Pilot Officer Bruce Alexander TAIT

Service No: 409252
Born: Ivanhoe VIC, 21 October 1921
Enlisted in the RAAF: 20 July 1941
Unit: No. 467 Squadron, RAF Waddington, Lincolnshire
Died: Air Operations: (No. 467 Squadron Lancaster aircraft ED547), Germany, 29 December 1943, Aged 22 Years
Buried: Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery, Germany
CWGC Additional Information: Son of James and Mabel Isabel Tait, of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.
Roll of Honour: Ivanhoe VIC
Remembered: Panel 111, 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 on 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 ED547 took off from RAF Waddington at 1639 hours on the night of 29/30th December 1943 to bomb Berlin. The bomb load was 1 x 4000 lb (pound) (1,800 kg) bomb, 56 x 30 lb (14 kg), 900 x 4 lb (2 kg) incendiaries. Nothing was heard from the aircraft after take off and it did not return to base. Thirteen aircraft from the Squadron took part in the raid and ED547 failed to return.
Following post war enquiries it was established that the aircraft crashed at Grossziehten, some 14 kms south south east of Berlin and all the crew members were killed.

The crew members of ED547 were:

Pilot Officer Francis McIvor Allen (144928) (RAFVR) (Navigator)
Sergeant Sidney Allom (1338809) (RAFVR) (Wireless Operator Air Gunner)
Flight Sergeant Leslie Ernest Lambert (1586401) (RAF) (Air Gunner)
Sergeant Francis Arthur Spencer (R/139365) (RCAF) (Bomb Aimer)
Pilot Officer Bruce Alexander Tait (409252) (Pilot)
Sergeant Dennis Wetherell (953203) (RAFVR) (Air Gunner)
Sergeant Robert Alec Yale (1583664) (RAFVR) (Flight Engineer)

No. 460 Squadron lost Lancaster JB607 (Pilot Officer Stanley James Ireland (412010) (Pilot)) on 29 December 1943.

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


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, 166/39/22

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