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6 July 2017
Crew 36, Pilot Walter Donald Friend – 462 Squadron RAAF

Crew 36, 462 Squadron RAAF, Driffield, Sydney Robert Fuller, Neville Owen Reed, Mervyn George Isaac, Jock Scott (?), Stanley James Minett, Walter Donald Friend, Phillip Swarbrick.
Photo supplied by and used with the permission of the family of
Rear Gunner Neville Owen Reed.

Reference sources – Australian WW2 Nominal Roll; National Archives of Australia (Service Files, Casualty Files, Loss of Aircraft File, 462 Squadron Operational Record Book); Australian War Memorial (Roll of Honour); Commonwealth War Graves Commission; families of Reed and Sanday.

Crew 36, 462 Squadron, Driffield. The Crew is shown here outside the Respirator Workshop, which appears to be the usual location for crew photos at Driffield.

The original photo came from the Neville Owen Reed Collection, held by his daughters. Other than Reed, the crew were not identified by name. An identical photo on page 272 of "To See the Dawn Again; A History of 462 Squadron, RAAF" (by Mark Lax & Leon Kane-Maguire, 2008) had the following identification:- (quote)

Rear, L–R: WOFF Syd Fuller, WOP/AG; SGT Nev Reed, R/AG; FSGT Merv Isaac, MU/AG; SGT Jock Scott, F/Eng.

Front L–R: FSGT Jim Minett, B/A; PLTOFF Don Friend, Plt; FSGT Phil Swarbrick, Nav.

Reed's uniform sleeve shows the rank of F/Sgt, which he attained on 6 July 1944, however the rank and trade brevets for the other men in the photo match their identification. The name Jock Scott was incorrect. He has been identified as George Arthur Edgar SANDAY by his grand-daughter, Nancy. Sanday was this Crew's Flight Engineer, as well being the F/Eng for other crews.

Links to Friend, Swarbrick, Minett, Fuller, Sanday, Isaac, Reed.
Link to additional Crew information and Operational Details.

 

Pilot

Name: Walter Donald FRIEND
Service: Royal Australian Air Force
Service Number: 421196
Date of Birth: 23 May 1922
Place of Birth: Willoughby, New South Wales
Date of Enlistment: 31 January 1942
Place of Enlistment: Sydney, New South Wales
Next of Kin: Walter FRIEND
Date of Discharge: 12 September 1945
Rank at Discharge: Flying Officer
Posting at Discharge: Air Crew Disposal Unit, Keresley Grange, UK.

Below: AC2 Walter Donald Friend 421196, at enlistment in RAAF on 31 January 1942.

AC2 Water Donald Friend, 421196 RAAF, later posted to 462 Squadron.
Photo from the National Archives of Australia: A9300, 421196.
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Navigator

Name: Phillip SWARBRICK
Service: Royal Australian Air Force
Service Number: 427410
Date of Birth: 21 October 1912
Place of Birth: Perth, Western Australia
Date of Enlistment: 6 July 1942
Place of Enlistment: Perth, Western Australia
Next of Kin: Edna Beryl SWARBRICK
Date of Death: 14 January 1945 **
Rank at Death: Flight Sergeant **
Posting at Death: 462 Squadron **
Prisoner of War: No
Roll of Honour: Perth, Western Australia

**KIA in Crew 52, Pilot Astill, 14 January 1945.
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Bomb Aimer

Name: Stanley James MINETT
Service: Royal Australian Air Force
Service Number: 423814
Date of Birth: 20 March 1917
Place of Birth: Eastwood, New South Wales
Date of Enlistment: 18 July 1942
Place of Enlistment: Sydney, New South Wales
Next of Kin: Valentine MINETT
Date of Death: 14 January 1945 **
Rank at Death: Warrant Officer **
Posting at Death: 462 Squadron **
Prisoner of War: No
Roll of Honour: Sydney, New South Wales

**KIA in Crew 52, Pilot Astill, 14 January 1945.
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Wireless Operator

Name: Sydney Robert FULLER
Service: Royal Australian Air Force
Service Number: 421198
Date of Birth: 11 November 1923
Place of Birth: Chatswood, New South Wales
Date of Enlistment: 31 January 1942
Place of Enlistment: Sydney, New South Wales
Next of Kin: Richard FULLER
Date of Death: 14 January 1945 **
Rank at Death: Warrant Officer **
Posting at Death: 462 Squadron **
Prisoner of War: No
Roll of Honour: Brooklyn, New South Wales

**KIA in Crew 52, Pilot Astill, 14 January 1945.
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Flight Engineer

Name: George Arthur Edgar SANDAY
Service: Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Service Number: 1896933
Date of Birth: 16 September 1904
Next of Kin: Phoebe Eileen SANDAY
Date of Death: 24 February 1945 **
Rank at Death: Sergeant **
Posting at Death: 462 Squadron **

**Survivor of Crew 52, Pilot Astill, 14 January 1945;
KIA in role of Special Duties, Crew 39, Pilot Ely, 24 February 1945.

