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6 November 2017

Flight Sergeant Gordon Robert (Bob) Wilson, 435586 RAAF

 

Sergeants M.J.Hibberd, Harris, Wilson & Hetherington at Luna Park, Sydney, Feb 1944

 

Behind the bar, left – Sgt. Bob Wilson; right – Sgt. Bob Hetherington (date of birth 20 March 1925, enlisted 18 June 1943).

In front of the bar, left Sgt. M.J. Hibberd (date of birth 6 March 1925, enlisted 22 April 1943); right Sgt.Flip/Phlip Harris (date of birth 20 January 1925, enlisted 19 June 1943).

No. 2 Embarkation Depot, Bradfield Park, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, February 1944. This was the final Australian posting after receiving Air Gunnery badge and promotion to Sergeant while at No.1 Air Gunnery School at West Sale, Victoria.

Photo taken at Luna Park, Sydney, Australia prior to embarkation by ship to the UK. This was a staged photo at the fun-park, in a fake bar with empty bottles. (Photo from the M.J.Hibberd Collection)

6 November 2010 – Due to the number of RAAF Servicemen in WW2 with the family name Wilson, with Robert (Bob) as first or second name, little is currently known of this particular airman. From the M.J.Hibberd personal files, Bob Wilson was thought to be from Ipswich Queensland, so he may have enlisted in Brisbane Queensland. He was probably a similar age to the other three in the photo, with an enlistment date possibly between March and June 1943. He would have been promoted to Flight Sergeant or possibly Warrant Officer by the end of the war, or maybe received a Commission to Officer rank. If you recognize this Airman, or can provide his full name and/or Service number, or any other information, please make contact. Family members have now made contact thank you! Please read on for new information.

6 March 2011 – The initial web page for Gordon Robert (Bob) Wilson with the pre-embarkation photo (at left) and request for family contact was posted to this site at 9:00am on 6 November 2010. At 8:06pm on the same day, contact was made by Bob Wilson's son Ray, and daughter Rhyl, who sent the crew photo, and information about Bob's life before and after the war. Ray also provided an unpublished history of his father's WW2 RAAF service, with information therein sourced from the Australian War Memorial, Australian National Library, and the 467463raafsquadrons.com website. Some of the information below has also been sourced from the WW2 Nominal Roll website, and G.R.Wilson's digitised Service File in Series A9300 at the Australian Archives.

It is now known that all four Gunners in this Luna Park photo survived the War and came home to Australia.

Additional photos of Bob Wilson & Crew, Crew information,
his Service History, Crew Operations at 463 Squadron,
his life after the war, and links with M.J.Hibberd during WW2.

 

F/Sgt Gordon Robert (Bob) Wilson, 463 Squadron, RAAF, Waddington, Lincolnshire UK, early 1945.

 

 

 

 

 

F/Sgt Gordon Robert (Bob) Wilson, while posted to 463 Squadron, RAAF, Waddington, Lincolnshire, UK, in early 1945.

(Taken from the Crew Photo, from the G.R.Wilson Collection)

 

Crew of Lancaster JO-C, 463 Squadron, RAAF, Waddington, Lincolnshire, UK, early 1945 (G.R.(Bob) Wilson front right).

Jim Townley and Alf Ball had trained together as Pilots.
Bob Wilson and Max Hibberd had trained together as Gunners. By a strange twist of fate, Wilson later crewed as MU/AG with Pilot Jim Townley in 463 Squadron flying in Lancasters, and Hibberd later crewed as Rear Gunner with Pilot Alf Ball in 462 Squadron, flying in Halifaxes.

 

 

 

Crew of Lancaster JO-C, while posted to 463 Squadron, RAAF, Waddington, Lincolnshire, UK, early 1945.

Back Row, L to R:
F/Sgt V.W. (Bill) Christensen, RAAF, Wireless Operator;
F/O J. (Jock) Campbell, RAAF, Navigator;  
F/O H.S. (Stan) Sharpe, RAAF, Bomb Aimer;
F/O H.J (Jim) Townley, RAAF, Pilot
.

Front row, L to R:
Sgt J. (Jim) Auld, RAF, Engineer;
F/O J.I.M. (Blue) Andrew, RAAF, Rear Gunner;
F/Sgt G.R. (Bob) Wilson, RAAF Mid Upper Gunner
.

