Flight Sergeant Robert Barr McPHAN

Service No: 413788
Born: Quandary NSW, 25 January 1913
Enlisted in the RAAF: 13 September 1941
Unit: No. 460 Squadron, RAF Binbrook, Lincolnshire
Died: Air Operations: (No. 460 Squadron Lancaster aircraft EE132, Netherlands, 3 September 1943, Aged 30 Years
Buried: Amersfoort (Oud Leusden) General Cemetery, Netherlands
CWGC Additional Information: Son of William Callen McPhan and Martha McPhan, of Kanwal, New South Wales, Australia.
Roll of Honour: Wyong NSW
Remembered: Panel 108, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT
Remembered: Wyong War Memorial, Wyong NSW

Date: 3-4 September 1943
Target: Berlin
Total Force: Dispatched – 320, Attacking – 295
RAAF Force: No. 460 Dispatched – 24, Attacking – 24; No. 467 Dispatched – 15, Attacking – 15
Tons of Bombs Dropped: 906
Total Aircraft Lost: 22
RAAF Aircraft Lost: No. 460 – 3; No. 467 – 2

The third attack against Berlin on 3rd-4th September, although the smallest in numbers, was in some ways the most effective and caused heavy damage in the Siemenstadt, Charlottenburg and Mariendorf industrial suburbs. Four Mosquitos dropped decoy fighter flares well clear of the bomber stream and the usual diversionary attacks against towns and airfields were also mounted. The defences of Berlin were still strong, however, and the Australian squadrons suffered relatively high losses. No. 467, which had lost one commanding officer at Milan and his temporary relief
three nights later at Peenemunde, now lost a newly-appointed flight commander, Flight Lieutenant Carmichael and one other crew. No. 460 also lost a flight commander (Squadron Leader Kelaher) and two other aircraft. One of these, captained by Flying Officer Randall, was badly crippled by gun fire and then by fighter attack over Berlin, but the pilot managed to fly it to Sweden before ordering his crew to bale out. Several other aircraft were badly damaged but the desperate battles with fighters had not brought any lowering of morale or determination. Flying Officer Gardner (10 continued his journey to bomb Berlin although his Lancaster had been badly damaged in a collision with another aircraft.

(1) Squadron Leader Clarence Charles Gardner DFC & Bar (416423) was discharged from the RAAF on 29 October 1945.

Extract from Herington, J. (John) (406545) Air War Against Germany and Italy 1939-1943, Australian War Memorial, Canberra, 1954 – Pages 581-582

Lancaster EE132 took off from RAF Binbrook at 1940 hours on 3 September 1943 to attack Berlin. The bomb load was 1 x 4000 lb (pound) (1,800 kg) bomb, 48 x 30 lb (14 kg) and 690 x 4 lb (2 kg) incendiaries. Nothing was heard from the aircraft after take off and it did not return to base. Post war it was established that the aircraft crashed on 3 September and exploded on impact near the village of Benschop, which is approximately 40 kms south of Amsterdam.

The crew members of EE132 were:

Sergeant Robert Leslie Freeman (1315706) (RAFVR) (Wireless Operator Air Gunner)
Sergeant J B Hilton (1558783) (RAFVR) (Air Gunner) PoW
Sergeant Thomas Oswald Steele McCulloch (984102) (RAFVR) (Flight Engineer)
Flight Sergeant Robert Barr McPhan (413788) (Pilot)
Sergeant Michael John Christopher Simpson (1601327) (RAFVR) (Navigator)
Flight Sergeant John Andrew Spence (421135) (Bomb Aimer)
Flight Sergeant Albert Adrian Stobart (408934) (Air Gunner) PoW, Discharged from the RAAF: 18 January 1946

No. 460 Squadron lost Lancaster W4988 (Flight Sergeant Norman James Conway (413829) (Navigator) on 4 September 1943.

No. 460 Squadron lost Lancaster EE138 (Squadron Leader Carl Richard Kelaher (267504) (Pilot)) on 4 September 1943

No. 467 Squadron Lancaster ED541 (Flight Lieutenant Reginald Carmichael (412391) (Pilot)) on 4 September 1943.

No. 467 Squadron lost Lancaster DV237 (Pilot Officer Ronald Vincent Turner (149548) (RAFVR) (Pilot)) on 4 September 1943.


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, 166/26/227
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

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