Squadron Leader Carl Richard KELAHER

Service No: 267504 (also RAF Service No: 39465)
Born: Sydney NSW, 11 March 1913
Enlisted in the RAAF: 20 January 1936 (at RAAF Station Point Cook VIC)
Unit: No. 460 Squadron, RAF Binbrook, Lincolnshire
Died: Air Operations: (No. 460 Squadron Lancaster aircraft EE138), Denmark, 4 September 1943, Aged 30 Years
Buried: Unrecovered
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Charles Frederic and Mary Kelaher; husband of Rosalie Phyllis Kelaher, of South Kensington, London.
Roll of Honour: Sydney NSW
Remembered: Panel 187, Runnymede Memorial, Surrey UK
Remembered: Panel 107, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT

Date: 3-4 September 1943
Target: Berlin
Total Force: Dispatched – 320, Attacking – 295
RAAF Force: No. 460 Dispatched – 24, Attacking – 24; No. 467 Dispatched – 15, Attacking – 15
Tons of Bombs Dropped: 906
Total Aircraft Lost: 22
RAAF Aircraft Lost: No. 460 – 3; No.467 – 2

The third attack against Berlin on 3rd-4th September, although the smallest in numbers, was in some ways the most effective and caused heavy damage in the Siemenstadt, Charlottenburg and Mariendorf industrial suburbs. Four Mosquitos dropped decoy fighter flares well clear of the bomber stream and the usual diversionary attacks against towns and airfields were also mounted. The defences of Berlin were still strong, however, and the Australian squadrons suffered relatively high losses. No. 467, which had lost one commanding officer at Milan and his temporary relief three nights later at Peenemunde, now lost a newly-appointed flight commander, Flight Lieutenant Carmichael and one other crew. No. 460 also lost a flight commander (Squadron Leader Kelaher) and two other aircraft. One of these, captained by Flying Officer Randall, was badly crippled by gun fire and then by fighter attack over Berlin, but the pilot managed to fly it to Sweden before ordering his crew to bale out. Several other aircraft were badly damaged but the desperate battles with fighters had not brought any lowering of morale or determination. Flying Officer Gardner (1) continued his journey to bomb Berlin although his Lancaster had been badly damaged in a collision with another aircraft.

(1) Squadron Leader Clarence Charles Gardner DFC & Bar (416423) was discharged from the RAAF on 29 October 1945.

Extract from Herington, J. (John) (406545) Air War Against Germany and Italy 1939-1943, Australian War Memorial, Canberra, 1954 – Pages 581-582

Lancaster EE138 took off from RAF Binbrook at 1958 hours on 3 September 1943 to attack Berlin. The bomb load 1 x 4000 lb (pound) (1,800 kg) bomb, 48 x 30 lb (14 kg) and 630 x 4 lb (2 kg) incendiaries. Nothing was heard from the aircraft after take off and it failed to return to base. Post war enquiries and investigations established that the aircraft crashed and sank into a large water hole at Stadil, Denmark and all the crew members were killed. One unidentified body was recovered from the wreck and interred at Svine Cemetery on the Danish island of Zealand. On the 5 May 1950 a memorial was erected by local residents at Stadil at the site where the aircraft crashed.

The crew members of EE138 were:

Warrant Officer Ewin Garth Carthew (407963) (Navigator)
Sergeant John Cresswell Combes (1388894) (RAFVR) (Wireless Operator Air Gunner)
Flying Officer Sidney Milton Forrester (416558) (Second Pilot)
Sergeant Herbert Freeman Jowett (1685619) (RAFVR) (Flight Engineer)
Squadron Leader Carl Richard Kelaher (267504) (Pilot)
Sergeant Arthur Rolfe (1681963) (RAFVR) (Air Gunner)
Sergeant Ernest Albert Cecil Thirkettle (1217817) (RAFVR) (Air Gunner)
Warrant Officer Cyril Augustine Walsh (401605) (Bomb Aimer)

No. 460 Squadron lost Lancaster W4988 (Flight Sergeant Norman James Conway (413829) (Navigator) on 4 September 1943.

No. 460 Squadron lost Lancaster EE132 (Flight Sergeant Robert Barr McPhan (413788) (Pilot)) on 4 September 1943.

No. 467 Squadron Lancaster ED541 (Flight Lieutenant Reginald Carmichael (412391) (Pilot)) on 4 September 1943.

No. 467 Squadron lost Lancaster DV237 (Pilot Officer Ronald Vincent Turner (149548) (RAFVR) (Pilot)) on 4 September 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, 166/22/118


Firkins, P. C. (Peter Charles) (441386) Strike and Return, Westward Ho Publishing City Beach WA, 1985

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