LEST WE FORGET
Flight Sergeant Claude Charles LIERSCH
Service No: 421917
Born: Holbrook NSW, 10 May 1920
Enlisted in the RAAF: 24 April 1942
Unit: No. 460 Squadron, RAF Binbrook, Yorkshire
Died: Air Operations: (No. 460 Squadron Lancaster aircraft JB702), Germany, 21 January 1944, Aged 23 Years
Buried: Berlin 1939-45 War Cemetery, Germany
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Bernard and Rebecca Levenia Liersch, of Wagga Wagga, New South Wales, Australia.
Roll of Honour: Wagga Wagga NSW
Remembered: Panel 107, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT
Remembered: Victory Memorial Gardens Cenotaph, Wagga Wagga NSW
Date: 21-22 January 1944
Total Force: Dispatched – 648, Attacking – 585
RAAF Force: No. 460 Dispatched – 21, Attacking – 19; No. 463 Dispatched – 11, Attacking – 10; No. 466 Dispatched – 16, Attacking – 13: No. 467 Dispatched – 13, Attacking – 13
Tons of Bombs Dropped: 2,024
Total Aircraft Lost: 55
RAAF Aircraft Lost: No. 460 – 1; No. 466 – 1; No. 467 – 1
Again on 21st-22nd January the raid on Magdeburg was another nearly total failure. The diversionary attack on Berlin failed to distract the enemy fighters which waited for the bomber stream near Hamburg and then flew with it to the target. Only one Australian Lancaster was attacked, but several crews found that their visual-warning radar sets were jammed by enemy counter-measures and voiced the fear that fighters were homing on transmissions from these sets. One Halifax of No. 466 was badly damaged in a collision with another bomber and had to return early while several more RAAF aircraft were damaged by gun fire. Visibility at the target was good but enemy decoy markers misled the later Pathfinders so that nearly all the bombs fell outside the city. Australian crews were sharply divided in their reports, those early at the target declaring that only scattered incendiary fires were apparent while the late arrivals, who undoubtedly bombed decoys, were enthusiastic about the huge fires apparent on the ground. Only the southern suburbs sustained real damage with results of military value at the Krupp Crusonwerke tank factory.
Extract from Herington, J. (John) (406545) Air War Against Germany and Italy 1939-1943, Australian War Memorial, Canberra, 1954 – Pages 655, 658
Lancaster JB702 took off from RAF Binbrook at 1945 hours on 21 January 1944 to bomb Magdeburg, Germany. Bomb load 1 x 4,000 lb (pound) (1,800 kg) bomb, 56 x 30 lb (14 kg), 1350 x 4 lb (2 kg) incendiaries. Nothing was heard from the aircraft after take off and it did not return to base. Twenty one aircraft from the squadron took part in the raid. Post war it was established that the aircraft was hit by anti-aircraft fire at 2200 hours on 21 January 1944 over the village of Raines and set on fire. Wreckage was scattered over a wide area. All the crew members were killed in the crash.
The crew members of JB702 were:
Pilot Officer Robert Norman Allan (416830) (Pilot)
Flight Sergeant William Robert Chadwick (421791) (Wireless Operator Air Gunner)
Flight Sergeant Claude Charles Liersch (421917) (Air Gunner)
Sergeant William Arthur McCauley (1804429) (RAFVR) (Flight Engineer)
Flight Sergeant Charles William Reed (426685) (Air Gunner)
Pilot Officer Edward George Thomas (403288) (Navigator)
Flight Sergeant Malcolm Ralph Trout (416904) (Bomb Aimer)
No. 466 Squadron lost Halifax HX312 (Flight Sergeant Conrad George Johnston (412066) (Pilot)) on 22 January 1944.
No. 467 Squadron lost Lancaster ED803 (Pilot Officer Jack Mitchell (408312) (Pilot)) on 22 January 1944.
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, 166/24/264
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