Flight Sergeant Norman James CONWAY

Service No: 413829
Born: Pymble NSW, 1 July 1920
Enlisted in the RAAF: 13 September 1941
Unit: No. 460 Squadron, RAF Binbrook, Lincolnshire
Died: Air Operations (No. 460 Squadron Lancaster aircraft W4988), off the Swedish Coast, 4 September 1943, Aged 23 Years
Buried: Unrecovered
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Frederick James Christian Conway and Annie Conway, of Pymble, New South Wales, Australia. Scoutmaster.
Roll of Honour: Pymble NSW
Remembered: Panel 192, Runnymede Memorial, Surrey UK
Remembered: Panel 107, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT
Remembered: Ku-ring-gai World War II Book of Remembrance, Gordon NSW

Date: 3-4 September 1943
Target: Berlin
Total Force: Dispatched – 320, Attacking – 295
RAAF Force: No. 460 Dispatched – 24, Attacking – 24; No. 467 Dispatched – 15, Attacking – 15
Tons of Bombs Dropped: 906
Total Aircraft Lost: 22
RAAF Aircraft Lost: No. 460 – 3; No. 467 – 2

The third attack against Berlin on 3rd-4th September, although the smallest in numbers, was in some ways the most effective and caused heavy damage in the Siemenstadt, Charlottenburg and Mariendorf industrial suburbs. Four Mosquitos dropped decoy fighter flares well clear of the bomber stream and the usual diversionary attacks against towns and airfields were also mounted. The defences of Berlin were still strong, however, and the Australian squadrons suffered relatively high losses. No. 467, which had lost one commanding officer at Milan and his temporary relief three nights later at Peenemunde, now lost a newly-appointed flight commander, Flight Lieutenant Carmichael and one other crew. No. 460 also lost a flight commander (Squadron Leader Kelaher) and two other aircraft. One of these, captained by Flying Officer Randall, was badly crippled by gun fire and then by fighter attack over Berlin, but the pilot managed to fly it to Sweden before ordering his crew to bale out. Several other aircraft were badly damaged but the desperate battles with fighters had not brought any lowering of morale or determination. Flying Officer Gardner (1) continued his journey to bomb Berlin although his Lancaster had been badly damaged in a collision with another aircraft.

(1) Squadron Leader Clarence Charles Gardner DFC & Bar (416423) was discharged from the RAAF on 29 October 1945.

Extract from Herington, J. (John) (406545) Air War Against Germany and Italy 1939-1943, Australian War Memorial, Canberra, 1954 – Pages 581-582

Lancaster W4988 took off from RAF Binbrook at 1957 hours on 3 September 1943 to attack Berlin. The bomb load 1 x 4000 lb (pound) (1,800 kg) bomb, 48 x 30 lb (14 kg) and 630 x 4 lb (2 kg) incendiaries. Nothing was heard from the aircraft after take off and it did not return to base. Twenty four aircraft from the squadron took part in the raid.

The crew members of W4988 were:

Sergeant H Bell (RAF) (Air Gunner) Interned in Sweden, Returned to the UK
Flight Sergeant Norman James Conway (413829) (Navigator)
Pilot Officer Lindsay Grafton Greenaway (403601) (Bomb Aimer) PoW, Discharged from the RAAF: 8 January 1946
Sergeant A H Johns (RAF) (Flight Engineer) Interned in Sweden, Returned to the UK
Flight Sergeant Allen John O’Brien (411636) (Wireless Operator Air Gunner) PoW, Discharged from the RAAF: 29 October 1945
Flying Officer Francis Archibald Randall (413896) (Pilot) Interned in Sweden, Returned to the UK, Killed in Air Operations, 16 December 1943
Sergeant H K Ward R/178388 (RCAF) (Air Gunner) PoW

The following is a summary of POW statements as set out in a letter to relatives: “The aircraft was repeatedly hit by anti-aircraft fire over the target and attacked by fighter aircraft. The aircraft was temporarily out of control and the crew ordered to bale out. After one member had baled out the Captain regained control of the aircraft and the bale out order was cancelled. The course was set for Sweden. The navigation instruments were destroyed and the Navigator got high praise from the Captain in navigating the aircraft by dead reckoning course. Lights were sighted and the aircraft was considered over Sweden. The bale out order was given. Conway and the Captain were the last out. The Captain was in the sea one and half miles from Danish coast. Forty five minutes later the Captain plus one were picked up by a Swedish trawler. The trawler searched for half an hour that night for Conway and the next day but no trace of him was found. Randall, Johns and Bell were picked up in the sea, taken to Sweden for interment, and later arrived safe back in the UK.”

No. 460 Squadron lost Lancaster EE138 (Squadron Leader Carl Richard Kelaher (267504) (Pilot)) on 4 September 1943.

No. 460 Squadron lost Lancaster EE132 (Flight Sergeant Robert Barr McPhan (413788) (Pilot)) on 4 September 1943.

No. 467 Squadron Lancaster ED541 (Flight Lieutenant Reginald Carmichael (412391) (Pilot)) on 4 September 1943.

No. 467 Squadron lost Lancaster DV237 (Pilot Officer Ronald Vincent Turner (149548) (RAFVR) (Pilot)) on 4 September 1943.


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, 166/8/216
Register of War Memorials in New South Wales On-Line

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