Pilot Officer Alan Seabrook MITCHELL

Service No: 409567
Born: Armadale VIC, 29 September 1917
Enlisted in the RAAF: 12 September 1941
Unit: No. 460 Squadron, RAF Station Binbrook, Lincolnshire
Died: Air Operations: Hamburg and Raids on Italy (No. 460 Squadron Lancaster aircraft JA856), Germany, 2 October 1943, Aged 26 Years
Buried: Durnbach War Cemetery, Bad Tolz, Bayern, Germany
CWGC Additional Information: Son of William Charles and Ruby Vera Gladys Mitchell, of East Malvern, Victoria, Australia
Roll of Honour: Malvern VIC
Remembered: Panel 108, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT

Date: 2-3 October 1943
Target: Berlin
Total Force: Dispatched – 294, Attacking – 273
RAAF Force: No. 460 Dispatched – 18, Attacking – 18; No. 467 Dispatched – 17, Attacking – 14
Tons of Bombs Dropped: 958
Total Aircraft Lost: 7
RAAF Aircraft Lost: No. 460 – 2; No. 467 – 2

The dangerously high ratio of casualties to positive success on these long distance raids caused great anxiety, and on 2nd-3rd October two tactical expedients were introduced by Bomber Command. Firstly to improve bombing, the Pathfinders dropped flares over the Wurm Lake so that aircraft could make a timed run into the centre of Munich. There was still a tendency for incendiary bombs to fall shorts and Flight Lieutenant Locke (1) who made a painstaking approach estimated that the main fires were four miles away from the centre of the city. This was later confirmed by photographs which showed the business and residential areas largely intact although significant isolated damage had resulted in outlying suburbs. The whole raid was over within fifteen minutes and, although fighters were present over the target, they had fewer opportunities there. The second innovation was an angle interposed in the bombers ‘ withdrawal route, so that German fighters airborne to attack them during the return flight assembled in incorrect positions Nevertheless it was a costly night for Nos. 460 and 467, each of which lost two Lancasters out of the total of seven which failed to return from the whole force. Many Australian crews also commented on insufficiency of petrol for evasive routeing on such a long trip. One Lancaster of No. 460 had to put down at Tangmere as soon as it reached the English coast, and Pilot Officer McIver, an experienced pilot of No. 467, was killed when he crashed into the Channel twenty-five miles short of the nearest emergency airfield. These raids, although far from faultless, caused worthwhile damage to railway communications and an I .G. Farben instrument factory.

(1) Flight Lieutenant Harry Baker Locke DSO DFC (401980) Discharged from the RAAF: 1 July 1947

Extracts from Herington, J. (John) (406545) Air War Against Germany and Italy 1939-1943, Australian War Memorial, Canberra, 1954 – Page 597-8

Lancaster JA856 took off form RAF Binbrook at 1852 hours on 2 October 1943 to attack Munich, Germany. The bomb load was 1 x 4000 lb (pound) (1,800 kg) bomb, 48 x 30 lb (14 kg) and 840 x 4lb (2 kg) incendiaries. Nothing was heard from the aircraft after take off and it did not return to base. It was later established post war that the aircraft crashed at Deisenhofen, 13 miles south south east of the centre of Munich. All the crew members were killed

The crew members of JA856 were:

Sergeant George Douglas (1098313) (RAFVR) (Flight Engineer)
Sergeant Raymond Hurrell (1219204) (RAFVR) (Navigator)
Pilot Officer Frank Leathley Lloyd DFM (412552) (Pilot)
Pilot Officer Alan Seabrook Mitchell (409567) (Bomb Aimer)
Flight Sergeant Francis Sheehan (R/57576) (RCAF) (Air Gunner)
Sergeant Leslie Alexander Sim (937931) (RAFVR) (Air Gunner)
Sergeant Reginald Edgar Woodford (1234134) (RAFVR) (Wireless Operator Air Gunner)

No. 460 Squadron lost Lancaster W4301 (Sergeant William Edward Edmonds (414919) (Air Gunner)) on 2 October 1943.

No. 467 Squadron lost Lancaster ED621 (Flying Officer Milton Edwin Garbutt (413976) (Navigator)) on 2 October 1943.

No. 467 Squadron lost Lancaster ED530 (Pilot Officer Kenneth Archibald McIver DFC (412636) (Pilot)) on 3 October5 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, 166/27/242


Firkins, P. C. (Peter Charles) (441386) Strike and Return, Westward Ho Publishing City Beach WA, 1985

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