Flight Sergeant John James FALLON

Service No: 414546
Born: Ipswich QLD, 1 August 1919
Enlisted in the RAAF: 12 October 1941
Unit: No. 467 Squadron, RAF Waddington, Lincolnshire
Died: Air Operations: (No. 467 Squadron Lancaster aircraft LL846), France, 24 June 1944, Aged 24 Years
Buried: Unrecovered
CWGC Additional Information: Son of James Francis and Evelyn Marion Fallon, of Dutton Park, Queensland, Australia.
Roll of Honour: Brisbane QLD
Remembered: Panel 260, Runnymede Memorial, Surrey UK
Remembered: Panel 110, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT

On the night of 24th-25th June, although No. 466 had a quiet trip to Le Grand Rossignol, Nos. 463 and 467 had an unhappy introduction to Noball targets when a force from No. 5 Group was sent against Prouville. Between them the two RAAF units supplied 34 Lancasters and eight other Australian pilots flew in the total force of 112 aircraft. At first all augured well because the weather was clear with only a slight haze and the initial illumination and marking was done punctually. Before the attack got under way, however, intense enemy searchlight activity in cooperation with guns and fighters threatened to disrupt the work of the pathfinder “backers-up”, so the master bomber ordered the main force to refrain from bombing and to circle the target until a deliberate attack could begin.

The 20-minutes delay caused by this zealous attempt to make the best possible attack gave enemy fighters and guns ample opportunity to take heavy toll of the bombers, 13 being destroyed. Wing Commander Donald Roy Donaldson (400631) who had taken over command of No. 463 as recently as 18th June was shot down by gunfire and two other Lancasters of his squadron captained by Pilot Officer Jeoffrey Maxwell Tilbrook (417248) and Pilot Officer John Francis Martin (16203) failed to return. No. 467 also lost two crews while the Lancaster captained by Pilot Officer Johns DFC (425021) was so heavily damaged by cannon fire from a night fighter that the rear turret was almost completely severed and the gunner blown out without his parachute. The aft end of the aircraft was set on fire and with the inter-communication set out of action the mid-upper gunner baled out. Nevertheless the fire was brought under control and, although the badly-damaged Lancaster was difficult to control and was virtually defenceless, Johns insisted on continuing his journey and bombed the target. … Flight Lieutenant Forrest (415635) of No. 61 Squadron (RAF) also failed to return from this raid.

Extract from Herington, J. (John) Air War Over Europe 1944-1945, Australian War Memorial, Canberra, 1963 – Pages 176-7

Lancaster LL846 took off from RAF Waddington at 2237 hours on the night of 24/25th June 1944 to bomb flying bomb sites at Prouville. Bomb load 2 x 1000 lb (450 kg) and 14 x 500 lb (225 kg) bombs. The aircraft completed the mission and landed at base at 0245 hours.

AWM 64 (1/427) records the following “During the mission the crew lost the two gunners when the rear turret was practically detached from the aircraft by cannon fire from an enemy aircraft. The rear gunner was thought to have been blown out of his turret as his chute was still in the aircraft. A fire had started in the rear of the aircraft and the Mid Upper gunner must have baled out when he saw this. The Navigator and the Flight Engineer were sent back to put the fire out and Pilot Officer Johns (Pilot) showed great courage and airmanship to complete the mission. The crew reported seeing the Mid Upper Gunner’s chute go down, but the Germans coned him and were shooting at him.”

The crew members of LL846 were:

Flight Sergeant Ernest Donald Dale (419958) (Mid Upper Gunner) PoW, Discharged from the RAAF: 2 November 1945
Flight Sergeant John James Fallon (414546) (Rear Gunner)
Pilot Officer Samuel Johns DFC (425021) (Pilot) Safe, Later PoW: 29 July 1944, Discharged from the RAAF: 26 November 1946
Flying Officer C E Langston (J/27488) (RCAF) (Navigator) Safe, Later PoW: 29 July 1944
Flight Sergeant Bruce Peter Molloy (419472) (Wireless Operator Air Gunner) Safe, Later PoW: 29 July 1944, Discharged from the RAAF: 7 February 1946
Flight Sergeant Matthew John O’Leary (426379) (Bomb Aimer) Safe, Later PoW: 29 July 1944, Discharged from the RAAF: 14 September 1945
Sergeant L Smith (1271455) (RAFVR) (Flight Engineer) Safe

In his report the Pilot recorded “on leaving the target the aircraft was picked up by searchlight, but managed to get away. On approaching the coast on the way out, I was descending at an IAS of 240 knots and weaving when cannon shells hit the aircraft and went past the port side of the fuselage. I thought a fighter was making an attack from astern. On going back the Engineer reported a fire in the rear turret also the Rear Gunner and Mid Upper gunner missing. The aircraft was holed in the main plane, fuselage and tail plane, hydraulics were damaged, the Intercom was unserviceable and elevator trim tab useless as result of damage, otherwise no effect on handling.”

Flight Sergeant Dale (later Warrant Officer) reported “The aircraft was hit in the rear turret and the rear of the fuselage. The Intercom and Call light were unserviceable. The Rear Gunner had left the aircraft when I got to the rear. The remainder of the crew stayed in the aircraft and got back to base. The aircraft lost several thousand feet in a dive but it was unknown to me that at the time the pilot had control of the aircraft. The rear turret was on fire. I landed near the coast and was surrounded after landing.”

No. 463 Squadron lost Lancaster LM574 (Pilot Officer Jeoffrey Maxwell Tilbrook (417248) (Pilot)) on 25 June 1944.

No. 463 Squadron lost Lancaster LM571 (Pilot Officer John Francis Martin (16203) (Pilot)) on 25 June 1944.

No. 463 Squadron lost Lancaster M587 (Wing Commander Donald Roy Donaldson DFC (400631) (Pilot) (Commanding Officer No. 463 Squadron)) on 25 June 1944.

No. 467 Squadron lost Lancaster LM450 (Pilot Officer Arthur Albert William Berryman (415495) (Pilot)) on 25 June 1944.

No. 467 Squadron lost Lancaster ND729 (Flight Lieutenant Roland Reginald Cowan DFC (425278) (Pilot)) on 25 June 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, 166/13/255

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