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6 August 2019
Crew 60, Pilot James Gidley Fleming – 462 Squadron RAAF

 

 

Wanted please: Photo of Crew,
or of individual crew members,
and information about them.

If you can assist, please make contact.

 

Crew 60, 462 Squadron, 100 Group,
Foulsham, Norfolk

Pilot: James Gidley FLEMING
Navigator: Colin Thomas BENN
Bomb Aimer: James IRWIN
Wireless Operator: Vincent Anthony COUGHLIN
Flight Engineer: J L FITCH
Mid-Upper Gunner: Darwin Courtney FRUNKS
Rear Gunner: Thomas HANDLEY
Special Duties – WINDOW: five
Special Duties – Radio Counter Measures: one

Links to Additional Crew Information; and Crew Ops.
Reference sources – Australian WW2 Nominal Roll;
National Archives of Australia – RAAF Service File (Nav BENN);
NAA – 462 Squadron Operational Record Book.

 

James Gidley Fleming, 429180 RAAF, 462 Squadron, Foulsham 1945.
From the Aus War Memorial, P01523.028
Pilots, "B" Flight, Foulsham, June/Sept 1945

Above: James Gidley FLEMING, 462 Squadron, Foulsham

 

Pilot

Name: James Gidley FLEMING (Jim)
Service: Royal Australian Air Force
Service Number: 429180
Date of Birth: 29 December 1915
Place of Birth: Coogee, New South Wales
Date of Enlistment: 27 October 1942
Place of Enlistment: Sydney, NSW
Next of Kin: Annie FLEMING
Date of Discharge: 16 January 1946
Rank at Discharge: Flying Officer
Posting at Discharge: RAF Station Foulsham
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Colin Thomas BENN, 414884 RAAF, later 462 Squadron, Foulsham.Colin Thomas Benn, 414884 RAAF, 462 Squadron, Foulsham 1945.
Left: National Archives of Australia, A9300, 414884;
Right: Navigators, from the Evans Family Collection.

Above left: P/O Colin Thomas BENN (01 Nov 1942, Canada ?)
Above right: 462 Squadron, Foulsham, Feb/March 1945.

 

Navigator

Name: Colin Thomas BENN
Service: Royal Australian Air Force
Service Number: 414884
Date of Birth: 08 March 1916
Place of Birth: Toowoomba, Queensland
Date of Enlistment: 06 December 1941
Place of Enlistment: Brisbane, Qld
Next of Kin: Olive BENN
Date of Discharge: 29 January 1946
Rank at Discharge: Flight Lieutenant
Posting at Discharge: 462 Squadron, RAAF
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Bomb Aimer

Name: James IRWIN
Service: Royal Australian Air Force
Service Number: 429572
Date of Birth: 16 September 1915
Place of Birth: Cordalba, Qld
Date of Enlistment: 09 October 1942
Place of Enlistment: Brisbane, Qld
Next of Kin: Muriel IRWIN
Date of Discharge: 20 February 1946
Rank at Discharge: Warrant Officer
Posting at Discharge: 9 Aircrew Holding Unit
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Wireless Operator

Name: Vincent Anthony COUGHLIN
Service: Royal Australian Air Force
Service Number: 430441
Date of Birth: 05 January 1925
Place of Birth: ......
Date of Enlistment: 29 January 1943
Place of Enlistment: ......
Next of Kin: D COUGHLIN
Date of Discharge: 27 February 1946
Rank at Discharge: Warrant Officer
Posting at Discharge: 9 Aircrew Holding Unit
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J L Fitch, 1811685, RAF, 462 Squadron, Foulsham 1945.
From the A. Newstead Collection,
Flight Engineers, Foulsham, June 1945.

Above: J L FITCH, 462 Squadron, Foulsham

 

Flight Engineer

Name: J L FITCH
Service: Royal Air Force (VR?)
Service Number: 1811685
Date and Place of Birth: ......
Date of Enlistment: ...... **
Place of Enlistment: ......
Next of Kin: ......
Date, Rank and Posting at Discharge: ......

