LEARY Joseph 415259

LEST WE FORGET

Warrant Officer Joseph LEARY

Service No: 415259
Born: Fremantle WA, 18 February 1923
Enlisted in the RAAF: 17 August 1941
Unit: No. 460 Squadron, RAF Binbrook, Lincolnshire
Died: Air Operations: (No. 460 Squadron Lancaster aircraft ND364), France, 28 April 1944, Aged 21 Years
Buried: Terlincthun British Cemetery, Wimille, France
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Frank Cecil and Mildred Leary, of Claremont, Western Australia.
Roll of Honour: Perth WA
Remembered: Panel 107, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT
Remembered: Cenotaph Undercroft, State War Memorial, Kings Park WA

Friedrichshafen, on the shores of Lake Constance, a very important centre of aircraft, tank-engine, gearbox and radar production, was attacked on 27th-28th April by 322 aircraft drawn mainly from No. 1 Group. In addition to 20 Lancasters of No. 460 Squadron, 17 other Australians captained aircraft engaged on this raid which took place in good visibility from 20,000 feet. The initial marking was accurate and a “Master of Ceremonies” closely controlled the whole operation with the result that within 15 minutes the whole area was afire and rent by heavy explosions. Three Dornier factories, the Maybach tank-engine plant, the Zahnradfabrik works and the Zeppelin hangar were heavily damaged, together with more than half of the residential and business areas. The experiences of crews on this eight hours and a half flight varied widely, many captains reporting a quiet trip while later arrivals had to face fighters over the target. Three Lancasters of No. 460 were among the 21 shot down, and Pilot Officer Cullen of the same squadron, off course on his outward journey was heavily engaged by the Strasbourg gun defences but continued on to Friedrichshafen and brought his crippled aircraft safely home.

Extract from Herington, J. (John) (406545) Air War Over Europe 1944-1945, Australian War Memorial, Canberra, 1963 – Pages 18-19

Lancaster ND364 took off from RAF Binbrook at 2133 hours on 27 April 1944 to bomb Friedrichshafen, Germany. Bomb load 1 x 1000 lb (pound) (450 kg), 1 x 500 lb (225 kg) bombs, 84 x 30 lb (14 kg), 810 x 4 lb (2 kg) incendiaries. Nothing was heard from the aircraft after take off and it did not return to base. Twenty aircraft from the Squadron took part in the raid and three of these including ND 364 failed to return. Post war it was established that the aircraft exploded in mid air and crashed at Luxluin near Rupt-Sur-Mosselle (Vosges) France.

The crew members of ND364 were:

Flying Officer Leslie Walter Bown (406094) (Mid Upper Gunner)
Warrant Officer Allan John Farrar (420928) (Navigator)
Sergeant Thomas Evans Jones (1379411) (RAFVR) (Flight Engineer)
Warrant Officer Joseph Leary (415259) (Pilot)
Flight Sergeant Henry Gillon McAllister (21660) (Wireless Operator Air Gunner)
Flight Sergeant Arthur Robert Patterson (422684) (Bomb Aimer)
Sergeant Roy Stanley Pountney (1818557) (RAFVR) (Rear Gunner)

No. 460 Squadron lost Lancaster LM523 (Squadron Leader Eric George Delancey Jarman (404507) (Pilot)) on 28 April 1944.

No. 460 Squadron lost Lancaster LL906 (Flying Officer George Henry Brown (1338347) (RAFVR) (Pilot)) on 28 April 1944.

References:

Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour On-Line Records (RAAF Casualty Information compiled by Alan Storr (409804))
Chorley W R, Royal Air Force Bomber Command Losses of the Second World War – Volume 5 Aircraft and Aircrew Losses 1944, Midland counties Publications, 1997
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, 166/24/435

Bibliography:

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