Pilot Officer Mervin Walter ROHRLACH

Service No: 417761
Born: Caltowie SA, 17 February 1918
Enlisted in the RAAF: 9 July 1942
Unit: No. 462 Squadron, RAF Foulsham, Norfolk
Died: Air Operations (No. 462 Squadron Halifax aircraft MZ469), Belgium, 7 January 1945, Aged 26 Years
Buried: Hotton War Cemetery, Luxembourg, Belgium
CWGC Additional Information: Son of John Gustav Rohrlach and Anna Maria Rohrlach; husband of Galda Luneen Rohrlach, of Kimba, South Australia
Roll of Honour: Kimba SA
Remembered: Panel 109, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT
Remembered: World War II Honour Roll, National War Memorial of SA, North Terrace, Adelaide

No. 462 Squadron made “spoof” raids on seven different nights to Bremen, Nuremberg, the Ruhr (3 times), Mannheim and Sylt, and had initiated a procedure new to No. 100 Group which partly satisfied the desire of crews to have an active rather than a passive role.

Extract from Herington, J. (John) (406545) Air War Over Europe 1944-1945, Australian War Memorial, Canberra, 1963 – Page 406

Halifax MZ469 took off from RAF Foulsham, Norfolk, at 1619 hours on the night of 6/7th January 1945 to carry out a window (radar countermeasures) operation in the Ruhr. Twelve aircraft from the Squadron took part in the mission and one of these MZ 469 failed to return. Seven crew members were killed and one became a Prisoner of War.

The crew members of MZ 469 were:

Sergeant Eric Gordon Baker (3050406) (RAFVR) (Rear Gunner)
Sergeant Joseph David Beardsmore (1594654) (RAFVR) (Flight Engineer)
Flight Sergeant Douglas Henry Lawrence (437426) (Wireless Air Gunner) PoW, Discharged from the RAAF: 20 December 1945
Flight Sergeant Leslie Gordon Marshall Mannell (429052) (S/D (A/G) Radar Countermeasures Operator)
Pilot Officer Mervin Walter Rohrlach (417761) (Pilot)
Sergeant John Scaife Sanderson (1685244) (RAFVR) (Navigator)
Flight Sergeant Norman Stanley Scott (1399603) (RAFVR) (Bomb Aimer)
Sergeant Vivian Claude Topham (1852943) (RAFVR) (Mid Gunner)

The then Warrant Officer Lawrence later reported “While flying over Belgium I was dropping window. The next thing I know is there was a large hole opposite the WOP’s position and the Aircraft was out of control. I put on my chute and stood up to speak to the Pilot (the Inter com had been knocked out) but I never so much as saw him. What happened next I don’t know, but I regained consciousness in mid air. My chute was already open and I saw no one. The aircraft crashed near Janelle in Belgium. After attempting to pin point myself for two hours, I was picked up by German soldiers. I believe I was blown out with all the others still inside and that they were all killed. Liberated by Americans on 29/4/45.”


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, 166/36/438

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