** From the website http://www.ab-ix.co.uk/rfc_raf.pdf which details RFC and RAF Service Numbers: No. 1800001 to No. 1814800 were allocated from December 1941 at Euston. This batch includes 1811685 for J L FITCH.
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Mid-Upper Gunner

Name: Darwin Courtney FRUNKS
Service: Royal Australian Air Force
Service Number: 440244
Date of Birth: 09 February 1921
Place of Birth: Bathurst, NSW
Date of Enlistment: 25 September 1943
Place of Enlistment: Sydney, NSW
Next of Kin: William FRUNKS
Date of Discharge: 12 March 1946
Rank at Discharge: Warrant Officer
Posting at Discharge: 9 Aircrew Holding Unit
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Rear Gunner

Name: Thomas HANDLEY
Service: Royal Australian Air Force
Service Number: 439759
Date of Birth: 05 January 1925
Place of Birth: Inverell, NSW
Date of Enlistment: 31 July 1943
Place of Enlistment: Sydney. NSW
Next of Kin: Thomas HANDLEY
Date of Discharge: 04 February 1946
Rank at Discharge: Warrant Officer
Posting at Discharge: 9 Aircrew Holding Unit
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Special Duties – to dispense WINDOW
Photos and further information on SD – WINDOW page

F/Sgt R G IRMINGER, 437308 RAAF
F/Sgt V W CHAFFER, 433195 RAAF
F/Sgt S.E. TILLS, 17596 RAAF
F/Sgt Herbert Ernest Alfred STANTON, 428058 RAAF
(Stanton was usually Wireless Operator for Crew 55, Pilot Swann)
F/Sgt J C EMSLIE, 429541 RAAF
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Special DutiesRadio Counter Measures
Further information on SD – RCM page

F/Sgt E C REINKE, R.218397 RCAF

 

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Additional crew information – as of late July 2019 when preparing this page, only the RAAF Service File for Nav Colin BENN had been digitised. His details are included separately below. Information was also sourced from the 462 Squadron Operational Record Book (NAA digitised file). The RAF Service File for F/Eng FITCH was not available. Therefore there is little extra to be added for the other members of the crew. However if anyone can assist, please make contact.

FLEMING and Crew was posted TO 462 Squadron, 100 Group, Norfolk, in February 1945. In the ORB Form 540, Part III Personnel, the crew's names were listed after those of Alf BALL and Crew 59, who were posted TO the squadron on 16 February. According the RAAF Service File for Nav BENN, he was posted TO 462 Squadron on 23 February 1945. It is probable that the other members of the crew were posted TO the squadron on the same date.

FLEMING and Crew 60 was assigned to "B" Flight of 462 Squadron, as was Alf BALL's Crew 59.

A photo of this crew of 7 has not yet been located. However on the 462 Squadron Foulsham page, some group photos with identification included members of this crew.
Pilot FLEMING was included in the photo of 462 Squadron Pilots in March 1945. He was also in the photo of "B" Flight Pilots at Foulsham, dated as sometime between June and September 1945 (cropped portrait image in previous section).
Nav BENN was included in the photo of Navigators February/March 1945 (cropped portrait image in previous section).
F/Eng FITCH was included in the photo of Flight Engineers, June 1945 (cropped portrait image in previous section).
From the date of the crew's posting compared with the dates of group photos of Bomb Aimers, Wireless Operators and Gunners, it is probable that B/A IRWIN, Nav COUGHLIN, and Gunners FRUNKS and HANDLEY are in those photos, but as yet un-identified.

Rank – The Crew mostly maintained their individual rank during their posting – Pilot FLEMING as Pilot Officer; Nav BENN as Flight Lieutenant; F/Eng FITCH as Sergeant; and the others as Flight Sergeants, except for COUGHLIN who had progressed to rank of W/O. By time of discharge from the RAAF, Fleming was a Flying Officer, and three former F/Sgts had each been promoted to rank of Warrant Officer.

