Flight Sergeant John Francis WORLEY

Service No: 426412
Born: Murwillumbah NSW, 19 August 1923
Enlisted in the RAAF: 20 June 1942 (at Brisbane QLD)
Unit: No. 460 Squadron, RAF Binbrook, Lincolnshire
Died: Air Operations: (No. 460 Squadron Lancaster aircraft JB637), Germany, 27 January 1944, Aged 20 Years
Buried: Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery, Germany
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Richard Robert Hudson Worley and Alice Mary Worley, of Murwillumbah, New South Wales, Australia.
Roll of Honour: Murwillumbah NSW
Remembered: Panel 108, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT

Date: 27-28 January 1944
Target: Berlin
Total Force: Dispatched – 530, Attacking – 481
RAAF Force: No. 460 Dispatched – 18, Attacking – 18; No. 463 Dispatched – 16, Attacking – 16; No. 467 Dispatched – 15, Attacking – 14
Tons of Bombs Dropped: 1,761
Total Aircraft Lost: 33
RAAF Aircraft Lost: No. 460 – 3, No. 463 – 1; No. 467 – 2

For the next major raid on 27th-28th January further measures were taken to defeat early contact by enemy fighters. A long route over the North Sea was chosen in conjunction with a diversionary attack on Heligoland and support action by Mosquitos which dropped false route markers and fighter were waiting over Berlin and were not entirely shaken off by a sharp turn incorporated in the withdrawal route . This defensive manoeuvre was indeed criticised by Australians as greatly increasing the risk of collision, several aircraft being forced to dive away from other Lancasters approaching Berlin somewhat off-track. Fighter activity also caused some bunching of the Lancasters over Berlin and Squadron Leader Brill of No. 463 had his aircraft severely damaged by incendiaries falling from another aircraft. He instructed his crew to abandon the Lancaster, but then regained control and cancelled the order . Losses were again high, especially for the RAAF squadrons, which lost six of forty-eight Lancasters sent out, but with the glow of large fires reflected on the clouds the airmen were confident that the attack had been successful. This was later borne out by gloomy and hysterical German radio fulminations against this “terror raid on the residential districts of Berlin”.

Extracts from Herington, J. (John) (406545) Air War Against Germany and Italy 1939-1943, Australian War Memorial, Canberra, 1954 – Pages 643, 644-5

Lancaster JB 637 took off from RAF Binbrook at 1725 hours on 27 January 1944 to bomb Berlin. The bomb load was 1 x 4000 lb (pound) (1,800 kg) and 6 x 1000 lb (450 kg) bombs. Nothing was heard from the aircraft after take off and it did not return to base. Post war it was established from German records that the aircraft was shot down in the vicinity of Werder about 35 kms south west of Berlin. A German resident of Stuecken about 35 kms south west of Berlin stated that on the night of 27 January 1944 a Lancaster crashed on his land and all the crew of seven was killed. This aircraft was established as being JB 637.

The crew members of JB637 were:

Flight Sergeant Ernest William Joseph Hurley (405909) (Bomb Aimer)
Pilot Officer James Allan Kerby (410673) (Wireless Operator Air Gunner)
Sergeant Andrew Wilson MacKenzie (1566634) (RAFVR) (Flight Engineer)
Warrant Officer Richard John Power (409590) (Pilot)
Pilot Officer Samuel Whiteside (409632) (Navigator)
Flight Sergeant John Francis Worley (426412) (Air Gunner)
Sergeant Allan Edward Wortley (1684238) (RAFVR) (Air Gunner)

No. 460 Squadron lost Lancaster JA860 (Flight Sergeant William Robertson McLachlan (414947) (Pilot)) on 27 January 1944.

No. 460 Squadron lost Lancaster JB296 (Squadron Leader Lorraine Joseph Simpson DFC (401542) (Pilot)) on 27 January 1944.

No. 463 Squadron lost Lancaster ME563 (Flying Officer Alan James Durham Leslie (409721) (Pilot)) on 27 January 1944

No. 467 Squadron lost Lancaster ME575 (Pilot Officer Stephen Charles Grugeon (413855) (Pilot)) on 27 January 1944.

No. 467 Squadron lost Lancaster ED539 (Pilot Officer Cecil O’Brien (420250) (Pilot)) on 28 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, 166/44/97


Firkins, P. C. (Peter Charles) (441386) Strike and Return, Westward Ho Publishing City Beach WA, 1985

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