Pilot Officer William Leslie TOPP

Service No: 409773
Born: Melbourne VIC, 23 September 1922
Enlisted in the RAAF: 10 October 1941
Unit: No. 148 Squadron (RAF)
Died: Air Operations: (No. 148 Squadron Halifax aircraft BB435), Greece, 8 September 1943, Aged 20 Years
Buried: Phaleron War Cemetery, Greece
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Leslie Ernest and Madeline Catherine Adele Topp, of Windsor, Victoria, Australia
Roll of Honour: Unknown
Remembered: Panel 131, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT

On the night of 7 September 1943 Halifax BB435 was detailed for Special Operations Executive Operation Deaminster. The weather forecast was bad, predicting 10/10ths cumulus-nimbus cloud over most of the area with a risk of thundery showers and a very low cloud base. In view of the appalling weather conditions experienced over the last two or three days it was decided to cancel all except three of the ten operations scheduled. In the Deaminster area there appeared to be a slight chance of breaks and as there was a half-moon to give illumination, BB435 was one of the three aircraft allowed to proceed. The crews were warned that if they were in any doubt as to being able to reach the areas safely below cloud, they were to return. Two of the aircraft returned early reporting heavy 10/10th cumulus-nimbus cloud with the base on the ground but nothing further was heard of Halifax BB435 after it took off at 2000 hours. Air Sea Rescue aircraft were despatched to carry out a sweep of the Greek coast but no trace was found. A message was later received from the field that the aircraft reached the target but crashed and it was believed that the whole crew had been lost.

The crew members of BB435 were:

Sergeant Charles Dove (1351778) (RAFVR) (Air Gunner)
Sergeant Alfred Charles Goss (1393915) (RAFVR) (Flight Engineer)
Sergeant Dennis Vivian Humberston (1330749) (RAFVR) (Wireless Air Gunner)
Flying Officer George Kay (135416) (RAFVR) (Navigator)
Flying Officer Wilfred King (135648) (RAFVR) (Air Bomber)
Sergeant George Ernest Smith (1127350) (RAFVR) (Air Gunner)
Pilot Officer William Leslie Topp (409773) (Pilot)
Flight Sergeant James Edward Wintie (1123431) (RAFVR) (Air Gunner)


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 Veterans’ Affairs On-Line WWII Nominal Roll
National Archives of Australia On-Line Record A705, 166/40/81

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