Flight Sergeant Alan John WHITE

Service No: 410581
Born: Carlton VIC, 11 April 1918
Enlisted in the RAAF: 30 January 1942
Unit: No. 463 Squadron, RAF Waddington, Lincolnshire
Died: Air Operations: (No. 463 Squadron Lancaster aircraft ED545), Germany, 30 January 1944, Aged 25 Years
Buried: Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery, Germany
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Arthur Alfred and Lillian Rose White, of North Carlton, Victoria, Australia.
Roll of Honour: Melbourne VIC
Remembered: Panel 109, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT

Date: 30-31 January 1944
Target: Berlin
Total Force: Dispatched – 540, Attacking – 489
RAAF Force: No. 460 Dispatched – 12, Attacking – 12; No. 463 Dispatched – 14, Attacking – 13; No. 466 Dispatched – 12, Attacking – 6; No. 467 Dispatched – 10, Attacking – 10
Tons of Bombs Dropped: 1,961
Total Aircraft Lost: 33
RAAF Aircraft Lost: No. 463 – 4; No. 467 – 1

The importance of striking again before this conflagration died down led next night to another maximum strength attack, although the force had to operate in moon conditions which favoured German fighters. Six Halifaxes of No. 466 returned early to base because of unserviceable equipment, but the Lancasters had no difficulty in reaching Berlin. Cloud had once more sheeted the target but with abundant fighter flares, moonlight and the reflection of sky markers on cloud, the area appeared at times as bright as day. The section of the stream including No. 463 was persistently attacked by a group of fighters and, although one Ju-88 was damaged, the squadron lost four Lancasters. Flight Sergeant Campbell (1) of No. 467 also shot down an Me-110 outmanoeuvred by his pilot (Flight Lieutenant Simpson) but the enemy remained persistent and more fighters infiltrated the returning gaggles of bombers. Flying Officer Stevens (2) of No. 466 who had been attacked on each of his previous two trips to Berlin had to beat off attacks by three separate fighters during his return flight from this raid but by good crew drill aided by radar warning devices he again escaped with minor damage to his Halifax. Some navigators criticised the broadcast winds received during this flight, but the bombers kept well to the pre-arranged timetable and Australians described the concentration of sky markers as the best achieved for some time. Experienced crews again estimated that most of the bombs fell on Berlin, and enemy broadcasts almost immediately admitted that “extensive areas of Berlin were hit”.

(1) Warrant Officer Colin Argyle Campbell (426306) was discharged from the RAAF on 18 December 1944.
(2) Flight Lieutenant John Humphries Stevens DFC (416802) was discharged from the RAAF on 6 September 1945.

Extracts from Herington, J. (John) (406545) Air War Against Germany and Italy 1939-1943, Australian War Memorial, Canberra, 1954 – Pages 643, 645-6

Lancaster ED545 took off from RAF Waddington at 1707 hours on the night of 30/31st January 1944 to bomb Berlin. Nothing was heard from the aircraft after take off and it did not return to base. Fourteen aircraft from the Squadron took part in the raid and four of these including ED 545 failed to return. Following post war enquiries it was believed that the aircraft crashed at Lutkendorf, 5 kms north west of Putlitz.

The crew members of ED545 were:

Flight Sergeant Leonard Robert Carius (414622) (Navigator)
Pilot Officer Lindsay Samuel Fairclough (415412) (Pilot)
Flight Sergeant Peter Kelly Giles (417174) (Bomb Aimer) PoW, Discharged from the RAAF: 28 November 1945
Flight Sergeant John Gold McLean (414959) (Air Gunner)
Sergeant Dennis Robinson (2221106) (RAFVR) (Air Gunner)
Sergeant Norman Amsby Verner (1583710) (RAFVR) (Flight Engineer)
Flight Sergeant Alan John White (410581) (Wireless Operator Air Gunner)

In a 1945 statement the then Warrant Officer Giles reported “The Intercom system was put out of action at the commencement of an attack by a night fighter. Consequently no orders were heard by me from the Captain nor was it possible to establish the fate of the crew during or after the attack. The attack set fire to three of the engines. The aircraft was out of control and on fire. I had no knowledge of anyone leaving the aircraft up to the time I wasn’t unconscious in the nose of the aircraft. I can only presume that the aircraft exploded and I was rendered unconscious but thrown clear. I regained my senses whilst falling through the air. I landed slightly north of Berlin and was captured 7 days later by a German farmer. The Germans said that the other six members had been killed. I was a PoW for 15 months and released on 2 May 1945 by British forces.”

No. 463 Squadron lost Lancaster ED949 (Flying Officer Douglas Chapman Dunn (416418) (Pilot)) on 30 January 1944.

No. 463 Squadron lost Lancaster ED772 (Flying Officer George Laurie Messenger (411652) (Pilot)) on 30 January 1944.

No. 463 Squadron lost Lancaster JA973 (Pilot Officer Peter Edward Hanson (415528) (Pilot)) on 30 January 1944.

No. 467 Squadron lost Lancaster DV678 (Flying Officer Alexander Douglas Riley (3717) (Pilot)) on 30 January 1944.


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, 166/43/518

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