In the crew photo as shown above, the very tall and much older looking Flight Engineer has been identified as George Arthur Edgar SANDAY. Before that War, he was a village policeman in Wiltshire. My thanks go the his grand-daughter Nancy for her advice.
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Mid-Upper Gunner

Name: Mervyn George ISAAC
Service: Royal Australian Air Force
Service Number: 433727
Date of Birth: 8 March 1925
Place of Birth: Young, New South Wales
Date of Enlistment: 8 May 1943
Place of Enlistment: Sydney, New South Wales
Next of Kin: Ernest ISAAC
Date of Death: 14 January 1945 **
Rank at Death: Flight Sergeant **
Posting at Death: 462 Squadron **
Prisoner of War: No
Roll of Honour: Goulburn, New South Wales

**KIA in Crew 52, Pilot Astill, 14 January 1945.
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Sgt Neville Owen Reed, 435209 RAAF, later posted to 462 Squadron.
Photo supplied by and used with the permission of the family of
Rear Gunner Neville Owen Reed.

 

Rear Gunner

Name: Neville Owen REED
Service: Royal Australian Air Force
Service Number: 435209
Date of Birth: 30 January 1922
Place of Birth: Caboolture, Queensland
Date of Enlistment: 29 March 1943
Place of Enlistment: Brisbane, Queensland
Next of Kin: Audrey REED
Date of Discharge: 8 March 1946
Rank at Discharge: Warrant Officer
Posting at Discharge: 9 Aircrew Holding Unit
Prisoner of War: No

Survivor of Crew 23, Pilot Cookson, 14/15 October 1944;
Survivor of Crew 52, Pilot Astill, 14 January 1945.

Photo at left of Sgt Neville Owen Reed, possibly taken soon after receiving his Air Gunner's Badge, and subsequent promotion to Sergeant on 6 January 1944.
A separate page has been created for Neville Owen Reed.

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Crew Information (References:- NAA Service File A9300 for Friend; crew arrival forms in aircraft loss files; 462 Squadron ORB.)

Walter Donald Friend, 421196 RAAF, Pilot and Captain of Crew 36 (some dates vary by a day or two, for the same event on different documents).
August 1940 – Private, Service Number N18157, 30 Battalion, Militia, position Driver; served in the Army for 9 months to January 1942, when released from the Army to enlist in the RAAF.
04 August 1941 – enrolled in the RAAF Reserve at No 2 Recruiting Centre, Sydney; aged 19 yrs and 2 months; single, of Willoughby, New South Wales; was serving as Private/Driver N18157 in 30 Battalion, Militia; his civilian employment was Bank Clerk at the Union Bank, Castlereagh, Sydney; education to Intermediate level; height 5ft 7in; weight 9st 7lb; medical classification A.1.B. and A.3.B.

31 January 1942 – enlisted in RAAF at 2 RC Sydney; aged 19 years & 8 months; other details as per enrolment form; classified as AC2 on enlistment; mustered as Aircrew V; posted to 2 Initial Training School (ITS), Bradfield Park, NSW, in Course 26 (P); next of kin Walter Percy Friend, father, of Willoughby; medical classification A.1.B. and A.3.B., Fit for Full Flying Duties. (Photo at enlistment shown above.)
18 May 1942 – remustered as Aircrew V (P).
20 June 1942 – remustered as Aircrew 2 (P); promoted to LAC.
25 June 1942 – posted to 8 Elementary Flying Training School (EFTS), Narrandera, NSW, flying in D.H.82 aircraft for 81 hrs.
21 September 1942 – posted to 1 Service Flying Training School (SFTS), Point Cook, Victoria, Course 26 (P), flying in Oxford aircraft for 122 hrs 5 m.
14 January 1943 – awarded Pilot's Flying Badge; promoted to Temp Sgt, and remustered as Airman Pilot.
15 January 1943 – posted to 2 ED, Bradfield Park, NSW.
27 February 1943 – posted to 1 ED, Ascot Vale, Melbourne, Victoria (22 February on one document).
06 March 1943 – embarked from Melbourne, Australia for the UK; attached to RAF, UK.