This crew flew in Lancaster PB845 JO–C from 1 February 1945 until 17 March 1945. Bob Wilson's family understand that the crew considered this aircraft to be lucky for them. Another crew was flying this Lancaster when it was shot down on 20 March 1945 on the Bohlen raid. (Crew Photo from the G.R.Wilson Collection)
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Crew Information Gordon Robert “Bob” Wilson flew 25 operations with the same crew, who arrived at 463 Squadron on 12 November 1944, after training at No. 5 Lancaster Flying School (L.F.S.). The Crew are listed below, with their rank during their posting to 463 Squadron.

Pilot Flying Officer Hubert James (Jim) TOWNLEY, RAAF
Engineer (and 2nd pilot) Sergeant J. (Jim) AULD, RAF
Navigator Flying Officer John (Jock) CAMPBELL, RAAF
Bomb Aimer Flying Officer Herbert Stanley (Stan) SHARPE, RAAF
Wireless Operator Flight Sergeant Valdemar William (Bill) CHRISTENSEN, RAAF
Mid Upper Gunner Flight Sergeant Gordon Robert (Bob) WILSON, RAAF
Rear Gunner Flying Officer James Ian Malcolm (Blue) ANDREW, RAAF

The following information has been sourced from the WW2 Nominal Roll, with some of the Crew promoted to higher rank by discharge date.

 

Pilot

Name – Hubert James TOWNLEY
Service – RAAF
Service Number – 427271
Date of Birth – 18 March 1922
Place of Birth – Buckland Hill, Western Australia
Date of Enlistment – 15 June 1942
Place of Enlistment – Perth, Western Australia
Next of Kin – Thomas TOWNLEY
Date of Discharge – 11 March 1946
Rank at Discharge – Flying Officer
Posting at Discharge – 9 Aircrew Holding Unit

 

Navigator

Name – John CAMPBELL
Service – RAAF
Service Number – 432461
Date of Birth – 4 February 1912
Place of Birth – Warburton, Victoria
Date of Enlistment – 2 January 1943
Place of Enlistment – Sydney, New South Wales
Next of Kin – Betty CAMPBELL
Date of Discharge – 19 December 1945
Rank at Discharge – Flying Officer
Posting at Discharge – 16 Aircrew Holding Unit

 

Bomb Aimer

Name – Herbert Stanley SHARPE
Service – RAAF
Service Number – 432879
Date of Birth – 11 March 1924
Place of Birth – Byron Bay, New South Wales
Date of Enlistment – 30 January 1943
Place of Enlistment – Sydney, New South Wales
Next of Kin – George SHARPE
Date of Discharge – 12 April 1946
Rank at Discharge – Flight Lieutenant
Posting at Discharge – 467 Squadron

 

Wireless Operator

Name – Valdemar William CHRISTENSEN
Service – RAAF
Service Number – 436144
Date of Birth – 10 July 1918
Place of Birth – Melbourne, Victoria
Date of Enlistment – 11 November 1942
Place of Enlistment – Perth, Western Australia
Next of Kin – Vera CHRISTENSEN
Date of Discharge – 12 April 1946
Rank at Discharge – Flying Officer
Posting at Discharge – 466 Squadron

 

Mid Upper Gunner

Name – Gordon Robert WILSON
Service – RAAF
Service Number – 435586
Date of Birth – 17 May 1925
Place of Birth – Brisbane, Queensland
Date of Enlistment – 18 June 1943
Place of Enlistment – Brisbane, Queensland
Next of Kin – John WILSON
Date of Discharge – 15 February 1946
Rank at Discharge – Pilot Officer
Posting at Discharge – 9 Aircrew Holding Unit

 

Rear Gunner

Name – James Ian Malcolm ANDREW
Service – RAAF
Service Number – 439509
Date of Birth – 14 July 1925
Place of Birth – Melbourne, Victoria
Date of Enlistment – 3 July 1943
Place of Enlistment – Sydney, New South Wales
Next of Kin – James ANDREW
Date of Discharge – 17 April 1946
Rank at Discharge – Flying Officer
Posting at Discharge – RAF Gamston

 

Flight Engineer (and 2nd Pilot)

Name – J. AULD
Service – RAF
Service Number – 1571810
Date of Birth – unknown
Place of Birth – unknown
Date of Enlistment – unknown
Place of Enlistment – Edinburgh (?)
Next of Kin – unknown
Date of Discharge – unknown
Rank at Discharge – unknown
Posting at Discharge – unknown

 

 

The information of the crew's RAF Flight Engineer is incomplete. However, he was identified on the crew photograph (above) as Jim, so one could assume his name was James AULD. His service number has been sourced from the 463 Squadron Operational Records, available on the 467463raafsquadrons.com website.

