Flight Sergeant George Worland RANKIN

Service No: 427742
Born: Fremantle WA, 3 July 1913
Enlisted in the RAAF: 18 September 1942
Unit: No. 460 Squadron, RAF Binbrook, Lincolnshire
Died: Air Operations (No. 460 Squadron Lancaster aircraft RA524), Germany, 2 March 1945, Aged 31 Years
Buried: Hotton War Cemetery, Hotton Luxembourg, Belgium
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Alexander John Worland Rankin and Letitia Ellen Rankin, of Perth, Western Australia; husband of Elaine Kathleen Rankin, of Perth.
Roll of Honour: Perth WA
Remembered: Panel 108, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT
Remembered: Cenotaph Undercroft, State War Memorial, Kings Park WA
Remembered: Honour Avenues, Kings Park WA

Crews were alerted at 1.15 am and airborne before dawn on 2nd March in a raid by 620 bombers (22 from No. 460 and 14 from No. 466) against Cologne designed to block the retreat of the enemy towards the bridges and ferries across the Rhine. Weary crews were heartened by much improved weather as they crossed into France at Boulogne; none had trouble in pinpointing themselves over the familiar “bend” in the Rhine, and some clearly identified the cathedral and the Hohenzollern Bridge as their bombs crashed into the heart of the city. Heavy damage resulted and this raid was adjudged a significant factor in disorganising enemy resistance before the city fell to the VII American Corps on 6th March.

Extracts from Herington, J. (John) (406545) Air War Over Europe 1944-1945, Australian War Memorial, Canberra, 1963 – Pages 422-3

Lancaster RA524 took of from RAF Binbrook at 0703 hours on 2 March 1945 to bomb Cologne, Germany. Bomb load 1 x 4000 lb (pound) (1,800 kg), 12 x 500 lb (220 kg) and 4 x 250 lb (110 kg) bombs. Nothing was heard from the aircraft after take off and it did not return to base. Twenty two aircraft from the squadron took part in the raid and of these RA524 failed to return.

The crew members of RA524 were:

Sergeant James Devlin (1826573) (RAF) (Flight Engineer)
Flight Sergeant John Michael Gerrard (434180) (Wireless Operator Air Gunner)
Warrant Officer Henry Vincent Gordon (405307) (Navigator)
Flight Lieutenant Jeffrey Howard Holmes (429054) (Pilot)
Flight Sergeant Eric Parkinson (1456507) (RAFVR) (Bomb Aimer)
Flight Sergeant George Worland Rankin (427742) (Rear Gunner)
Flight Sergeant Trevor Andrew Thomson (436777) (Mid Upper Gunner)

In a subsequent squadron report it was stated “the crews of four accompanying aircraft state that they saw RA524 shot down over the target. During the run up to the target, the aircraft was seen to be hit by bursts of heavy flak, and black smoke trailed from the aircraft but no flames were visible. The bomb doors closed, the aircraft dived steeply and then levelled at 15,500 feet and the smoke ceased. Four parachutes were seen to open in quick succession and then the aircraft went into a slow left hand spin with great volumes of smoke re-issuing. After loosing 2000 more feet, it again levelled out, turned to starboard, came back across the target climbing slightly with flames appearing in the starboard wing and fuselage, then flew straight and level for 30 seconds before making a straight steep dive and crashed on the west end of the Hohenzollern bridge. The aircraft had a full load of bombs and exploded on impact.”


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, 166/35/479


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