LEST WE FORGET
Flight Sergeant George Henry IRVIN
Service No: 422031
Born: Wonthaggi VIC, 6 May 1920
Enlisted in the RAAF: 24 April 1942 (at Sydney NSW)
Unit: No. 460 Squadron, RAF Binbrook, Lincolnshire
Died: Air Operations: (No. 460 Squadron Lancaster aircraft JB298), Germany, 29 December 1943, Aged 23 Years
Buried: Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery, Germany
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Leslie D. and Christina Mary Irvin, of Mangoplah, New South Wales, Australia.
Roll of Honour: Wagga Wagga NSW
Remembered: Panel 107, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT
Remembered: Griffith Cenotaph, Griffith NSW
Remembered: Victory Memorial Gardens Cenotaph, Wagga Wagga NSW
Date: 29-30 December 1943
Total Force: Dispatched – 712, Attacking – 656
RAAF Force: No. 460 Dispatched – 22, Attacking –22; No. 463 Dispatched – 11, Attacking – 11; No. 466 Dispatched – 15, Attacking – 14; No. 467 Dispatched – 13, Attacking – 13
Tons of Bombs Dropped: 2,315
Total Aircraft Lost: 20
RAAF Aircraft Lost: No. 460 – 2; No. 467 – 1
Success came on 29th-30th December when No. 466 and other Halifax squadrons were included in the attacking force. The Pathfinders were on time and the target indicators as checked by H2S (radar) sets in both Nos. 460 and 466 were accurately laid, so, with enemy fighters lured away to Magdeburg and Leipzig, an unhurried approach was possible. The searchlight defences were unaccountably weak, but gun fire was heavier than usual, changing from predicted radar-controlled fire to barrage fire as the Window technique disorganised enemy radar. Flying Officer Reynolds (1) of No. 467 was about to attack when gun fire ignited his incendiary bombs, but by diving steeply and jettisoning his bombs he prevented the fire from spreading. Flight Sergeant Burcher (2) of No. 10 Squadron RAF was also hit immediately before bombing but held level with one engine on fire for two minutes so that he could finish his correct approach to bomb. When he succeeded in extinguishing the fire he began his homeward trip on three engines, only to have a second one fail before he reached an emergency airfield in England.
(1) Flying Officer Colin Irwin Reynolds (415276) was killed in air operations (No. 467 Squadron Lancaster aircraft ED 994) on 6 January 1944.
(2) Flight Lieutenant George Martin Burcher DFC DFM (420536) was discharged from the RAAF on 8 February 1946.
Extracts from Herington, J. (John) (406545) Air War Against Germany and Italy 1939-1943, Australian War Memorial, Canberra, 1954 – Pages 637, 641-2
Lancaster JB298 took off from RAF Binbrook on the night of 28/29th December 1943 detailed to attack Berlin. The bomb load was 1 x 4000 lb (pound) (1,800 kg), 56 x 30 lb (14 kg), 1100 x 4 lb (2 kg) and 120 x 4 lb (2 kg) incendiaries. The aircraft failed to return to base after the mission. Following post war enquiries it was established that the aircraft exploded in the air over Gross Ziethen on the southern outskirts of Berlin, and all the crew must have been killed instantly.
The crew members of JB 298 were:
Flying Officer Glen Patrick Beattie (425263) (Wireless Operator Air Gunner)
Sergeant Raymond Garside (1684808) (RAFVR) (Flight Engineer)
Flying Officer Joseph Peter Grant (410483) (Navigator)
Flight Sergeant George Henry Irvin (422031) (Mid Upper Gunner)
Flying Officer Ronald Keith McIntyre (414721) (Pilot)
Flying Officer James Poole (421852) (Bomb Aimer)
Pilot Officer William Ralph Read (51669) (RAF) (Rear Gunner)
No. 460 Squadron lost Lancaster JB607 (Pilot Officer Stanley James Ireland (412010) (Pilot)) on 29 December 1943.
No. 467 Squadron lost Lancaster ED547 (Pilot Officer Bruce Alexander Tait (409252) (Pilot)) on 29 December 1943
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, 166/19/39
Register of War Memorials in New South Wales On-Line
Firkins, P. C. (Peter Charles) (441386) Strike and Return, Westward Ho Publishing City Beach WA, 1985