LEST WE FORGET
Flying Officer Graham FRYER
Service No: 420654
Born: Rose Bay NSW, 9 May 1919
Enlisted in the RAAF: 9 November 1941
Unit: No. 463 Squadron, RAF Waddington, Lincolnshire
Died: Air Operations: (No. 463 Squadron Lancaster aircraft LM439), France, 4 May 1944, Aged 24 Years
Buried: Poivres Churchyard Cemetery, Aube, France
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Alfred Randal Fryer and Margaret Adelaide Fryer, of Hurlstone Park, New South Wales, Australia
Roll of Honour: Canterbury NSW
Remembered: Panel 109, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT
Other attacks designed to cripple German potential in subsequent battles (following the D-Day landings) were, however, in progress at the same time, and during May Bomber Command made heavy attacks on two of the largest German military camps in western Europe. Thus on 3rd-4th May 338 heavy bombers, including 17 from No. 460, 12 from No. 463 and 10 from No. 467 raided Mailly-le-Camp, a tank depot and park then housing considerable elements of the 21st Panzer Division, the main training centre in France for German armoured units. To ensure good results, a calculated risk was taken in dispatching this force in good visibility and bright moonlight. The Luftwaffe reacted promptly, and in very heavy engagements 42 bombers, including seven (1) from the RAAF squadrons were shot down. The bombing from between 5,000 to 8,000 feet was very efficient, however, and the damage inflicted was on a tremendous scale. In one section of the camp, out of 47 buildings housing the transport section and barracks, 34 were totally destroyed and the others severely damaged, while in another large group of barrack buildings almost all were heavily hit. The report of the commander of the 21st Panzer Division stated:
The main concentration was accurately aimed at the most important permanent buildings, the ammunition stores and an anti-aircraft battery . . . in that part of the camp which was destroyed, concentration of bombs was so great that not only did the splinter proof trenches receive direct hits, but even the bombs which missed choked them up and caused the sides to cave in . . . .
(1) Eight Lancaster aircraft from RAAF Squadrons were lost on 4 May 1944, but No. 460 Squadron Lancaster ND860 was crewed by members of No. 101 Squadron (RAF) who were from the RAFVR.
Extract from Herington, J. (John) (406545) Air War Over Europe 1944-1945, Australian War Memorial, Canberra, 1963 – Page 37
Lancaster LM439 took off from RAF Waddington at 2151 hours on the night of 3/4th May 1944 to bomb military installations at Mailly-Le-Camp, France. The bomb load 1 x 4000 lb (pound) (1,800 kg), 16 x 500 lb (225 kg) bombs. Nothing was heard from the aircraft after take off and it did not return to base. Twelve aircraft from the Squadron took part in the raid and one of these LM 439 failed to return. Post war it was established that the aircraft was shot down when approaching the aiming point and crashed at Poivres (Aube) 20 kms north north east of Arcis-sur-Aube and all the crew members were killed
The crew members of LM439 were:
Flying Officer Graham Fryer (420654) (Pilot)
Sergeant Robert Johnstone Gracey (1345468) (RAFVR) (Flight Engineer)
Flight Sergeant Joseph Healy (1463267) (RAFVR) (Bomb Aimer)
Sergeant Kenneth William Owen (1397974) (RAFVR) (Air Gunner)
Flight Sergeant Edwin Andrew Stone (1335602) (RAFVR) (Wireless Operator Air Gunner)
Flying Officer John Bernard Ward (1483329) (RAFVR) (Navigator)
Flying Officer Henry Edward Williams (421386) (Air Gunner)
No. 460 Squadron lost Lancaster ME740 (Flight Sergeant Herbert James George Fry (416945) (Pilot)) on 4 May 1944.
No. 460 Squadron lost Lancaster ND630 (Pilot Officer Joseph William Smart (409760) (Pilot)) on 4 May 1944.
No. 460 Squadron lost Lancaster ME728 (Pilot Officer Norman David Livingstone Lloyd (414050) (Pilot)) on 4 May 1944.
No. 460 Squadron lost Lancaster JB741 (Flying Officer Francis William Baker (54076) (RAF) (Pilot)) on 4 May 1944.
No. 460 Squadron lost Lancaster LM531 (Warrant Officer George Kenneth Gritty (1375424) (RAFVR) (Pilot)) on 4 May 1944.
No. 460 Squadron lost Lancaster ND860 (Flight Lieutenant William Edgar Hull (125522) (RAFVR) (Pilot)) on 4 May 1944.
No. 467 Squadron lost Lancaster JA 901 (Pilot Officer Colin Dickson (422038) (Pilot)) on 4 May 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, 166/14/201