LEST WE FORGET
Flight Sergeant Phillip Roy GILL
Service No: 425153
Born: Brisbane QLD, 4 May 1923
Enlisted in the RAAF: 31 January 1942
Unit: No. 467 Squadron, RAF Waddington, Lincolnshire
Died: Air Operations: (No. 467 Squadron Lancaster aircraft ED867), Germany, 29 January 1944, Aged 20 years
Buried: Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery, Germany
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Walter Roy and Gertrude Doris Philimina Gill, of Coorparoo, Queensland, Australia.
Roll of Honour: Brisbane QLD
Remembered: Panel 110, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT
Date: 28-29 January 1944
Total Force: Dispatched – 680, Attacking – 596
RAAF Force: No. 460 Dispatched – 12, Attacking – 11; No. 463 Dispatched – 14, Attacking – 12; No. 466 Dispatched – 14, Attacking – 12; No. 467 Dispatched – 13, Attacking – 12
Tons of Bombs Dropped: 1,954
Total Aircraft Lost: 46
RAAF Aircraft Lost: No. 463 – 1; No. 466 – 3; No. 467 – 1
Yet another ruse was employed on 28th-29th January by sending a few Mosquitos to bomb Berlin several hours before the Lancasters and Halifaxes were due to arrive. Despite this and other diversionary means, the four Australian squadrons found an estimated 150 German fighters awaiting them. Twelve of the fifty-three Australian bombers were actually engaged in air combats but found that the tactics of taking the initiative and opening fire first staved off many attacks. The Halifaxes of No. 466 were very hotly beset. Of twelve aircraft which reached Berlin, three were shot down, including one captained by Squadron Leader McCormack; who was made prisoner. Two others were attacked twice by fighters over Berlin and three more had single combats during the return flight at positions up to 100 miles distant from the target. The loss-rate remained high at 6.3 per cent, but this was offset by the general success of the raid. For the first time the bombers found breaks in the cloud through which ground target indicators could be clearly seen. The supplementary sky markers were also well grouped so that there was little hesitation or indecision among bomb aimers. Squadron Leader Eric Arthur Gibson Utz DFC (403438), flying his second tour of operations, described this as “the most effective attack yet “, and for the first time fires appeared to amalgamate into a mass of flames too great for fire fighters to control.
Extracts from Herington, J. (John) (406545) Air War Against Germany and Italy 1939-1943, Australian War Memorial, Canberra, 1954 – Pages 643, 645
Lancaster ED867 took off from RAF Waddington at 0049 hours on the night of 28/29th January 1944 to bomb Berlin. Bomb load 1 x 4000 lb (pound) (1,800 kg) bomb, 48 x 30 lb (14 kg), 900 x 4 lb (2 kg) incendiaries. Nothing was heard from the aircraft after take off and it did not return to base. Thirteen aircraft from the Squadron took part in the raid and one of these ED 867 failed to return. Post war it was established that ED 867 crashed and all crew seven members were killed.
The crew members of ED867 were:
Sergeant Francis Alfred Aver (628423) (RAF) (Flight Engineer)
Flight Lieutenant Ivan George Durston DFC (414343) (Pilot)
Flight Lieutenant Harold Leonard Fry (130598) (RAFVR) (Navigator)
Flight Sergeant Sidney John Griffiths (171170) (RAFVR) (Bomb Aimer)
Flight Sergeant Phillip Roy Gill (425153) (Mid Upper Gunner)
Pilot Officer Robert Lanoel Ludlow (414711) (Wireless Operator Air Gunner)
Flight Sergeant Jack William Alexander Sutherland (417008) (Rear Gunner)
Flight Lieutenant Durston was on his 27th mission.
No. 463 Squadron lost Lancaster HK537 (Flight Lieutenant Norman Percival Cooper (29881) (Pilot)) on 29 January 1944.
No. 466 Squadron lost Halifax HX294 (Pilot Officer Jack Wilfred Tylor (406223) (Navigator)) on 29 January 1944.
No. 466 Squadron lost Halifax HX233 (Flight Lieutenant Frank Wharton Mack (412463) (Pilot)) on 29 January 1944.
No. 466 Squadron lost Halifax HX345 (Pilot Officer Leslie Dean Anderson (414121) (Navigator)) on 29 January 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, 166/15/182