According to the RAFCommands.com website, the Service Numbers for 'other ranks' (not officers) in the series 1550001 to 1575000 were issued from May 1941 in Edinburgh.
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Bob Wilson Service History.

(Some of the Service File forms vary in date by a day or two for the same recorded event. Author's comments are in in italics.)

17 May 1925 – Birth of Gordon Robert Wilson, known as "Bob", parents John G. Wilson and Agnes Dalgleish Wilson. Bob lived with his parents in Wynnum, and Ipswich in Queensland.

19 January 1943 Joined the H.Q. Air Training Corps (A.T.C.) as Cadet No. 21489, aged 17, with No. 3 Wing, 57 Squadron, Brisbane Queensland (Qld).

17 (or 18) June 1943 – Enlisted in the RAAF Citizen Air Force at No. 3 Recruiting Centre (3 R.C.) Brisbane, and Oath signed by G.R.Wilson on 18 June 1943, aged 18 years and 1 month. Allocated Service No. 435586. Previous Occupation Student Teacher; Educational Qualifications Junior Public Certificate; Nationality British; Religion Presbyterian; Single; Residence at enlistment East Ipswich, Qld. Physical description at Medical Examination Height: 5 feet 8 inches; Weight 135 lb (9st 9lb or 61.2kg); Chest 30/32½ inches; Vision 6/6 both eyes; Complexion Dark; Eye colour Grey; Hair colour Dark Brown; 2 scars; no Vaccination marks; Medical Category A1B.A3B. Next of Kin Father, Mr John G. Wilson of 5 Gibson Street, East Ipswich, Qld. (On later record sheets at higher rank, next of kin had been changed to his Mother Mrs A.D. Wilson of the same address.) Digitised photographic negatives (full-face profile and semi-profile) in the Service File are not of good quality so are not reproducible here.
18 June 1942 Classification AC2 (Air Craftman 2) on enlistment.
18 June 1942 Mustering Aircrew V on enlistment.

18 June 1943 – Posted to No. 3 Initial Training School (3 I.T.S.), Kingaroy, Qld.

3 September 1943 Re-mustered as Aircrew V (G).

11 September 1943 Promotion to Leading Air Craftman (L.A.C.).

14 (or 16) September 1943 – Posted to No. 3 Wireless Air Gunnery School (3 W.A.G.S.) Maryborough, Qld.

12 (or 13) December 1943 Posted to 1 Embarkation Depot (1 E.D.) Ransford, Sydney.

7 January 1944 Posted to No. 1 Air Gunnery School (1 A.G.S.), West Sale, Victoria, training in Anson Aircraft, Hours 14.20.

3 February 1944 – Passed No. 41 Air Gunner's Course, and Awarded Air Gunner's Badge.
3 February 1944 –
Promotion to Sergeant.
3 February 1944 – Remustered as Air Gunner V.

4 February 1944 Posted to 2 E.D., Bradfield Park, Sydney.

1 March 1944 Embarked from Brisbane for the UK, via the USA. (Details of this journey, recorded in a diary kept by R.B.Hetherington, are included on the Hibberd Service page.)

7 April 1944 Attachment to RAF.
7 April 1944 – Disembarked at Gourock, Scotland.

7 (or 8) April 1944 Posted to 11 Personnel Despatch and Reception Centre (11 P.D.R.C.), Brighton.

6 June 1944 – Posted to 27 Operational Training Unit (27 O.T.U.), Church Broughton, training in Wellington Bombers, hours 89.55.

3 August 1944 Promotion to Flight Sergeant.

30 August 1944 Posted to 51 Base, 1654 Heavy Conversion Unit (1654 H.C.U.), Wigsley, Nottinghamshire, training in Stirling Bombers, hours 49.45.
30 August 1944 Attachment to Aircrew School, 51 Base.

