Pilot Officer Colin Foley TOZER

Service No: 406585
Born: Subiaco WA, 10 September 1921
Enlisted in the RAAF: 3 February 1941
Unit: No. 466 Squadron, RAF Leconfield, Yorkshire
Died: Air Operations (No. 466 Squadron Wellington aircraft HE501), France, 16 April 1943, Aged 21 Years
Buried: Seraincourt Churchyard, Ardennes, France
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Reginald Arthur and Agnes Lillian Tozer, of Mount Lawley, Western Australia.
Roll of Honour: Perth WA
Remembered: Panel 110, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT
Remembered: Cenotaph Undercroft, State War Memorial, Kings Park WA
Remembered: Honour Avenues, Kings Park WA

Further attacks on Berlin were now deferred until the lengthening autumn nights should give greater security for the bombers, but other targets at equal distance but with less well-established defences were subjected to irregular attacks. Two unsuccessful attempts were made to bomb the Skoda arms works at Pilsen in Czechoslovakia. Both of these raids were staged during full moon periods in the hope that the target could be identified visually, and to offset the danger from fighters, full-scale diversionary raids were made on cities in western Germany. Thus on 16th-17th April 225 bombers, including ten Wellingtons of No. 466, attacked the I. G. Farben plants at Mannheim and started large fires. This diversion was indeed more successful than the main effort because Australian and other crews reported navigational difficulties in locating distant Pilsen.

Extract from Herington, J. (John) (406545) Air War Against Germany and Italy 1939-1943, Australian War Memorial, Canberra, 1954 – Page 497

Wellington HE501 took off from RAF Leconfield at 2117 hours on the night of 16/17th April 1943 to bomb Mannheim, Germany. Nothing was heard from the aircraft after take off and it did not return to base. Ten aircraft from the Squadron took part in the raid and one of these HE 501 failed to return. Post war it was established that the aircraft crashed at Seraincourt (Ardennes), 16 kms north west of Rethel, France.

The crew members of HE501 were:

Sergeant George Errington (1065732) (RAFVR) (Rear Gunner)
Sergeant Harold Ernest Jones (1375844) (RAFVR) (Bomb Aimer)
Pilot Officer Colin Foley Tozer (406585) (Pilot)
Sergeant Richard Kitchener White (1193463) (RAFVR) (Wireless Operator Air Gunner)
Warrant Officer Class II Gordon Kenneth Young (R/90189) (Observer) (RCAF)

Operation Order No 56 issued by RAF Station Leconfield ordered:
Bomb loads: All aircraft to carry 6 x 500 lb (pound) (225 kg) MC.
Overload tanks: One to be carried on each aircraft
Route: Base – Goole – Colne point – Whitstable – Dungeness – 50.10N 01.30E – 49.37N – 02.05E – 49.20N 07.00E – 49.20N 08.35E – Target – Turn Left – 49.37N 02.05E – St Valery – Ford – Advanced Base.

Pilot Officer Tozer was the first Australian member of 466 Squadron to be killed in action. A summary of his service while a member of 466 Squadron is as follows:

20/11/1942: Sgt C F Tozer, Sgt Young and Sgt Jones of his crew posted in to 466 Squadron.
10/12/1942: Second Pilot in a raid on Turin, Italy, with No 10 Squadron RAF. Sgt Tozer became the first Australian member of 466 Squadron to take part in an offensive operation.
31/12/1942: Sgt Tozer survived a night crash landing in HE149 due to propeller failure. The Rear Gunner was injured.
5/3/1943: During raid on Emden, Tozer flew Wellington HZ 256 back to base with great difficulty after colliding with Wellington HE 396 of 196 Squadron RAF 30 miles from the enemy coast at 1000 feet. The 196 Squadron aircraft completed the mission.
12/3/1943: Bombing attack on Essen. WAG wounded over target by shrapnel.
16/4/1943: PO Tozer and crew killed in raid on Mannheim. Tozer together with his Navigator and Bomb Aimer had flown 12 missions and this was their 13th mission

During the main attack on Pilsen, No. 460 Squadron lost Lancaster W4331 (Flight Sergeant Ian Gordon Miller (411165) (Pilot)) on 17 April 1943.

During the main attack on Pilsen, No. 460 Squadron lost Lancaster aircraft W4942 (Flight Sergeant John Norman Williams (416135) (Pilot)) on 16 April 1943.

During the main attack on Pilsen, No. 460 Squadron lost Lancaster ED711 (Pilot Officer David Edward White DFM (408896) (Pilot)) on 17 April 1943.

During the main attack on Pilsen, No. 467 Squadron lost Lancaster ED780 (Flight Sergeant Raymond Clarence Stuart (406702) (Pilot)) on 16 April 1943.

During the main attack on Pilsen, No. 467 Squadron lost Lancaster ED651 (Sergeant Bruce Craig Wilson (408545) (Pilot)) on 17 April 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, 166/40/27


Gaston, Bruce DFC (406646), Harry Horner DFC OAM (406595), Raymond Storer (406666) (Editors), Aircrew for the Duration: of and by members of RAAF EATS Courses 10, 11, 12 & 13, Gaston Horner and Storer, Nedlands WA, 1990

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