LEST WE FORGET
Flight Lieutenant Frank Wharton MACK
Service No: 412463
Born: Sydney NSW, 20 November 1912
Enlisted in the RAAF: 20 July 1941
Unit: No. 466 Squadron, RAF Leconfield, Yorkshire
Died: Air Operations: Long Distance Raids (No. 466 Squadron Halifax aircraft HX233), Germany, 29 January 1944, Aged 31 years
Buried: Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery, Germany
CWGC Additional Information: Son of George Carmichael Mack and Phillis Wharton Mack; husband of Hilda Marron Mitchell Mack, of Ryrie, New South Wales, Australia.
Roll of Honour: Trangie NSW
Remembered: Panel 110, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT
Remembered: Narromine Cenotaph, Narromine NSW
Date: 28-29 January 1944
Total Force: Dispatched – 680, Attacking – 596
RAAF Force: No. 460 Dispatched – 12, Attacking – 11; No. 463 Dispatched – 14, Attacking – 12; No. 466 Dispatched – 14, Attacking – 12; No. 467 Dispatched – 13, Attacking – 12
Tons of Bombs Dropped: 1,954
Total Aircraft Lost: 46
RAAF Aircraft Lost: No. 463 – 1; No. 466 – 3; No. 467 – 1
Yet another ruse was employed on 28th-29th January by sending a few Mosquitos to bomb Berlin several hours before the Lancasters and Halifaxes were due to arrive. Despite this and other diversionary means, the four Australian squadrons found an estimated 150 German fighters awaiting them. Twelve of the fifty-three Australian bombers were actually engaged in air combats but found that the tactics of taking the initiative and opening fire first staved off many attacks. The Halifaxes of No. 466 were very hotly beset. Of twelve aircraft which reached Berlin, three were shot down, including one captained by Squadron Leader McCormack; who was made prisoner. Two others were attacked twice by fighters over Berlin and three more had single combats during the return flight at positions up to 100 miles distant from the target. The loss-rate remained high at 6.3 per cent, but this was offset by the general success of the raid. For the first time the bombers found breaks in the cloud through which ground target indicators could be clearly seen. The supplementary sky markers were also well grouped so that there was little hesitation or indecision among bomb aimers. Squadron Leader Eric Arthur Gibson Utz DFC (403438), flying his second tour of operations, described this as “the most effective attack yet “, and for the first time fires appeared to amalgamate into a mass of flames too great for fire fighters to control.
Extracts from Herington, J. (John) (406545) Air War Against Germany and Italy 1939-1943, Australian War Memorial, Canberra, 1954 – Pages 643, 645
Halifax HX233 took off from RAF Leconfield at 0024 hours on the night of 28/29th January 1944 to bomb Berlin. Fourteen aircraft took part in the raid and three of these including HX233 failed to return. Post war it was established that the aircraft was shot down by a night fighter after bombing the target. HX 233 exploded in the air and crashed in fields near the village of Hirschfelde, approximately 18 miles north east of Berlin.
The crew members of HX233 were:
Flight Sergeant David Sydney Alexander (420109) (Rear Gunner)
Sergeant Cedric Jack Barron (527275) (RAF) (Wireless Operator Air Gunner)
Flight Sergeant Douglas James Cowin (421250) (Second Pilot)
Pilot Officer H G Hunt (160591) (RAFVR) (Bomb Aimer) PoW
Flight Lieutenant Frank Wharton Mack (412463) (Pilot)
Flight Sergeant Allen Morgan (429601) (Mid Upper Gunner)
Pilot Officer N E Ward (140876) (RAFVR) (Navigator) PoW
Sergeant Harold James Wright (2203494) (RAFVR) (Flight Engineer)
Pilot Officer Ward in a later report stated “The aircraft was probably hit by ack-ack over Berlin. Then shortly after leaving we were attacked at 19,000 feet by a night fighter. The aircraft was on fire and bale out ordered. Believe the Mid Upper Gunner was killed by fire from the night fighter. The WAG seems to have baled out but nothing further heard of him. The Bomb Aimer a PoW. Nothing known re rest of crew. The Germans said four were in the wrecked aircraft.”
Leconfield Operation order No 136 for the above mission required:
466 Squadron: Sixteen aircraft (fourteen aircraft took off)
Route: Base – Flamboro – 55.10N 07.00E – 55.10N 10.35E – Target – 52.23N 13.45E – 52.35N 14.05E – 55.10N 10.10E – 55.10N 07.00E – Flamboro – Base.
All aircraft to carry 2 x 1000 lb (pound) (450 kg) 2 x 500 lb (225 kg) bombs, Clusters 5 SBC (90 x 4) 3 SBC (8 x 30).
All aircraft to carry Monica.
All aircraft except D and Z to be equipped with H2S (radar)
No. 463 Squadron lost Lancaster HK537 (Flight Lieutenant Norman Percival Cooper (29881) (Pilot)) on 29 January 1944.
No. 466 Squadron lost Halifax HX345 (Pilot Officer Leslie Dean Anderson (414121) (Navigator)) on 29 January 1944.
No. 466 Squadron lost Halifax HX294 (Pilot Officer Jack Wilfred Tylor (406223) (Navigator)) on 29 January 1944.
No. 467 Squadron lost Lancaster ED867 (Flight Lieutenant Ivan George Durston DFC (414343) (Pilot)) on 29 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, 163/142/353
Register of War Memorials in New South Wales On-Line