Flight Sergeant Frank Bruce GILLAN

Service No: 409042
Born: Yea VIC, 17 March 1914
Enlisted in the RAAF: 21 June 1941
Unit: No. 12 Squadron (RAF), RAF Station Wickenby
Died: Air Operations: (No. 12 Squadron Lancaster aircraft W4925), Netherlands, 1 May 1943, Aged 29 Years
Buried: Winterswijk Cemetery, Gelderland, Netherlands
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Bruce and Gladys Gillan; husband of Lorna Mary Gillan, of Preston, Victoria, Australia
Roll of Honour: Yea VIC
Remembered: Panel 122, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT

Brother of Flying Officer Keith Gillan (401749)

Lancaster W4925 took off from Wickenby on the night of 30 April/1 May 1943 to bomb Essen, Germany. Nothing was heard from the aircraft after take-off and it failed to return to base. Post war it was established that the aircraft was shot down by a night fighter and crashed at 0240 hours on 1 May 1943 near Winterswijk (Gelderland) and all the crew members had been killed. A 1946 report by a Missing Research and Enquiry (MR&E) Unit stated “The Chief Inspector of Police at Winterswijk stated that about 0240 hours on 1 May 1943 a 4 engine English bomber was seen to be attacked by a German night fighter and burst into flames. A few minutes later the aircraft was seen to dive and crash on a farm belonging to J Prangen, Woold, K163, about 3 miles east of Winterswijk. At the time I was in a German concentration camp for anti-German activities, but one of my aides stated that the Germans had recovered 7 bodies on the day of the crash.” The MR&E Report went on to say “It may be assumed that Flight Sergeant Sheldon was killed by a direct hit by the attacking night fighter and that his body was destroyed when the aircraft disintegrated.”

The crew members of W4925 were:

Sergeant Leonard Gill (1351297) (RAFVR) (Mid Upper Gunner)
Flight Sergeant Frank Bruce Gillan (409042) (Second Pilot)
Flight Sergeant Kenneth Hall DFM (635059) (RAF) (Wireless Air Gunner)
Sergeant Jack Sidney Harris (1312247) (RAFVR) (Rear Gunner)
Sergeant Ronald Martin (1010657) (RAFVR) (Flight Engineer)
Flight Lieutenant James Wallace Potts (123653) (RAFVR) (Pilot)
Flight Sergeant Derek Sheldon (745491) (RAFVR) (Navigator)
Sergeant William Woodland (1318406) (RAFVR) (Bomb Aimer)


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, 166/15/42

Book Now Book Now