LEST WE FORGET

Flight Sergeant Maxwell Hope SQUIRES

Service No: 421518
Born: Inverell NSW, 2 October 1923
Enlisted in the RAAF: 1 February 1942
Unit: No. 460 Squadron, RAF Binbrook, Lincolnshire
Died: Air Operations: (No. 460 Squadron Lancaster aircraft JB607), Netherlands, 29 December 1943, Aged 20 Years
Buried: Reichswald Forest War Cemetery, Kleve, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Samuel Thomas John and Dorothy Margaret Squires, of Tamworth, New South Wales, Australia.
Roll of Honour: Inverell NSW
Remembered: Panel 108, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT

Date: 29-30 December 1943
Target: Berlin
Total Force: Dispatched – 712, Attacking – 656
RAAF Force: No. 460 Dispatched – 22, Attacking – 22; No. 463 Dispatched – 11, Attacking – 11; No. 466 Dispatched – 15, Attacking – 14; No. 467 Dispatched – 13, Attacking – 13
Tons of Bombs Dropped: 2,315
Total Aircraft Lost: 20
RAAF Aircraft Lost: No. 460 – 2, No. 467 – 1

Success came on 29th-30th December when No. 466 and other Halifax squadrons were included in the attacking force. The Pathfinders were on time and the target indicators as checked by H2S (radar) sets in both Nos. 460 and 466 were accurately laid, so, with enemy fighters lured away to Magdeburg and Leipzig, an unhurried approach was possible. The searchlight defences were unaccountably weak, but gun fire was heavier than usual, changing from predicted radar-controlled fire to barrage fire as the Window technique disorganised enemy radar. Flying Officer Reynolds (1) of No. 467 was about to attack when gun fire ignited his incendiary bombs, but by diving steeply and jettisoning his bombs he prevented the fire from spreading. Flight Sergeant Burcher (2) of No. 10 Squadron RAF was also hit immediately before bombing but held level with one engine on fire for two minutes so that he could finish his correct approach to bomb. When he succeeded in extinguishing the fire he began his homeward trip on three engines, only to have a second one fail before he reached an emergency airfield in England.

(1) Flying Officer Colin Irwin Reynolds (415276) was killed in air operations (No. 467 Squadron Lancaster aircraft ED 994) on 6 January 1944.
(2) Flight Lieutenant George Martin Burcher DFC DFM (420536) was discharged from the RAAF on 8 February 1946.

Extracts from Herington, J. (John) (406545) Air War Against Germany and Italy 1939-1943, Australian War Memorial, Canberra, 1954 – Pages 637, 641-2

Lancaster JB607 took off from RAF Binbrook on 29 December 1943 to bomb Berlin. Bomb load 1 x 4000 lb (pound) (1,800 kg) bomb, 56 x 30 lb (14 kg) and 1230 x 4 lb (2 kg) incendiaries. Nothing was heard from the aircraft after take off and it did not return to base. Twenty three aircraft from the Squadron took part in the raid and two of these including JB 607 failed to return. Post war it was established that the aircraft was shot down by a night fighter and crashed at 2239 hours on 29 December 1943 at Kerkrade (Limburg) a Dutch town on the border with Germany.

The crew members of JB607 were:

Pilot Officer Ambrose Edward Blight (416114) (Navigator)
Pilot Officer Stanley James Ireland (412010) (Pilot)
Sergeant Reginald James Poulter (1424279) (RAFVR) (Mid Upper Gunner)
Sergeant Cyril Seddon (1534670) (RAFVR) (Wireless Operator Air Gunner)
Flight Sergeant Francis John Seery (413435) (Bomb Aimer) PoW, Discharged from the RAAF: 15 January 1946
Sergeant William Albert Henry Squire (1803573) (RAFVR) (Flight Engineer)
Flight Sergeant Maxwell Hope Squires (421518) (Rear Gunner)

In his report Flight Sergeant Seery stated “I have received no information from the Germans re Pilot Officer Ireland. Our aircraft exploded and almost immediately I baled out when Pilot Officer Ireland was still at the controls. I believe he had his chute on attached at all times, but could not say if he was blown out safely or not.”

No. 460 Squadron lost Lancaster JB298 (Flying Officer Ronald Keith McIntyre (414721) (Pilot)) on 29 December 1943.

No. 467 Squadron lost Lancaster ED547 (Pilot Officer Bruce Alexander Tait (409252) (Pilot)) on 29 December 1943.

References:

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, 166/38/377

Bibliography:

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