Flying Officer Bryan Francis LAWLER

Service No: 409466
Born: Mildura VIC, 11 November 1919
Enlisted in the RAAF: 5 September 1941
Unit: No. 458 Squadron, Bone, Algeria
Died: Air Operations: (No. 458 Squadron Wellington aircraft JA408), Italy, 8 April 1944, Aged 24 Years
Buried: Unrecovered
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Ernest John and Alice Margaret Lawler, of Redcliffs, Victoria, Australia.
Roll of Honour: Unknown
Remembered: Panel 16, Column 1, Malta Memorial, Malta
Remembered: Panel 106, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT

Wellington JA408 took off on the night of 7/8th April 1944 to carry out an anti-sub patrol in the Spezia-Orbetello area. At 2304 hours on the 7th April news was received at base ‘425 2V/M 2V/S 44.16N 09.10E 200 8 2250’. Nothing further was heard from the aircraft and it failed to return to base.

The crew members of JA408 were:

Warrant Officer Donald Allen Anderson (401756) (Pilot)
Flight Sergeant Ronald Wilfred Gould (415523) (Wireless Air Gunner) Survived, Discharged from the RAAF: 10 January 1946
Flying Officer Bryan Francis Lawler (409466) (Second Pilot)
Warrant Officer Malcolm Thomas Foster Knox (415537), (Wireless Air Gunner)
Warrant Officer Alexander Edward McGee (420032) (Wireless Air Gunner)
Flight Sergeant W Scott (415211) (RNZAF) (Navigator) Survived

Flight Sergeants Scott and Gould later made the following statement: “During the mission the starboard engine cut out and could not be restarted. The Pilot decided to attempt to gain height and reach base if possible. Shortly after the aircraft was forced to ditch and all the crew successfully evacuated from the a/c. Due to mishaps only one dinghy was available and Flight Sergeants Scott and Gould and Warrant Officer McGee sat in it and the rest of the crew hung on. Those in the water eventually lost consciousness and relinquished their hold. Later McGee fell out of the dinghy and also disappeared. This took place during the hours of darkness. At daybreak Scott and Gould found they were about 10 miles off the island of Gorgona and started to paddle towards it. They reached land during the evening where they were immediately assisted by two American Officers and given hospital treatment.”


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, 166/24/414


Alexander, P. (Peter) We Find and Destroy: history of No. 458 Squadron, The 458 Squadron Council, 1959

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