LEST WE FORGET
Flight Sergeant Gilbert Graham PODOSKY
Service No: 429482
Born: Townsville QLD, 13 September 1921
Enlisted in the RAAF: 8 October 1942
Unit: No. 467 Squadron, RAF Waddington, Lincolnshire
Died: Air Operations: (No. 467 Squadron Lancaster aircraft LM219), France, 8 July 1944, Aged 22 Years
Buried: Marissel French National Cemetery, Oise, France
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Gilbert Rudolph and Catherine Podosky, of Mackay, Queensland, Australia.
Roll of Honour: Mackay QLD
Remembered: Panel 111, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT
Intelligence reports indicated that this attack (on 4-5 July) on St Leu succeeded in blocking all approaches to the caves (in which V1 rockets were stored) and that a large quantity of earth above the caves had fallen into them. It was also known that the Germans were making tremendous efforts to repair this damage, and a similar main force of 228 Lancasters attacked again on 7th-8th July. There was fairly heavy cloud over the target at 18,000 feet so the Australians of Nos. 463 and 467 came below this height to attack and again reported good results. Enemy ground gunfire was far more evident than on the first occasion, and, although a “Mandrel” screen was in operation to confuse enemy night fighters, the Germans brought up reinforcements from the Low Countries and 31 Lancasters were shot down, a disappointingly high percentage for an attack on northern France but one which clearly showed the importance in German eyes of protecting St Leu d’Esserent. Daylight reconnaissance later showed large new craters over the entrances to the three main tunnels. Road and rail approaches had been blocked and appeared to be beyond immediate repair. In addition the river banks had been badly cratered which caused flooding. For 10 days after this second attack on St Leu the daily average of flying-bomb attacks fell from about 100 to less than 70.
Extract from Herington, J. (John) (406545) Air War Over Europe 1944-1945, Australian War Memorial, Canberra, 1963 – Pages 180-1
Lancaster LM219 took off from RAF Waddington at 2221 hours on the night of 7 July 1944 to bomb flying bomb storage sites at St Leu d’Esserent, France. Bomb load 11 x 1000 lb (pound) (450 kg), 4 x 500 lb (225 kg) bombs. Nothing was heard from the aircraft after take off and it did not return to base. Eighteen aircraft from the Squadron took part in the raid and two of these including LM 219 failed to return.
The crew members of LM219 were:
Flight Sergeant Stephen Adams (426290) (Bomb Aimer) Evaded Capture, Discharged from the RAAF: 6 June 1946
Flight Sergeant Horace Andrew Cummins (423661) (Wireless Operator Air Gunner)
Flying Officer John Daniel O’Driscoll (NZ415710) (RNZAF) (Second Pilot)
Flight Sergeant Gilbert Graham Podosky (429482) (Air Gunner)
Flight Lieutenant Robert Winter Reynolds (120589) (RAFVR) (Pilot)
Sergeant Ronald James Taylor (1590230) (RAFVR) (Flight Engineer)
Sergeant Gordon Thomas Tipping (1320873) (RAFVR) (Air Gunner)
Flight Sergeant James Graham Walsh (8955) (Navigator) Evaded Capture, Discharged from the RAAF: 3 April 1946
In a report Flight Sergeant Walsh stated “After leaving the target an explosion occurred when at 15,000 feet and the aircraft filled with smoke and burst into flames at the rear. I endeavoured to reach Cummins but was forced back by smoke. I baled out at 10000 feet and did not see any others but assumed the Bomb aimer, Second Pilot and Engineer had left before me. Aircraft appeared under control when I abandoned but on fire. Resistance movement showed him wreckage which he assumed was part of the aircraft fuselage. I was informed by them that 3 bodies were in the wreckage and 3 bodies with chutes found near the wreck. Adams in the hands of Resistance movement near target at place now in liberated territory.
Flight Sergeant Adams reported “Safe in UK. As result of fire Captain instructed crew to prepare to abandon. Adams removed escape hatch after putting on parachute and was moving back to normal position when as a result of terrific shudder through the aircraft I was thrown out of hatch at 12,000 feet. Met navigator four days later.”
No. 467 Squadron lost Lancaster LM338 (Flying Officer Phillip Wyatt Ryan (4180420 (Pilot)) on 8 July 1944.
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, 166/33/189