LEST WE FORGET

Pilot Officer John COSTELLO

Service No: 421312
Born: Burwood NSW, 14 November 1922
Enlisted in the RAAF: 31 January 1942
Unit: No. 455 Squadron, RAF Station Langham
Died: Air Operations (No. 455 Squadron Beaufighter aircraft LZ194), off the German Coast, 6 July 1944, Aged 21 Years
Buried: Unrecovered
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Thomas Michael and Gertrude Costello, of Homebush, New South Wales, Australia
Roll of Honour: Homebush NSW
Remembered: Panel 258, Runnymede Memorial, Surrey UK
Remembered: Panel 106, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT

Beaufighter LZ194 took off from RAF Langham at 1907 hours on 6 July 1944 on an armed reconnaissance. Ten aircraft from the Squadron took part in the recce and two of these including NE348 failed to return. At 2100 hours while on patrol off Nordeney, Germany, a convoy of 10 motor vessels in two columns escorted by 7 mine sweepers and trawlers was sighted. Intense heavy and light flak was experienced but cannon and rocket attacks were carried out. From photos it was considered that a motor vessel of 5/7000 tons was left sinking and a motor vessel of 2/3000 tons and 2 mine sweepers on fire. LZ194 was hit by flak and ditched. One member of the crew was seen in a dinghy, and the other aircraft circled for some time and a fix was obtained. Early next morning an Air-Sea Rescue aircraft found the dinghy which was empty and an enemy boat was seen making its way from it towards the coast.

The crew members of LZ194 were:

Pilot Officer John Costello (421312) (Pilot)
Flight Sergeant Robert Taylor (422742) (Navigator Wireless) PoW, Discharged from the RAAF: 31 October 1945

Flight Sergeant Taylor later reported “The aircraft was shot down in sea off the coast and I was captured after short time in dinghy”. He was released from Stalag Luft VII and returned safely to UK on 2 June 1945.

No. 455 Squadron lost Beaufighter NE348 (Flying Officer William Morgan Barbour (414380) (Pilot)) on 6 July 1944.

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 Veterans’ Affairs On-Line WWII Nominal Roll
National Archives of Australia On-Line Record A705, 166/8/544

Bibliography:

Gordon, I. (Ian) Strike and Strike Again: 455 Squadron 1944-5, Banner Books Belconnen ACT 2616, 1995
Lawson, John Horwood Wightman (251634) The Story of No. 455 Squadron (RAAF), Wilke and Company, Melbourne VIC, 1951