LEST WE FORGET

Flying Officer Stuart Vivian COLE

Service No: 409462
Born: Bairnsdale VIC, 27 August 1913
Enlisted in the RAAF: 13 September 1941 (at Sydney NSW)
Unit: No. 460 Squadron, RAF Binbrook, Lincolnshire
Died: Air Operations (No. 460 Squadron Lancaster aircraft JA861), Germany, 27 September 1943, Aged 30 Years
Buried: Hanover War Cemetery, Hannover, Niedersachsen, Germany
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Henry Vivian Cole and Sylvia Rosalin Cole; husband of Eileen Magdalene Cole, of Strathfield, New South Wales. Australia
Roll of Honour: Strathfield NSW
Remembered: Panel 107, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT

Date: 27-28 September 1943
Target: Hanover
Total Force: Dispatched – 683, Attacking – 599
RAAF Force: No. 460 Dispatched – 19, Attacking – 18; No. 467 – 16, 15
Tons of Bombs Dropped: 2,196
Total Aircraft Lost: 38
RAAF Aircraft Lost: No. 460 – 1

Attention also turned at this time to the large cities in the west-central plain of Germany. Although only at medium range these had consistently escaped lightly owing to their location in featureless country which prevented precise identification. Hanover in particular gave a very unsatisfactory response on an H2S screen even for the most experienced radar operator, and although four heavy raids were made against this city, only one was really effective. The first raid (22-23 September 1943) took place in clear weather conditions and RAAF crews reported that bombing was well concentrated round the target indicators and that there were huge palls of fire and smoke. Photographs taken by No. 467 during the raid revealed that despite this optimism, the majority of bombs from that squadron fell about seven miles away from the true aiming point and only the southern suburbs were hit at all. Nearly 200 searchlights silhouetted the bombers against cloud and there were many desperate struggles with fighters which on this occasion had not been misled by diversionary attacks on Oldenburg and Emden. Another batch of German fighters was sent to attack the returning bombers as they neared their own airfields. This disappointment was duplicated in the second raid (27-28 September 1943). The Pathfinder markers were again misplaced, this time to the north, and again only fringe areas were damaged.

Extracts from Herington, J. (John) (406545) Air War Against Germany and Italy 1939-1943, Australian War Memorial, Canberra, 1954 – Pages 604-5

Lancaster JA861 took off from RAF Binbrook at 1939 hours on 27 September 1943 to attack Hanover, Germany. Bomb load 1 x 4000 lb (pound) (1,800 kg), 3 x 1000 lb (450 kg) bombs, 48 x 30 lb (14 kg), 840 x 4 lb (2 kg) incendiaries. Nothing was heard from the aircraft after take odd and it did not return to base. Twenty aircraft from the squadron took part in the raid. Post war it was established that the aircraft crashed in the target area and all the crew members were killed.

The crew members of JA861 were:

Sergeant Arthur Mallinson Barnes (1678058) (RAFVR) (Flight Engineer)
Flight Sergeant Christopher Kevin Bolger (409888) (Bomb Aimer)
Flying Officer Stuart Vivian Cole (409462) (Navigator)
Pilot Officer Leo Malcolm Dargie (413967) (Pilot)
Sergeant Cyril Jeffcock (1036500) (RAFVR) (Air Gunner)
Sergeant William Thornhill (1433249) (RAFVR) (Air Gunner)
Sergeant Frank Whiteside (1511156) (RAFVR) (Wireless Operator Air Gunner)

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, 166/8/245

Bibliography:

Firkins, P. C. (Peter Charles) (441386) Strike and Return, Westward Ho Publishing City Beach WA, 1985