1 September 1944 "Crime and Punishment" for the Act of "A.W.L." (Absent without leave?); Sentence "Admonished, forfeits 1 days pay"; Location Scampton; Authority 51 Base. (It seems this episode was not a major crime, and it did not affect his later promotions. However what was the reason for the charge of A.W.L. just 2 days after his arrival at this Base?)

5 September 1944 Attachment to 1654 HCU to 23 October 1944.

23 October 1944 Attachment to No. 5 Lancaster Flying School (5 L.F.S.)

2 November 1944 Posted to 5 L.F.S., Syerston, flying in Lancaster Bombers, hours 12.10.

12 November 1944 Posted to 463 Squadron, Waddington, Lincolnshire UK, serving as Mid Upper Gunner in Lancaster Bombers.
463 Sqdn Ops training hours 129.50. Total training hours 269.30.
Operational flying 24 sorties with Ops hours of 176.20. Total Ops and training hours 472.20.
463 Squadron had been created from C Flight of 467 Squadron RAAF on 25 November 1943, and both Squadrons were part of 5 Group, Bomber Command. In July 1945, 463 Squadron moved to Skellingthorpe. It was disbanded on 25 September 1945.

3 August 1945 Promotion to Warrant Officer.

11 September 1945 Discharged from RAAF on Appointment to a Commission.
12 September 1945 Commissioned to rank of Pilot Officer (Air Gunner), General Duties Branch, RAAF.

20 September 1945 Posted to No. 9 Air Crew Holding Unit (9 A.C.H.U.) RAF Gamston, in preparation for repatriation to Australia. (Also dated as 9 October 1945 on a 2nd document.)

13 November 1945 Posted to 11 P.D.R.C., Brighton.

Early December 1945 Embarked from the UK for Australia. (Date not recorded in Service File, but probably a sea voyage of about 4 weeks, based on M.J.Hibberd's embarkation from the UK on 29 June 1945 and disembarkation in Sydney, Australia on 28 July 1945).

3 January 1946 – Disembarked in Melbourne.

10 January 1946 – Posted to 1 P.D. ex overseas.

13 February 1946 Posted to 3 P.D. Sandgate, Qld, and termination of Appointment. Stat. Dec. signed by G.R.Wilson claiming 30 days War Service Leave on account of having served overseas from 01/03/44 to 03/01/46, a total of 1 year and 10 months outside of Australia.

15 February 1946 Record of Leave showing accrued leave, made up of 7 days Recreation Leave, 30 days War Service Leave, and 30 days Re-establishment Leave, a total of 67 days authorised by 3 P.D. for payment in lieu.

15 February 1946 Discharged with effect from this date on demobilisation, address 5 Gibson Street, East Ipswich, Qld.

3 May 1946 – Certificate (No. 20849) of Service as Officer for P/O G.R.Wilson for period from 12 September 1945 to 15 February 1946. Also listed were the following Medals, 1939-1945 Star, Africa Star, France and Germany Star. He was also eligible for the Returned from Active Service Badge.(The inclusion of the Africa Star may an error. There is no record of any service in Africa in G.R.Wilson's RAAF Service File.)

10 May 1946 – Letter enclosing Certificate of Service and Discharge covering period of service as Airman, and Certificate of Service as Officer forwarded to G.R.Wilson at 5 Gibson Street, East Ipswich, Qld. Certificate No. 17729A Airman and Certificate No. 20849 Officer.

2 July 1946 Receipt for RAAF Airman's Certificate of Service and Officer's Certificate of Service, signed by G.R.Wilson.

Character & Trade Proficiency Assessments for G.R.Wilson through ranks AC2, LAC, Sgt and F/Sgt (as Air Crew Under Training and later as Air Gunner) and at various postings, were all "Very Good" for Character; "Moderate" for Skill in Trade; and "Satisfactory" for Ability as N.C.O. He was not recommended for a Commission on 26 May 1945, however he was recommended for and received a Commission in September 1945.
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Crew operations at 463 Squadron, Waddington, Lincolnshire, UK.

Bob served as a mid-upper gunner with 463 Squadron Waddington, from 12 November 1944 to 20 September 1945. The crew flew in Lancaster Bombers and carried out 24 Ops, with a flying time of 176.2 hours. (The table below however lists 25 Ops.) Their crew was one of 12 Crews posted from 5 L.F.S. to 463 Squadron in November 1944. Two of those 12 Crews were lost in December 1944, one on their 1st Op, and the second on their 5th Op.