The Crew was posted FROM the squadron in September 1945. Pilot Fleming is listed in the first 27 officers, so was possibly in the first draft to depart. Nav BENN's Service File records his departure as 08 September 1945, and he seems to have been in the 2nd draft of 7 Officers to depart. F/Eng FITCH was most likely posted with other remaining RAF Flight Engineers to RAF Bruntingthorpe on 22 September 1945. The four RAAF NCOs were all posted on to 9 Aircrew Holding Unit at Gamston.

From the RAAF Service File of Nav BENN, the following postings/dates are probably also applicable to other members of this crew.

04 July 1944 (on or soon after) – posted to 27 Operational Training Unit, Lichfield, formation of crew of 6 (as was usual at an OTU), training in Wellington aircraft.
29 September 1944 – Posted to 41 Base, Acaster Malbis; then to 74 Base, 1652 Heavy Conversion Unit, Marston Moor; Flight Engineer FITCH would have joined the crew at 1652 HCU; training, conversion to Halifax aircraft.
23 February 1945 – Posted to 462 Squadron, 100 Group, Foulsham, for Operational Duties.
28 February to 08 March 1945 – BENN on 9 days leave; Crew probably also on leave.
22 March 1945 – Operational duties commenced with Crew's first Op.
21 April to 27 April 1945 – BENN on 7 days leave; Crew probably also on leave.
02 May 1945 – Crew's last Op.

Colin Thomas BENN – information extracted from RAAF Service File A9300, from the National Archives of Australia.

08 June 1941 – Enrolled in RAAF Reserve, at 3a RAAF Recruiting Unit, Dalby; allocated Official Number R.9241, Medical Classification A1B & A3B

06 Dec 1941 – Enlisted at 3 Recruiting Centre (3 RC) Brisbane, single, aged 25yrs 8mths, British subject; height 5 ft 8in, weight 126 lb, fair complexion, grey eyes, fair hair; medical category A1, B2, A, B; Presbyterian, previous occupation School Teacher; education and qualifications – Junior and Senior Public Examinations and Class II Teachers' Exam; residence Dalby, Queensland, next-of-kin his father Frederick Ford BENN of "Newbury" near Dalby, Qld.
06 Dec 1941 – Mustered as Aircrew V
06 Dec 1941 – Classified as Aircraftman 2 (AC2)
06 Dec 1941 – Posted to 3 Initial Training School (3 ITS), Sandgate, Qld

16 Feb 1942 – Re-mustered as Aircrew V (O)

28 March 1942 – Re-mustered as Aircrew II (O)
28 March 1942 – Promoted to Leading Aircraftman (LAC)
24 April 1942 – Completed No 24 Observer's Course, 3 ITS, Passed

25 April 1942 – Posted to 2 Embarkation Depot (2 ED), Bradfield Park, Sydney
13 May 1942 – Posted to 1 ED, Ascot Vale, Melbourne
22 May 9142 – Attached to RCAF
22 May 9142 – Embarked from Melbourne, destination Canada

20 June 1942 – Disembarked in Canada
20 June 1942 – Posted to 5 M Depot, Lachine, Quebec, Canada (Manning Depot)
21 June 1942 – Posted to 10 Air Observer's School (10 AOS), Chatham, New Brunswick, Canada; training in Anson aircraft, 88 hours flying time
22 June 1942 – Re-mustered as Navigator

09 Oct 1942 – Received Air Navigation Badge, Canada
09 Oct 1942 – Re-mustered as Air Navigator
09 Oct 1942 – Promoted to Sergeant
09 Oct 1942 – Granted a Commission, to the rank of Pilot Officer

01 Nov 1942 – Posted to 1 Central Navigation School (1 CNS), Rivers, Manitoba, Canada for Instructional Duties; 6 hours 15 minutes flying time in Anson aircraft (this may be the location and date of the photo of P/O BENN, shown in previous section, and labelled as P/O in his RAAF Service File).