17 April 1943 – disembarked in UK.
18 April 1943 – posted to 11 Personnel Despatch & Reception Centre (PDRC), Brighton UK (or 19 April 1944).
23 May 1943 – attached to RAF Station Bridgnorth, Shropshire, for No 6 Course, to 9 June 1943, while posted to 11 PDRC.
18 June 1943 – attached to 1 EFTS, Holwell Hyde, Hertfordshire, flying in D.H.82 aircraft for 42 hrs 55m, to 9 July 1943.
14 July 1943 – promoted to Temp F/Sgt.
21 July 1943 – posted to 50 Group Pool; attached to 10 FIS (? EIS) Woodley, Berkshire, for EFI (?) Course, flying in D.H.82 aircraft for 67 hrs 40 m, to 7 October 1943.
07 October 1943 – posted to 11 PDRC, Brighton.
02 November 1943 – posted to 3 (P) Advance Flying Unit (AFU), South Cerney, Gloucestershire, flying in Oxford aircraft for 80 hrs 45 m, to 11 April 1944.
07 February 1944 – attached to 1539 B.A.T. Flight, to 29 February 1944, while posted to 3 (P) AFU.

11 April 1944 – posted to 27 OTU, Lichfield, training in Wellington III aircraft for 78 hrs 30m; here a crew of 6 would have formed (without a Flight Engineer).

20 June 1944 – discharged on being granted a Commission.
21 June 1944 – Commission and promotion to Pilot Officer (back-dated, or interview date recorded incorrectly).
23 June 1944 – F/Sgt Friend interviewed by AOC 93 Group and recommended to a Commission.

07 July 1944 – posted to 41 Base, Aircrew Training School, Acaster-in-Malbis, Yorkshire, No 4 Group.
31 July 1944 – posted to 41 Base, 1658 HCU, Riccall, Yorkshire, No 4 Group for conversion to Halifax II aircraft, flying for 44 hrs 55m; here the Flight Engineer would have joined the crew, to make an aircrew of seven.
16 September 1944 – posted to 462 Squadron Driffield, Yorkshire, No 4 Group, Bomber Command; operational flying duties in Halifax aircraft.

17 October 1944 – P/O Friend posted N/E sick,and admitted to SSQ Driffield, then transferred to RAF Officers Hospital Cleveleys, Blackpool; discharged on 16 November 1944; readmitted on 8 December 1944.
21 December 1944 – promotion to Flying Officer.
11 January 1945 – posted to ACDU Keresley Grange, Coventry UK.
10 February 1945 – posted to 11 PDRC, Brighton (or 14 Feb)
09 April 1945 – disembarked Sydney, ex Overseas; posted to 2 ED.
12 September 1945 – discharged from RAAF at Rank of Flying Officer.

All Character and Trade Proficiency at all Musterings rated as VG (Very Good) and RP (Recommended for Promotion).
General Conduct Sheet and Service Conduct Sheet – all postings "certified No Entry".
Leave forms show a range of leave types and times:- inter-station, ordinary, kitting, Privilege, and sick leave.
Aircraft flown by Friend – D.H.82, Oxford, Wellington III, Halifax II and III, as well as Miles Master and Miles Magister aircraft (training location not noted).
Eligible for Returned from Active Service Badge.

08 September 1949 – applied for Enrolment in the Citizen Air Force Reserve, signing the Oath at Crow's Nest, NSW; rank as F/O; currently married, civil occupation Bank Officer in the Union Bank of Australia at Crow's Nest, NSW; no medical disabilities.

Summary for Crew 36
11 April 1944 or thereabouts – 27 OTU, Lichfield – soon after posting here, the crew of 6 would have formed, training in Wellington aircraft.

07 July 1944 – crew of 6 posted to 41 Base, Aircrew Training School, Acaster-in-Malbis, Yorkshire.

31 July 1944 – crew of 6 posted to 41 Base, 1658 HCU, Riccall, Yorkshire, No 4 Group for conversion to Halifax aircraft; here the Flight Engineer would have joined the crew, to make an aircrew of seven.

16 September 1944 – crew of seven posted to 462 Squadron Driffield, Yorkshire, No 4 Group, Bomber Command; operational flying duties in Halifax aircraft. The Air Crew Arrival Forms (at 462 Squadron, Driffield) for Isaac, Fuller, Swarbrick, Minett, and Sanday are all dated 16 September 1944 on posting from 1658 Conversion Unit, Riccall, which match with Pilot Friend's Service File entry. The Arrival form for Reed has not been sighted. The ORB Form 540 Administration for 15 September 1944 states "P/O Friend and crew, reported to the Squadron for flying duties, on posting from No. 1658 Conversion Unit."

