LEST WE FORGET
Flight Lieutenant Wallace MARTIN DFC
Service No: 402450
Born: Scone NSW, 17 September 1919
Enlisted in the RAAF: 19 August 1940
Unit: No. 464 Squadron
Awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC), 13 November 1942 (Citation Title: No. 107 Squadron RAF)
Died: Air Operations: (No. 21 Squadron Ventura aircraft AE940), Netherlands, 6 December 1942, Aged 23 Years
Buried: Eindhoven (Woensel) General Cemetery, Noord-Brabant, Netherlands
CWGC Additional Information: Son of John and Mary Martin, of Murrurundi, New South Wales, Australia
Roll of Honour: Murrurundi NSW
Remembered: Panel 127, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT
DFC Citation (for service with No. 107 Squadron RAF): In September 1942, this officer navigated the leading aircraft of a section which attacked a whale oil ship off Cherbourg. Although the attack was executed in the face of heavy anti-aircraft fire, the ship received severe damage and was later seen to be partially submerged. Pilot Officer Martin’s accurate bombing contributed in a large measure to the success obtained. Some days later, he participated in a successful low level bombing attack on a factory. This officer’s skilful navigation has resulted in locating 2 dinghies on the sea; in consequence seven lives were saved. Pilot Officer Martin has displayed skill and determination of a high order. (London Gazette 13 November 1942 Page 4927)
Ventura AE940 took off from RAF Methwold at 1127 hours on the 6 December 1942 to bomb the Phillips Radio valve factory at Eindhoven, Netherlands. Nothing was heard from the aircraft after take off and it did not return to base. Later it was established later that all the crew had been killed and they are buried in the Eindhoven (Woensel) General Cemetery. Flight Lieutenant Martin accompanied the No. 21 Squadron crew to provide navigation and bombing expertise.
The crew members of AE940 were:
Sergeant Walter Percy Gregory (9616700 (RAFVR) (Wireless Air Gunner) (No. 21 Squadron)
Flight Lieutenant Wallace Martin DFC (402450) (Navigator) (No. 464 Squadron Navigation Leader)
Sergeant Arthur Thomas Milton (1378025) (RAFVR) (Wireless Air Gunner) (No. 21 Squadron)
Flight Lieutenant Kenneth Samuel Smith (82499) (RAF) (Pilot) (No. 21 Squadron)
The mission was 464 Squadron’s first operational mission. The 464 Squadron aircraft formed up with aircraft from No. 487 Squadron (RNZAF) and No. 21 Squadron (RAF), a total of 47 aircraft mission of which nine failed to return. The formation was led by the Commanding Officer No. 464 Squadron Wing Commander Ronald Hillyard Young CBE DSO AFC MID (32214) (RAF).
The 464 Squadron Operations Record Book records the following “All Squadron aircraft took off on 6 December 1942 and formed with Nos. 487 and 21 Squadrons. The target was the Phillips Radio valve factory at Eindhoven. Low level was maintained by the formation and was uneventful until the Dutch coast was crossed when a good deal of light flak was experienced. This produced the first casualty when one machine was seen to dive into the sea but nobody knew who it was. The route taken was slightly south of track which led to the crossing of an enemy emergency landing ground which was well defended. The flak was extremely accurate and accounted for another aircraft piloted by Commanding Officer No. 487 Squadron, Wing Commander Francis Cecil Seavill (29216) (RAF). The aircraft was seen to blow up and crash in flames on the aerodrome. Sergeant Swan (RCAF) was also hit at this stage when 5 feet of the port main plane was shot away. He jettisoned the bombs which were seen to burst on a gun emplacement and made a safe return to base. Pilot Officer Sydney Charles Bertram Abbott DFC (400404) was also hit by a flak shell in the port engine but continued to the target, bombed and made it back to base. Heavy opposition was met over the target by flak guns mounted on the roof. Ventura AE702 (Flying Officer Maurice Gordon Moor (J/10139) (RCAF)) was shot down by the flak and was seen to dive into houses surrounding the target area. Course was set for home at low level. Heavy opposition by flak again met on crossing the Dutch coast. All machines and some members of crews suffered damage with birds, seagulls and ducks being brought back jammed in various positions with some penetrating the Perspex. Wing Commander Young who led the formation was awarded the DSO and Flight Lieutenant E F Hart (45488) (RAF) his Navigator the DFC.”
The Dutch Government conveyed their appreciation for the gallantry of the crews.
No. 464 Squadron lost Ventura AE702 (Sergeant Mervyn Lionel Vivian Hass (414026) (Air Gunner)) on 6 December 1942.
No. 464 squadron lost Ventura AE945 (Sergeant Farquharson Proctor (8063) (Air Gunner)) on 6 December 1942
No. 464 Squadron lost Ventura AJ213 (Sergeant Stanley Charles Moss (408513) (Pilot)) on 6 December 1942.
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, 163/44/181
Lax, M. (Mark) and Leon Kane-Maguire The Gestapo Hunters: 464 Squadron RAAF 1942-5, Banner Books Maryborough QLD 4650, 1999