Flying Officer Herbert Thomas CAMPBELL

Service No: 429070
Born: Annandale NSW, 10 June 1922
Enlisted in the RAAF: 22 October 1942
Unit: No. 460 Squadron, RAF Station Binbrook, Lincolnshire
Died: Air Operations (No. 460 Squadron Lancaster aircraft PB471), Belgium, 21 February 1945, Aged 22 Years
Buried: Hasselt (Kruisveld) Communal Cemetery, Hasselt, Limburg, Belgium
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Herbert Peters Campbell and Mary Campbell, of Mudgee, New South Wales, Australia
Roll of Honour: Mudgee NSW
Remembered: Panel 107, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT
Remembered: Mudgee Soldiers Club World War II Roll of Honour, Mudgee NSW
Remembered: Mudgee Memorial Clock Tower, Mudgee NSW
Remembered: Mudgee District Fallen Soldiers Memorial, Mudgee NSW

When the campaign against German lines of communication was resumed on 20th-21st February No. 460’s target was Dortmund, a major support centre facing the Twenty-first Army Group front. This raid was followed the next night by a heavy raid against Duisburg, the most important traffic centre on the same front, as it lay directly on the Rhine below Wesel, which Montgomery had already chosen as his intended crossing place. On each of these raids No. 460 lost one aircraft and crew to enemy action.

Extract from Herington, J. (John) (406545) Air War Over Europe 1944-1945, Australian War Memorial, Canberra, 1963 – Page 411

Lancaster PB471 took off from RAF Binbrook at 2137 hours on the night of 20 February 1945 to bomb Dortmund, Germany. The bomb load was 1 x 4000 lb (pound) (1,800 kg), 13 x 150 x 4 lb 92kg) and 2 x 60 x 4 lb (2 kg) incendiaries. Twenty six aircraft from the squadron took part in the raid and PB471 was the only squadron aircraft that failed to return.

The crew members of PB471 were:

Flight Sergeant Bryant Braddock (435276) (Mid Upper Gunner)
Flying Officer Herbert Thomas Campbell (429070) (Bomb Aimer)
Flying Officer Bernard Maxwell Clegg (434620) (Wireless Operator Air)
Sergeant Alan Graham (1596167) (RAFVR) (Rear Gunner)
Flight Lieutenant Alexander Elliott Jenkins (430033) (Pilot) Evaded capture, Discharged from the RAAF: 21 December 1945
Pilot Officer Frank Samuel Stone (188993) (RAFVR) (Flight Engineer)
Flying Officer Sydney Clifton Swift (430403) (Navigator)

It was established post war that the aircraft crashed at Linkhout in the Belgium province of Limburg, 6 kms east of Diest. Flight Lieutenant Jenkins who survived the crash later made this report: “The target Dortmund was bombed at 1.20 am of 21 February 1945, and approximately 20 minutes later when the aircraft was flying at 13,000 feet in conditions of good visibility, the pilot received a sudden order from the Rear Gunner – ‘corkscrew starboard’, but before he could take any action, a burst of fire from below hit the aircraft. There had been no warning from the bomb aimer who was keeping his downward lookout. There was no visible damage and the pilot carried out the rear gunner’s orders, but the fighter (not identified) continued firing accurately, hitting the aircraft during the evasive action. Both Lancaster gunners returned fire, but apparently without effect. By then the starboard petrol tank was on fire and there was flame and smoke within the aircraft which was still under control. The pilot endeavoured to get it straight, but before this could be achieved, an explosion occurred, turning the aircraft on its back and breaking off the starboard wing. The aircraft immediately went into a spin. The engineer crawled along the perspex, probably with the idea of getting his parachute. He was the only member of the crew seen by the pilot during the incident, and the only communication heard from start to finish was the initial instruction from the rear gunner. The pilot believes that most of the crew must have been killed by the explosion and that he himself remained uninjured because of the bullet proof shield behind his back. The pilot believed there was nothing more he could do and at about 2,000 feet he baled out and landed safely, landing about 2 miles from the crashed aircraft. He evaded capture and met up with advancing Allied troops.”


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, 166/7/863
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