16 Nov 1942 – Posted to 8 AOS, Ancienne Lorette, Quebec, Canada for Instructional Duties; 240 hours 40 minutes flying time in Anson aircraft

09 April 1943 – Promoted to rank of Flying Officer

25 May 1944 – Attachment to RCAF ceased
25 may 1944 – Embarked from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, destination UK
26 May 1945 – Attached to RAF
22 Jun 1944 – Disembarked in UK (also listed as 2 June)
22 Jun 1944 – Posted to 11 PDRC, Brighton, UK (also listed as 2 June)

04 July 1944 – Posted to 27 Operational Training Unit (27 OTU), Lichfield UK; assumed formation of Fleming crew of 6; training in Wellington bombers, 58 hours 15 minutes flying time

29 Sep 1944 – Posted to 41 Base (Acaster Malbis), Yorkshire
.................. – then to 74 Base, 1652 Heavy Conversion Unit (1652 HCU) Marston Moor, Yorkshire; assumed with Fleming Crew, with F/Eng FITCH joining the crew here; training conversion to Halifax aircraft, 46 hours 55 minutes flying time

09 Oct 1944 – Promoted to rank of Flight Lieutenant

23 Feb 1945 – Posted to 462 Squadron, 100 Group, Foulsham, Norfolk, UK, for Operational Duties

28 Feb 1945 – 9 days leave to 08 March 1945 (Crew probably also on leave)
22 March 1945 – first Op with Fleming Crew 60 (all Ops listed in next section)

05 Apr 1945 – Air Sea rescue Course, at Calshot, Southampton, UK, until 19 April 1945 (thereby missing the crew's fourth Op of 09 April 1945)

21 April 1945 – 7 days leave to 27 April 1945 (Crew probably also on leave)
02 May 1945 – Crew's last Op

20 Aug 1945 – completed first Tour with 4 Ops, 19 hours 50 minutes Operational flying time
.................. – and 61 Hours 55 minutes NON-operational flying (Details of BENN's Non-Op flying not known, but may have included post-war "Cook's Tours" over Europe, bomb disposal over the North Sea, participation in flights to/from Schleswig in Operation "Post Mortem", and aircraft air-tests; details were not recorded in Squadron ORB; Log Book not available).

08 Sep 1945 – Posted to 11 PDRC, Brighton, UK, pending repatriation to Australia

26 Sep 1945 – Married Olive Vera ......, of Spondon, Derby, UK (had they met during his posting to 27 OTU, Lichfield, which had a satellite airfield at Church Broughton near Derby?)

27 Oct 1945 – Embarked from UK on ship "Aquitania"
28 Nov 1945 – Disembarked in Australia
28 Nov 1945 – Attachment to RAF ceased
28 Nov 1945 – Posted to 2 Personnel Depot (2 PD), Sydney
29 Nov 1945 – 7 days Recreation Leave, until 06 Dec 1945
07 Dec 1945 – 30 Days Disembarkation Leave, until 06 Jan 1946

08 Jan 1946 – Posted to 3 PD, Brisbane
29 Jan 1946 – Termination of Appointment on Demobilization, at rank of Flight Lieutenant, home address Dalby, Qld
10 May 1946 – Certificate of Service and Discharge as Airman, and Certificate of Service as Officer in RAAF

Honours and Awards – 1939-45 Star, France & Germany Star, Defence Medal, War Medal 1939-45,
Australia Service Medal 1939-45, Returned from Active Service Badge.
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Crew Opscarried out by this crew during their posting to 462 Squadron, "B Flight".