Five of the Lancasters flown by this Crew were subsequently lost (JO-A, JO-B, JO-C, JO-L and J0-M).

The Ops record of F/Sgt G.R.(Bob) Wilson in the table below was kindly provided by his son Ray Wilson, and was constructed by Ray almost entirely from information obtained from the 467463raafsquadrons.com website. It is reproduced here unchanged. The Comments were the "debriefing comments" from Bob Wilson’s crew at the end of each operation. Abbreviations used in the Ops Record are as follows

OPS = Operations
TIs = Target Indicators (Red, Green and Yellow)
FPU = Film Production Unit (modified Lancaster aircraft)
PRU = Photo Reconnaissance Unit (usually a Mosquito aircraft)
AP = Aiming Point

W/C = Wing Commander
S/L = Squadron Leader
F/L = Flight Lieutenant
F/O = Flying Officer
P/O = Pilot Officer

JO = 463 Squadron Identification
J = Johnny (aircraft identification)
L = Lima (aircraft identification)
B = Baker (aircraft identification)
C = Charlie (aircraft identification)
H = Hotel (aircraft identification)
M = Mike (aircraft identification)

W/O = Warrant Officer
F/S =  Flight Sergeant
S = Sergeant
A.C. = Aircraftman
KIA = Killed in Action
POW = Prisoner of War

 

G. R. WILSON (435586), Mid-Upper Gunner, RAAF Squadron 463 (Lancasters)

Date

Target

Aircraft

Take-off

Landed

Comment

4/5.12.44
1st mission

Heilbronn

NG194 JO.J

16.24

23.43

Sortie completed. Clear over target. Visibility good. Red TIs with briefed overshoot. 12,800 feet. 19.33 hours. 1x4000 HC. 6x1000 HC, 6x 500 GP. Fires seen burning but believed slight tendency to overshoot. 1x 1000 HC hung up and brought back to base.

6/7.12.44
2nd mission

Giessen

ND733 JO.L

16.55

23.42

Sortie complete. Some cloud – about 5/10, but TIs visible. Portion off Red TI (slightly to starboard). 10,250 feet. 20.19 hours. 12x 1000 MC. Ix Munroe 233. Good fires well concentrated.

8.12.44
3rd mission

Urft Dam

ND733 JO.L

 

 

Sortie completed. NO TARGET ATTACKED. Target obscured by cloud. Not sufficient ground detail seen to pinpoint. 14x 1000 MC brought back to base. Impossible to bomb target.

10.12.44
4th mission

Urft Dam

NG194 JO.J

04.29

07.31

Sortie not completed. Ordered to return to base.

11.12.44
5th mission

Urft Dam

ME298 JO.B

11.55

17.07

Sortie completed. NO TARGET ATTACKED. 8/10ths cloud – tops about 6,000 feet. Target identified through break in cloud after running over but could not be seen in graticule on run-up. 14x 1000 MC brought back to base.

17/18.12.44
6th mission

Munich

ME298 JO.B

16.20

02.26

Sortie completed. Slightly hazy. No cloud. Red TIs as planned plus 24 secs. Delayed release. 11,250 feet. 12.07 hours. 1x4000 HG, ??? Target burning well in area expected. About ten minutes after leaving target we saw a load of incendiaries jettisoned on track.

28/29.12.44
7th mission

Shipping Off Moss

PB845 JO.C

19.27

02.43

Sortie completed. Clear – good visibility. One large unidentified ship. 1st run 7,500 feet, 23.39 hours. 2nd run 7.500 feet, 23.54 hours. 12x 1000 HG. Rear gunner reports fire seen on ships.

30/31.12.44
8th mission

Houffalize

PB804 JO.A

02.11

07.42

Sortie completed. NO TARGET ATTACKED. 9/10ths cloud – tops 8,000 feet. Red TIs were obscured on our run until right under me. A satisfactory run could not be carried out. The time was then H5 putting an orbit out of the question. 2 x1000 ANM65, 2 x 500 CP jettisoned safe in approved area in Wash, 7.121/2 hours, 1,600 feet. Remainder of load BBB (Brought Back to Base).