14/15 October 1944 – Rear Gunner Reed flew with Crew 23, Pilot/Captain Cookson, as substitute for their usual Gunner W E Toews, R.278376 RCAF; flying in Halifax MZ296 which was lost over Belgium. All crew returned safely, some with injuries. This event is described in the Cookson Crew page.

17 October 1944 – P/O Friend posted N/E sick, leaving crew 36 without a Pilot/Captain.

12 December 1944 – Pilot Officer Alan Edwin Astill was posted to 462 Squadron Driffield from 1663 Conversion Unit (7 Group). He became the Captain of the crew formerly captained by P/O Friend. This crew then became known as Crew 52.

14 January 1945 – Astill and his Crew 52 (Swarbrick, Minett, Fuller, Sanday, Isaac, Reed, and a F/Eng carrying out Special duties, Sgt Leslie Edward Miles 1894484 RAFVR) were flying in Halifax LL598 which crashed soon after take-off. Only Sanday and Reed survived. This event will be covered in the Astill Crew page.

24 February 1945 – Ely and his Crew 39, with Flight Engineer Sanday in the role of Special Duties, were flying in Halifax MZ461 which failed to return from an OP to Neuss, Germany. There were with no survivors in this crew of eight. This event will be covered in the Ely Crew page.
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Ops for Crew 36 Basic details as listed in Air Ministry File "Schedule of Flying Times" in F/O Friend's Service File, Tour commenced on 28 September 1944; additional information from the 462 Squadron ORB for September and October 1944:-

30 September 1944 – Op 1
Target Bottrop, 4 hrs 40m, Friend as 2nd Pilot; 14 aircraft detailed and airborne; all aircraft were up between 0930 and 1004, and all landed between 1407 and 1428. Due to weather conditions over target area (10/10ths cloud cover), no aircraft were able to bomb the primary, all attacked alternative targets, defences were moderate, and six aircraft were slightly damaged by H/F but all returned safely. (None of the 14 aircraft listed in the ORB have a 2nd Pilot listed, and all 14 have crews of 7 named. It appears that Friend's name was omitted from the record. The 462 Squadron ORB does not include the other members of Friend's crew in the Form 541 entries for 30 September 1944.)

06 October 1944 – Op 2
Target Sterkrade, 5 hrs 11 m; as 1st Pilot; Friend and Crew (as named above) in Halifax III LL610; up at 1422 and down at 1933; Bombed primary target from 17,500 ft, bombed visually on M. B.'s instructions, slightly overshot; Photographic report of T/A; one of 18 squadron aircraft for Bombing attack on target Sterkrade; 17 aircraft became airborne, 15 attacked the target, one attacked an alternative target, and one returned early due to engine trouble; several were damaged due to heavy flak over the target; three landed away; (McGindle and crew, NP990 Z5-L, 2 of crew baled out, another 2 injured, aircraft landed at Woodbridge, see story on page for McGindle); results of bombing were considered good in spite of the heavy opposition.

07 October 1944 – Op 3
Target Kleve, 4 hrs 35m; as 1st Pilot; Friend & crew (as named above) in Halifax III NP971; up at 1200 and down at 1635. Bombed primary target from 13,000 ft at 1419 hours; landed away at Hardwick; Photographic report of T/A; one of 12 squadron aircraft for bombing attack on target Kleve; all attacked and returned safely. Weather was poor, with low cloud & misty rain so all returning aircraft (except one) were diverted to Bungay (RAF Hardwick airfield, where this crew landed, was 5m/8km west of Bungay, Norfolk.)

Total Ops
Pilot Friend – 3 daytime Ops, 14 hrs 26 m flying time (9 hrs 45 m as 1st Pilot, & 4 hrs 40 m as 2nd Pilot).
Remainder of this crew with this Pilot – 2 daytime ops (9 hrs 45 m).

For both of the Ops on 6 and 7 October, F/Sgt S J Minett was incorrectly recorded as F/Sgt S J Minott; and Sgt G A E Sanday was incorrectly recorded as Sgt C A Sanday. Also on 6 October, F/Sgt M G Isaac's Service number was initially typed as 533727 then over-typed to correct it to 433727.

Training flights most likely occurred, but are not listed for this crew in the ORB.

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