LYON Andrew Wallace 427522

LEST WE FORGET

Warrant Officer Andrew Wallace LYON

Service No: 427522
Born: Fremantle WA, 1 July 1914
Enlisted in the RAAF: 19 July 1942
Unit: No. 148 Squadron (RAF), Brindisi, Italy
Died: Air Operations: (No. 148 Squadron Halifax aircraft L380), Yugoslavia, 4 January 1945, Aged 30 Years
Buried: Belgrade War Cemetery, Serbia
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Francis Andrew and Freda Louisa Caroline Lyon; husband of Joy Lyon, of Mosman Park, Western Australia.
Roll of Honour: Perth WA
Remembered: Panel 126, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT
Remembered: Cenotaph Undercroft, State War Memorial, Kings Park WA

Halifax L380 took off on 4th January 1945, detailed to carry out a daytime supply drop at Icarus, Yugoslavia. Nothing was heard from the aircraft after take off and it failed to return to base. It was later reported that the aircraft crashed and three of the crew were killed and four survived.

The crew members of L380 were:

Sergeant W M Breen (1896143) (RAFVR) (Flight Engineer) Evaded Capture
Sergeant R Bromley (1804442) (RAFVR) (Air Gunner) Evaded Capture
Warrant Officer George Robert Colquhoun Lowe (419502) (Bomb Aimer)
Warrant Officer Andrew Wallace Lyon (427522) (Navigator)
Warrant Officer Charles William Rowe (428361) (Wireless Operator Air Gunner) PoW, Discharged from the RAAF: 12 February 1946
Sergeant R J Towner (1897766) (RAFVR) (Air Gunner) Evaded Capture
Flying Officer Gordon Murray Walker (418610) (Pilot)

A later report by Warrant Officer Rowe who was captured by the Germans stated “ the aircraft received direct hits from anti-aircraft fire and the Captain ordered the crew to bale out. All members baled out except Flying Officer Walker and Warrant Officer Lyon the Navigator, who was seen by Warrant Officer Rowe lying near the front hatch, having apparently been killed by anti-aircraft fire. When I baled out, the aircraft was only at 150 feet, and I was the last to bale out. After that the aircraft was too low for the Captain to bale out. Warrant Officer Lowe the bomb aimer was shot while descending in his chute and was buried by Yugoslav Partisans in a wood near Sisak.

Sergeant Bromley and Sergeant Towner later stated in their report “ we baled out but were unable to see what happened to the remainder of the crew. We landed on the edge of a wood about 10 kms south of Sisak, abandoned our parachutes which were damaged and contacted some woodcutters who were working in another wood about half a mile away. These men took me to a partisan HQ which was nearby, Breen who was badly burned about his face and hands, was then treated by a partisan doctor. Later that day I saw two badly damaged parachutes which they stated belonged to Rowe and Lowe. The partisans told me they had buried Lowe within half a mile of where I had landed, and that Warrant Officer Rowe had been captured by the Germans. They also told me that the aircraft had been completely destroyed by fire and that they had been unable to find any traces of the remainder of the crew although they had searched for 12 hours.

References:

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 166/25/246