1/2.1.45
9th mission

Mittellandkanal

ND733 JO.L

16.54

23.33

Sortie completed. Very clear. Centre of Red TIs. 10,250 feet 19.28 hours. 12x 1000 MC No bomb bursts or damage observed. Effective bombing straight forward trip.

4/5.1.45
10th mission

Royan

ME298 JO.B

00.37

07.20

Sortie completed. No cloud – good visibility. 6/10ths cloud some height above, broken. Left side of northern red TIs – 11 secs delay. 6,000 feet 4.05 hours. 1x4000 MC, 14 x 500 CP, 2 x 500 MC. Bombs were seen bursting on TIs undershooting. Some were seen bursting on perimeter NW of town. Marking appeared later than usual causing possible congregation.

7/8.1.45
11th mission

Munich

ME298 JO.B

16.43

02.10

Sortie completed. No cloud below when bombing, some smoke. After bombing ran into 10/10th and climbed out of same – tops 19,500 feet. Centre of green TIs plus 15 secs overshoot. 18,000 feet 20.321/2 hours. 1x4000 HC, IN 6 xNo 25 x 4lb, 1 Munro Nickel 7 264. Bombing appeared concentrated with a great deal of smoke. Plenty of fire with glow which could be seen some distance away.

13/14.1.45
12th mission

Politz

ND733 JO.L

16.23

02.50

Sortie completed. Clear – no cloud. MPI of concentration of red and green TIs as directed by Controller. 15,900 feet, 22.16 hours. 1x4000 HC, 9 x 500 NC, 2x500HC. Considerable smoke and some fires seen over target. One large explosion seen 22.20 hours.

16/17.1.45
13th mission

Brux

PB804 JO.A

18.09

03.16

Sortie completed. 10/10ths cloud, tops about 6/8,000 feet. Bombed glow of green TIs through cloud. Nothing on VHF until after bombing when Controller’s instructions were heard faintly. 16,500 feet, 22.38 hours. 1 x 4000 HC, 9 x 500 GP, 2 x 500 HC. Glow of fires could be seen reflected on the clouds and a column of black smoke rose above the cloud.

1/2.2.45
14th mission

Siegen

PB845 JO.C

16.15

22.26

Sortie completed. 10/10ths cloud – tops about 5/6,000 feet. On first run up on glow of red TIs all bombs hung up. Second run made and bombs released manually on estimated centre of glow. 11,750 feet 19.29 hours. 1 x4000 HC, IN, 15x500 NC. No results observed. Glow of fires seen on clouds.

19/20.2.45
15th mission

Bohlen

PB845 JO.C

23.51

07.44

Sortie completed. 10/10ths cloud tops around 9,000 feet. A light faint tinge of red, direct. This could hardly be termed a glow. 12,700 feet, 04.26 hours. 1 x 4000 HC, 9 x 500. No results could be seen. 5100N 1115E 04.40, 6,000 feet large building or shed seen burning as we passed homewards. 5100N 1055E 04.44 hours 6,000 feet, further fires observed. 

20/21.2.45
16th mission

Gravenhorst

PB845 JO.C

21.48

05.52

Sortie completed. 10/10ths cloud tops about 2,000 feet estimated. Visibility excellent in bright moonlight. 12x1000 HC, 4 x 500 NC. All bombs brought back to base.

3/4.3.45
17th mission

Ladbergen Canal

PB845 JO.C

18.32

00.09

Sorties completed. 8/10ths Stratus – tops 3-4,000 feet. Cluster of red TIs. Immediately after bombing undershoot by 3 secs. was instructed by Controller. Dived immediately after bombing to avoid another aircraft. 9,000 feet 22.02 1/2 hours. 19 x100, ???. No results observed. It appears the flak defences were waiting for us this time, little more intense than usual.

5/6.3.45
18th mission

Bohlen

PB845 JO.C

17.30

02.49

Sortie completed. 8/10ths cloud – tops nearly 10,000 feet. Estimated centre of glow only seen of Wangarri flares going down through cloud. 11,000 feet, 21.50 hours. 1 x 4,000 HC, IN 11 x 500, 12 x 500. 2 to 3 minutes before our bombs gone. A terrific orange-coloured flash from the ground was seen lasting a couple of seconds. After leaving target we descended according to flight plan to 5,500 feet and experienced fairly severe icing. Climbed again to 7,500 feet where it was less troublesome, otherwise kept to flight plan.

