MARTIN Dennis Lodge 8811

LEST WE FORGET

Flight Sergeant Dennis Lodge MARTIN

Service No: 8811
Born: Cottesloe WA, 16 October 1916
Enlisted in the RAAF: 6 February 1940
Unit: No. 21 Squadron, Morotai
Died: Air Operations: Balikpapan (No. 24 Squadron Liberator aircraft A72-61) Borneo, 1 July 1945, Aged 28 Years
Buried: Unrecovered
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Norman and Joan Sutter Martin, of Perth, Western Australia; husband of Sylvia Martin, of Maidstone, Victoria.
Roll of Honour: Unknown
Remembered: Panel 32, Labuan Memorial, Malaysia
Remembered: Panel 101, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT
Remembered: Cenotaph Undercroft, State War Memorial, Kings Park WA

In the afternoon of assault day (assault on Balikpapan, 1 July 1945), the relieving air observation aircraft (another Liberator of No. 24 Squadron, captained by Group Captain McLean, the newly-appointed Commanding officer of No. 82 Wing) was hit by anti-aircraft fire, badly damaged, and had to be set down in the sea. Some of the crew had managed to parachute into the sea and were picked up by surface craft, but the others, including McLean, were lost.

Extract from Odgers, G. (George) Air War Against Japan 1943-1945, Australian War Memorial, Canberra, 1957 – page 485

Group Captain Donald McLean, formerly Commanding Officer of No. 21 Squadron, had recently replaced Group Captain Deryck William Kingwell (O346) as commander of 82 Wing, while Kingwell returned to Australia to take command of 7 OTU (Operational Training Unit) at Tocumwal. McLean was piloting A72-6l on an air observation sortie over the beaches (near Balikpapan) when the Liberator was heavily damaged by anti-aircraft fire. He decided there was no alternative but to ditch the crippled bomber in the sea. Most of the crew bailed out before the aircraft hit the water and were rescued, but four, including McLean and RAAF intelligence officer Flight Lieutenant J. A. Roy, went down with it.

Extract from Nelmes, M.V. (Michael) Tocumwal to Tarakan: Australians and the Consolidated B-24 Liberator, Banner Books Belconnen ACT 2616, 1994 – Page 114

The crew members of A72-61 were:

Warrant Officer Harley Russell Bardwell (419950) (Wireless Operator Air Gunner)
Pilot Officer George Cobban (422422) (Second Pilot) Rescued, Discharged from the RAAF: 27 February 1946
Warrant Officer Jeffrey Benjamin Franklin (412582) (Wireless Operator Air Gunner) Rescued, Discharged from the RAAF on 27 February 1946
Flight Sergeant Kenneth Alfred Gibson (439649) (Wireless Operator Air Gunner) Rescued, Discharged from the RAAF: Date Unavailable
Flight Sergeant John Hill Gilman (116553) (Air Gunner) Rescued, discharged from the RAAF: 2 October 1945
Captain Frederick Bernard Haydon (NX12255) Rescued: Discharged from the Australian Army: 9 November 1945
Leading Aircraftman Ronald Percy Irving (72256) Rescued, Discharged from the RAAF: 7 September 1945
Flight Sergeant Dennis Lodge Martin (8811) (Flight Engineer)
Group Captain Donald McLean (78) (Pilot)
Flight Lieutenant Roy Edward Percival (413030) (Navigator) Rescued, Discharged from the RAAF: 28 June 1946
Flight Lieutenant John Alfred Roy (266200) (Intelligence Officer)
Flight Sergeant John Joseph Stanley (12584) (Air Gunner) Rescued, Discharged from the RAAF: 19 November 1945
Flight Sergeant Allen Joseph Stuart (438881) (Air Gunner) Rescued, Discharged from the RAAF; 15 January 1946
Captain Floyd Stanley Walsh (VX16965), Rescued, Discharged from the Australian Army: 7 May 1968

References:

Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour On-Line Records
Commonwealth War Graves Commission On-Line Records
Department of Veteran’s Affairs On-Line WWII Nominal Roll
National Archives of Australia On-Line Record A9845, 71

Bibliography:

Nelmes, M.V. (Michael) Tocumwal to Tarakan: Australians and the Consolidated B-24 Liberator, Banner Books Belconnen ACT 2616, 1994
Wilson, S. (Stewart) Boston, Mitchell and Liberator in Australian Service, Aerospace Publications Weston Creek ACT 2611, 1992