 107, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT
Remembered: University of Sydney World War II Honour Roll, Camperdown NSW

Date: 26-27 April 1944
Target: Essen
Total Force: Dispatched – 493, Attacking – 471
RAAF Force: No. 460 Dispatched – 25, Attacking – 25
Tons of Bombs Dropped: 1,878
Total Aircraft Lost: 5
RAAF Aircraft Lost: No. 460 – 1

The emphasis on incendiary attack for area raids, in contrast to the existing technique against tactical targets, was maintained on 26th-27th April, when nearly 500 aircraft bombed Essen in clear weather. The 25 Lancasters of No. 460 alone dropped 133 tons and many of the crews reported that it was the best raid in which they had taken part; with markers accurately placed they found no difficulty in adding to the conflagration which quickly sprang up round the Krupps works, where
91 large industrial buildings and many smaller installations housing laboratories and testing equipment, electric sub-stations, steam plant and pumps were all temporarily put out of action. It was a magnificent end to a week of strategic bombing carried through with casualties of only 3 per cent, in contrast to the crippling losses suffered during March.

Extracts from Herington, J. (John) (406545) Air War Over Europe 1944-1945, Australian War Memorial, Canberra, 1963 – Pages 46, 48

Lancaster NR652 took off from RAF Binbrook at 2326 hours on 26 April 1944 to bomb Essen, Germany. The bomb load 1 x 4000 lb (pound) (1,800 kg) bomb, 108 x 30 lb (14 kg) and 1170 x 4 lb (2 kg) incendiaries. Nothing was heard from the aircraft after take off and it did not return to base. Post war it was established that the aircraft was shot down by a night fighter and crashed at Mulheim, Germany. All the crew members were killed

The crew members of NR652 were:

Flying Officer Peter Ross Callahan (432114) (Rear Gunner)
Flying Officer Jack Stephen Pritchard (413423) (Wireless Operator Air)
Sergeant George Albert Robinson (646672) (RAF) (Flight Engineer)
Flying Officer Jack Wellington Sharpe (27542) (Pilot)
Flying Officer Arthur Keith Steinbeck (423921) (Bomb Aimer)
Flight Sergeant William Justin Theyer (423929) (Navigator)
Sergeant George Henry Warren (1865642) (RAFVR) (Mid Upper Gunner)


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, 166/7/485
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

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