7/8.3.45
19th mission

Harburg

PB264 JO.H

18.30

00.52

Sortie completed. 2-3/10ths cloud – tops approximately 11-12,000 feet. Cluster of red TIs with 7 secs overshoot. 14,000 feet, 22.031/2 hours.  Black smoke was billowing up to 5,000 feet and a big fire could be seen. Controller precise with his instructions. Appeared a very successful attack. Searchlights on leg between “F” and “C” vary action- flak cooperating.

12.3.45
20th mission

Dortmund

PB845 JO.C

13.07

18.58

Sortie completed. 10/10ths cloud – tops 8-9,000 feet. Two green smoke puffs at 16.45 hours. Master Bomber did instruct to bomb Blue smoke puffs, but there were none in view on our bombing run. 15,000 feet, 16.49 hours. 1 x4000 HC, IN 13 x500, 2 Munro Nickols. Huge pall of smoke penetrated cloud. If markers were accurate a good concentration would be achieved. Had difficulty getting on bombing run as we were the lowest aircraft, and no other aircraft were at our height at time of bombing, all were above.

16/17.3.45
21st mission

Wurzburg

PB845 JO.C

17.42

01.32

Sortie completed. 4-5/10ths cloud approximately 4,000 feet cumulus. Overshoot western edge of the red TIs by 19 seconds as ordered by the controller. 8,500 feet, 21.35 hours. 1 x 4000 HC, 11, 150x 4lb incendiary. Good fires were started, the glow from which could be seen ¾ hour after leaving the targey. No comment.

22.3.45
22nd mission

Bremen

NN804 JO.B

11.33

16.09

Sortie completed. Visibility excellent – no cloud. 20,000 feet, 14.07 hours. Window crew (could be film unit, note no bombs). Concentration of bombs appeared to be at eastern end of railway bridge. VHF transmitting their points practically all the way in from position ‘A’.

23/24.3.45
23rd mission

Wesel

ME478 JO.M

19.46

01.04

Sortie successful. Visibility excellent – no cloud. Bombed northern edge of red TIs as instructed. 8.500 feet 22.40 hours. 14x 1000HC Bomb bursts appeared to be concentrated starboard of target. Controller’s orders clearly understood. Marking clearly seen.

7/8.4.45
24th mission

Molbis

RA576

18.33

02.42

Sortie completed. Very good (visibility) no cloud. The northern tip of red TIs as instructed by controller. They were partly obscured by smoke. 13,000 feet, 23.10 hours. 1x 4000 HC, 12 x500. A huge explosion seen at 23.12 hours approx. No comment.

18/19.4.45
25th mission

Komotau

RA576

23.09

07.45

Sortie completed. Clear over target. Yellow TI at northern edge of Red TIs with 8 seconds overshoot. 8,250 feet, First bombing appeared very accurate but subsequent bombing appeared rather to port of target point. Arrived at target slightly early and did one orbit to starboard.

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Bob Wilson – Life after the War.

After the war, Gordon Robert (Bob) Wilson returned to the Teachers’ Training College in Brisbane to complete the studies he had commenced before his enlistment in the RAAF. He met his future wife Joan Crawford on the train going to the College, when Bob travelled from Ipswich to Brisbane, and Joan was living at Corinda (a suburb along the same train line). They married on 16 December 1946, Bob aged 21 and Joan aged 19. They later had 2 children, a son Raymond, and a daughter Rhyl. After completing his studies, Bob worked as a teacher at the Gold Coast and South Burnett regions of Queensland, and later in the Northern Territory.

Unfortunately Bob passed away on 6 March 1967 from a heart attack, 2 months before his 42nd birthday. At that time he was the Principal of the school at Maningrida, on the northern coast of Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory. His wife Joan is also now deceased.

As of March 2011, there are now five grand-children (three from son Ray, and two from daughter Rhyl), and five great-grandchildren.

Sadly, many of the memorabilia relating to Bob's RAAF War Service (log book, photos, etc) were lost in Cyclone Tracy, which devastated the city of Darwin in the Northern Territory on Christmas Eve in 1974.
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Links with M.J.Hibberd during WW2.

There are many similarities between the RAAF Service of Gunners Bob Wilson, Max Hibberd, Bob Hetherington and Flip Harris, all pictured in the Luna Park photo as recently qualified Sergeants.