The following table lists the 5 Ops for this crew, during March, April and May 1945. On all five Ops they carried an extra 8th crew member for Special Duties to dispense WINDOW. On Op 1 (22 March 1945), there were nine in the crew, with the 9th man for RCM duties.

There is no record of Pilot FLEMING in the role of 2nd Pilot.
Five of the seven usual members of this crew flew 5 Ops together. However Nav BENN only carried out 4 Ops with the crew (no Op recorded with any other crew). B/A IRWIN carried out 4 Ops with this crew, and one with Pilot GALLOP.

For the crew' s Op 4 on 09 April 1945, there was a substitution for their Navigator and Bomb Aimer.
Navigator BENN was attending a Course of Instruction (No 76 Air/Sea Rescue Course) at Calshot, Southampton, from 05 to 19 April 1945.
Navigator Maxwell Garrod TAYLOR, 434714 RAAF (from SWANN Crew) flew as substitute for Nav BENN.
Bomb Aimer Edmund Theodore PERRIGNON, 432718 RAAF (from SWANN Crew) flew as substitute for B/A IRWIN.
The Fleming crew's usual Bomb Aimer, James IRWIN, flew as substitute B/A for Crew 67, Pilot GALLOP.

Aircraft Serial as listed in the Operational Record Book, Forms 541, from the National Archives of Australia.
Aircraft Code numbers Z5- were not listed in the ORB, but were compared and cross-referenced with other sources;
Times up and down in red were night flights.
Target "Ruhr x 4" means 5 aircraft tasked from 462 Squadron to the target of the Ruhr, with Fleming's crew being one of those 4 (and so on for the other dates).
Target "Flensburg x 6 (of 10)" means 6 aircraft tasked from 462 Squadron to the target of Flensburg, with Fleming's crew being one of those 6; but with different duties for the extra four 462 Squadron aircraft.
Code for Op Type – SD Special Duties; SP Spoof; W WINDOW; B Bombing; TI Target Indicators.
Comments include names of extra 8th crew member to dispense WINDOW, and 9th for RCM.
This crew did not have any early returns, did not have any other trouble during their Ops (i.e. none was recorded in the ORB), and did not need to "land away" for any reason.

 

Date Op No A/c Serial Code Z5- Up Down Target Op Type Comments
22/03/1945 1 NA240 V 1946 0030 Ruhr x 4 SD SP W Additional 8th member of crew to dispense WINDOW,
F/Sgt R G IRMINGER, 437308 RAAF;
Additional 9th member of crew for RCM duties,
F/Sgt E C REINKE R.218397 RCAF
24/03/1945 2 MZ913 N 1900 2340 Ruhr x 5 SD SP W Additional 8th member of crew to dispense WINDOW, F/Sgt V W CHAFFER, 433195 RAAF
02/04/1945 3

NR284

Q 2052 0146 Stade x 10 (Kiel) SD SP W B TI

Additional 8th member of crew to dispense WINDOW,
F/Sgt S.E. TILLS, 17596 RAAF
4 x 250lb Target Indicators, and 6 x 500lb G P Bombs dropped on target

09/04/1945 4 NR284 Q 1945 0045 Stade x 6 SD SP W Additional 8th member of crew to dispense WINDOW, F/Sgt H E A STANTON, 428058 RAAF
02/05/1945 5 PN168 T 2050 0159 Flensburg x 6 (of 10)

SD SP W B

Additional 8th member of crew to dispense WINDOW,
F/Sgt J C EMSLIE, 429541 RAAF
4 x 500lb M C bombs dropped on target

 

NA240 Z5-V – Op on 22 March was the 4th for this aircraft at 462 Squadron; see its Ops list at end of Halifax page.
NA240 Failed to Return on 11 April 1945, Pilot Alf BALL and Crew 59, 7 KIA, 1 PoW.
MZ913 Z5-N – photo and artwork on Halifax page.
NR284 Z5-Q – photo on Halifax page.
PN168 Z5-T – picture of scale model on Halifax page.

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