Pilot Officer Frank Andrew CONNOLLY

Service No: 409666
Born: Northcote VIC, 9 November 1913
Enlisted in the RAAF: 10 October 1941
Unit: No. 467 Squadron, RAF Waddington, Lincolnshire
Died: Air Operations: (No. 467 Squadron Lancaster aircraft LM431), Germany, 6 January 1944, Aged 30 Years
Buried: Unrecovered
CWGC Additional Information: Son of William and Emma Connolly, of Northcote, Victoria, Australia.
Roll of Honour: Unknown
Remembered: Panel 258, Runnymede Memorial, Surrey
Remembered: Panel 110, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT

Date: 5-6 January 1944
Target: Stettin
Total Force: Dispatched – 358 Attacking – 348
RAAF Force: No. 460 Dispatched – 18, Attacking – 18; No. 463 Dispatched – 8, Attacking – 7; No. 467 Dispatched – 11, Attacking – 11
Tons of Bombs Dropped: 1,118
Total Aircraft Lost: 15
RAAF Aircraft Lost: No. 467 – 2

In January 1944, in addition to Berlin, three other cities in central and northern Germany were attacked, both because of their intrinsic importance and to spread enemy defences. Stettin had been left undisturbed for over eight months. Distracted by a feint against Berlin the enemy fighter defences were caught napping until the raid was almost completed. Australian Lancasters in the van of the bomber stream saw only one night fighter, and at Stettin found the weather clear and the target markers well placed. Bombing began well and all the Australian reports were enthusiastic, but later the attack undershot to the west of the town and only about 20 per cent of all bombs actually hit the town. The hazards of a densely-packed bomber stream were increasing as the planned time over targets was cut to a minimum, and several Lancasters were forced to take evasive action to avoid bombs falling from aircraft flying directly overhead. Another freak result evident on this night was the destruction of a Ju-88 by Pilot Officer Donald Campbell Balfour (406402) of No. 207 Squadron RAF without a shot being fired. The night fighter was actually attacking a near-by Lancaster and approached Balfour’s aircraft just as Balfour decided to climb steeply away, so that his port wing struck the fighter and sent it spinning down to crash and burn on the ground.

Extract from Herington, J. (John) (406545) Air War Against Germany and Italy 1939-1943, Australian War Memorial, Canberra, 1954 – Pages 654-5

Lancaster LM431 took off from RAF Waddington at 0005 hours on the night of 6 January 1944 to bomb Stettin, Poland. Bomb load 3 x 1000 lb (450 kg), 1 x 500 lb (225 kg) bombs, 44 x 30 lb (14 kg), 940 x 4 lb (2 kg) incendiaries. Nothing was heard from the aircraft after take off and it did not return to base. Eleven aircraft from the Squadron took part in the raid, and two of these including ED547 failed to return. Post war investigations and enquiries failed to find any trace of the missing aircraft or crew.

The crew members of LM431 were:

Sergeant David Abel Briggs (1590037) (RAFVR) (Flight Engineer)
Pilot Officer Frank Andrew Connolly (409666) (Pilot)
Sergeant Robert William John Evans (1426660) (RAFVR) (Wireless Operator Air Gunner)
Warrant Officer Leonard MacCallum Jackson (R/128258) (RCAF) (Mid Upper Gunner)
Flight Sergeant Leonard Arthur Jeffries (1436258) (RAFVR) (Navigator)
Flight Sergeant Herbert Spencer Reid (R/157645) (RCAF) (Rear Gunner)
Sergeant Maurice Turner (1389695) (RAFVR) (Bomb Aimer)

No. 467 Squadron lost Lancaster ED994 (Flying Officer Colin Irwin Reynolds (415276) (Pilot)) on 6 January 1944.


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, 166/8/340

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