Flying Officer John Herbert PALMER

Service No: 401850
Born: Brighton VIC, 24 January 1918
Enlisted in the RAAF: 26 April 1941
Unit: No. 464 Squadron
Died: Air Operations: (No. 464 Squadron Mosquito aircraft RS609), Denmark, 21 March 1945, Aged 27 Years
Buried: Unrecovered
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Leonard Palmer, and of Marjorie Palmer, of East St. Kilda, Victoria, Australia
Roll of Honour: North Brighton VIC
Remembered: Panel 283, Runnymede Memorial, Surrey UK
Remembered: Panel 109, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT

Mosquito RS609 took off from Rosiere en Santerre, France, at 0840 hours on the 21 March 1945, as part of a force of 6 aircraft from the Squadron detailed to attack the Gestapo headquarters, Copenhagen, Denmark. RS609 failed to return from the mission. Post war enquiries by a Missing Research and Enquiry Unit found no trace of the missing aircraft or crew.

The No. 464 Squadron Operations Record Book reports as follows: “The formation initially landed at Fersfield and took off again at 1100 hours for the target. 464 Squadron aircraft were in the second box and flying conditions were not good. There was considerable heavy and light flak encountered in the harbour area and the target was attacked at 100 feet. Unfortunately the CO of No. 21 Squadron RAF ((Wing Commander Peter Andrew Kleboe (88440) (RAFVR)) who had just left 464 Squadron to command No. 21 Squadron, flew* into a building about 1.5 miles from the target and smoke caused difficulty for the following aircraft. The buildings were well and truly pranged. The whole operation was a classic example of precision bombing and was up to previous standards. Two No. 464 Squadron crews were missing.”

* Wing Commander Kleboe’s Mosquito aircraft Navigator was Flying Officer Reginald John Ward Hall (C/14919) (RCAF)

The crew members of RS609 were:

Sub Lieutenant Herman Hirsch Becker DFC (Navigator) (Royal Norwegian Air Force)
Flying Officer John Herbert Palmer (401850) (Pilot)

No. 464 Squadron lost Mosquito SZ999 (Flying Officer Ronald George Dawson (412245) (Pilot)) on 21 March 1945.


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 Veterans’ Affairs On-Line WWII Nominal Roll
National Archives of Australia On-Line Record A9300, Palmer J H


Lax, M. (Mark) and Leon Kane-Maguire The Gestapo Hunters: 464 Squadron RAAF 1942-5, Banner Books Maryborough QLD 4650, 1999
Vincent, D. (David) Mosquito Monograph: A history of Mosquitoes in Australia and RAAF operations, David Vincent Highbury SA 5089, 1982

Book Now Book Now