Gordon Robert Wilson was born on 17 May 1925 in Brisbane and lived in Ipswich, a city to the west of Brisbane. Maxwell James Hibberd was born on the 6 March 1925 at Wondai, and in his teenage years lived at Brookfield, a western suburb of Brisbane.

Bob had commenced training as a Teacher in Brisbane before his enlistment. Max had commenced studies for a Diploma in Agriculture at Queensland Agricultural High School and College, Lawes, Gatton before he enlisted.

Bob and Max were both Cadets with the Air Training Corp (A.T.C.) in No. 3 Wing. Bob joined 57 Squadron on 19 January 1943 and Max joined 53 Squadron Brisbane on 20 August 1942. Thy may have crossed paths at Cadet training camps.

Bob enlisted in the RAAF on 18 June 1943, a month after his 18th birthday, and was posted to 3 I.T.S. Kingaroy. Max had already enlisted on 22 April 1943, 1½ months after his 18th birthday and was posted to 2 I.T.S. Bradfield Park, Sydney.

They were both posted to No. 3 W.A.G.S., Maryborough Bob on 16 September 1943, and Max on 22 June 1943 in Course 40. It is possible that they met during their training there, but it is not known if they were in the same course.

They were both posted from 3 W.A.G.S. to 1 E.D. Ransford, Sydney Bob on 12th or 13th December 1943, and Max on 12 December 1943.

They were both posted to 1 A.G.S., Sale, Victoria Bob on 7 or 9 January 1944 to Course 41, and Max on 7 January 1944, also to Course 41. Both qualified as an Air Gunner on 3 February 1944, and each received their Air Gunnery Badge and promotion to Sergeant on the same date. Harris and Hetherington were in the same Course.

All four newly qualified Air Gunners, and Sergeants were posted to 2 E.D., Sydney on 4 February 1944. Sometime during this posting the photo "Behind the Bar" at Luna Park was taken. They travelled from Sydney to Brisbane by troop train on 28 February 1944, and all embarked on 1 March 1944 from Brisbane on the ship "USAT Sea Corporal". They all disembarked at Gourock in Scotland and were posted to 11 P.D.R.C. Brighton on 7 April 1944.

Sergeants Wilson, Harris and Hibberd were all posted to 27 O.T.U. Lichfield (Church Broughton Satellite Airbase) on 6 June 1944 to train in Wellington Bombers, however Sgt Hetherington had already been posted on 18 May 1944 to 4 (C) O.T.U., Alness, Scotland.

All four Gunners were promoted to Flight Sergeant on 3 August 1944.

On 30 August 1944, Wilson was posted to 51 Base, 1654 H.C.U. Wigsley to train in Stirling aircraft. Harris had been posted out on 25 August 1944 to No. 1663 Heavy Conversion Unit, Rufforth, and Hibberd had been posted on 25 August 1944 to 41 Base, and thence to 1652 H.C.U. Marston Moor training in Halifax aircraft.

Wilson was later posted to 463 Squadron, Waddington, Bomber Command, flying in Lancaster bombers as Mid Upper Gunner.
Harris was posted to 158 Squadron, Lissett, Bomber Command, flying in Halifax bombers as Rear Gunner.
Hibberd was posted to 462 Squadron, Foulsham, Bomber Command, flying in Halifax bombers as Rear Gunner.
Hetherington was posted to 461 Squadron, Coastal Command, flying in Sunderland aircraft as Mid Upper Gunner.

Wilson, Hibberd and Hetherington were promoted to Warrant Officer on 3 August 1945, and Wilson was further promoted to Pilot Officer on 12 September 1945. Harris had received a promotion to Pilot Officer on 16 March 1945, and later to Flying Officer on 16 September 1945.

Wilson was demobbed at No. 3 P.D. Sandgate, Queensland on 15 February 1946; Hibberd at No. 3 P.D. Sandgate on 18 February 1946; and Hetherington at No. 3 P.D. Sandgate on the 23 January 1946. It is known that Hetherington and Hibberd met up at Sandgate prior to being demobbed. It is highly likely that Wilson also renewed contact with either or both of them at this time. Harris had been discharged on 6 December 1945.

It is not known if Wilson maintained contact after the War, with any of the other three Gunners in the Luna Park photo.
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