Flight Sergeant Frank Malcolm HERNE

Service No: 434645
Born: Lismore NSW, 5 November 1924
Enlisted in the RAAF: 1 January 1943
Unit: No. 466 Squadron, RAF Station Driffield, Yorkshire
Died: Air Operations: (No. 466 Squadron Halifax aircraft LW372), Germany, 6 October 1944, Aged 19 Years
Buried: Reichswald Forest War Cemetery, Kleve, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Stanley Charles and Eileen Johanna Herne, of South Gundurimba, New South Wales, Australia
Roll of Honour: Lismore NSW
Remembered: Panel 110, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT
Remembered: Lismore Cenotaph, Lismore NSW

Temporarily good weather on 6th October encouraged No. 4 Group to make a carefully-prepared attempt to put Sterkrade-Holten out of action. The bombing force of 126 Halifaxes (33 from Driffield) was backed up by no fewer than 23 Lancasters and 10 Mosquitos of No. 8 Path Finder force Group to ensure if possible that, irrespective of local conditions, there would be well-laid target markers. Heavy fighter protection mainly by Spitfire squadrons was provided to prevent the enemy from attacking and dispersing the force in time and space during the outward journey and thus preventing them from reaching or identifying the small target in time to attack. Both factors, together with the absence of cloud, worked in favour of No. 4 Group on 6th October, and the bombers were not molested by fighters but appeared compactly and on time over Sterkrade to see a good pattern of markers. Many crews were able to identify the oil plant visually in relation to the markers and there was a notably high proportion of target photographs obtained at the moment of bomb release, 13 crews of No. 462 and 11 of No. 466 returning with this evidence to confirm their efforts. More detailed later reconnaissance showed a heavy concentration of damage in the north-west area of the plant where the compressor house, ammonia-synthesis building, catalyst and research sections were all hit heavily.

Extracts from Herington, J. (John) (406545) Air War Against Germany and Italy 1939-1943, Australian War Memorial, Canberra, 1954 – Page 218-9

Halifax LW372 took off from RAF Driffield at 1406 hours on 6 October 1944 on a day mission to bomb Sterkrade, Germany. Sixteen aircraft from the Squadron took part in the braid and of these LW372 failed to return. The Operations Record Book records that “the aircraft was seen to be shot down and two chutes were seen by other crews on the mission”

The crew members of LW372 were:

Flight Sergeant Frank Malcolm Herne (434645) (Mid Upper Gunner)
Sergeant P D Jack (1821450) (RAFVR) (Flight Engineer) PoW
Flying Officer Terence James Kenyon (426439) (Pilot)
Flight Sergeant Ronald Charles Klezel (429581) (Navigator)
Pilot Officer Peter Redgrave Lord (408486) (Second Pilot)
Flight Sergeant Trevor Alwyn McManus (429612) (Wireless Operator Air Gunner)
Flight Sergeant Nicholas Francis Robinson (419540) (Rear Gunner)
Flight Sergeant Bryan De Bernal White (425241) (Bomb Aimer)

Sergeant Jack later reported the aircraft had crashed near Duisberg and that he was blown out of the aircraft.


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, 166/17/777
Register of War Memorials in New South Wales On-Line

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