Flight Lieutenant Francis William Gordon TROPMAN DFC

Service No: 413453
Born: Rockdale NSW, 24 November 1913
Enlisted in the RAAF: 17 August 1941
Unit: No. 35 Squadron (RAF), RAF Station Graveley
Awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC), 12 December 1944
Died: Air Operations: (No. 35 Squadron Lancaster aircraft ME367), Germany, 21 February 1945, Aged 31 Years
Buried: Reichswald Forest War Cemetery, Kleve, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Francis William and Cathrine Jane Tropman; husband of Rosemary Florence Tropman, of Malabar, New South Wales, Australia
Roll of Honour: Unknown
Remembered: Panel 131, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT

The award of DFC to the then Flying Officer Tropman was promulgated as a General Citation
(London Gazette 12 December 1944 Page 5692)

Flight Lieutenant Tropman was a veteran Pathfinder Force pilot with at least 62 operational sorties to his credit.

At 2023 hours on the night of 21 February 1945 Lancaster ME367 took off from Graveley to bomb Duisberg, Germany. Nothing was heard from the aircraft after take-off and it failed to return to base. The aircraft was damaged by a fighter and six of the crew abandoned the aircraft and were taken prisoner while the pilot was killed.

The crew members of ME367 were:

Pilot Officer Neil William Curtis DFC (413745) (Wireless Operator Air) PoW, Discharged from the RAAF: 4 October 1945
Pilot Officer R M Hallett (188955) (RAFVR) (Flight Engineer) PoW
Flying Officer R T Johns (56093) (RAFVR) (Navigator) PoW
Pilot Officer Malcolm Harry McVey DFC (425884) (Mid Upper Gunner) PoW Discharged from the RAAF: 24 October 1945
Flight Lieutenant H D Mitchell (163612) (RAFVR) (Bomb Aimer) PoW
Pilot Officer G J North (173836) (RAFVR) (Rear Gunner) PoW
Flight Lieutenant Francis William Gordon Tropman DFC (413453) (Pilot)

In a post war report Pilot Officer McVey stated “I was mid upper gunner on Lancaster fired on by a Ju88 on 21 February 1945. The aircraft was set on fire. Captain ordered prepare to abandon and later abandon aircraft which was acknowledged. All crew uninjured and I baled out from the hatch and all members forward of the mid upper turret had gone. I left the aircraft at about 15,000 feet. The aircraft was diving to starboard and on fire in fuselage. None of the crew was seen until I arrived at Dulag Luft where I met all except the pilot who was killed. Captured at 2330 hours on 21 February 1945. Released 29 April 1945 Stalag V11A.”


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, 166/40/353

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