Flight Lieutenant Donald Frank CONSTABLE DFC

Service No: 409383
Born: Coburg VIC, 9 June 1919
Enlisted in the RAAF: 15 August 1941
Unit: No. 78 Squadron (RAF), RAF Station Breighton
Awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC), 18 April 1944
Died: Air Operations: (No. 78 Squadron Halifax aircraft LV903), Germany, 24 March 1944, Aged 24 Years
Buried: Berlin1939-1945 War Cemetery, Germany
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Harry and Dorothy W. Constable, of Coburg, Victoria, Australia
Roll of Honour: Coburg VIC
Remembered: Panel 120, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT

DFC Citation: One night in March 1944, this officer was the pilot of an aircraft detailed to attack
Stuttgart. On the outward flight the aircraft was attacked by a fighter and sustained damage. Undeterred, Flight Lieutenant Constable continued to the target and pressed home a determined attack. On many other occasions, Flight Lieutenant Constable has displayed fine fighting qualities, setting an example worthy of emulation. He is an efficient and understanding captain whose courage and coolness in the face of the enemy have been inspiring. (London Gazette 18 April 1944, page 1779)

At 1858 hours on the night of 24 March 1944 Halifax LV903 took off from Breighton detailed to bomb Berlin. Nothing was heard from the aircraft after take-off and it failed to return to base. The aircraft crashed at Eckartshausen, approximately 8 miles south west of Eisenach. Six of the crew members were killed and two became Prisoners of War.

The crew members of LV903 were:

Sergeant Edward Thomas William Byford (1866301) (RAFVR) (Mid Upper Gunner)
Sergeant Desmond Terence Cash (1522440) (RAFVR) (Flight Engineer)
Flight Lieutenant Donald Frank Constable DFC (409383) (Pilot)
Flight Sergeant George Thomas Alfred Lovell (1386515) (RAF) (Second Pilot)
Flying Officer H A Mace (130056) (RAFVR) (Wireless Air Gunner) PoW
Pilot Officer C M MacLeod (173874) (RAF) (Navigator) PoW
Flight Sergeant Terence Ratcliffe (1494609) (RAFVR) (Air Bomber)
Pilot Officer Thomas Lorne Schioler (J/86203) (RCAF) (Rear Gunner)

Pilot Officer MacLeod later reported “I was rendered unconscious when the chute opened and being the first to leave. I did not know the fate of the rest of the crew, but Mace told me he had seen the bodies of the others besides the machine, and that he was the only other survivor, and the Captain had been killed.”


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 Veterans’ Affairs On-Line WWII Nominal Roll
National Archives of Australia On-Line Record A705, 166/8/403

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