462 Squadron.com

A tribute to the Crew of Halifax III, NA-240, Z5-V

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06 August 2020
Pilot Michael Frank Hall and Crew – 462 Squadron RAAF Middle East

 

 

 

 

 

Wanted: Photo of Hall Crew, or individuals,
and information about them.

If you can help, please make contact.

 

 

 

HALL and his crew in Halifax II BB417 failed to return from an Op on the night of 11/12 October 1943. All six were killed. The bodies of the crew were never recovered, so their names are recorded on the Alamein Memorial in Egypt, for those with no known grave.

Captain: Michael Frank HALL 1190798 RAFVR
CWGC online and associated documents record Hall's name as Micheal. It was written as Michael in the letter from the Adjutant 462 Squadron to Hall's father (see later section).

Observer: Frank Richmond Vincent NELLO R.97524 RCAF
Wireless Operator / Air Gunner: Albert GRIFFIN 1379996 RAFVR
Flight Eng: Gordon Frederick William LAWRENCE 1218515 RAFVR
Tail Gunner: Raymond Llewellyn FENNELL 1262360 RAFVR
Mid Gunner: Sgt WINDEBANK
Bombardier: Sgt J JAMES was this crew's usual Bombardier, however Melbourne Glaister FRASER 1061575 RAFVR was KIA with Crew.

Additional Crew Information; some Crew Ops;
Details of last Op 11/12 October 1943; and Aircraft Loss.

Information sourced from the 462 Squadron Operational Record Book for 1943 from the National Archives of Australia; Commonwealth War Graves Commission; the family of R L FENNELL, including letters from 462 Sqdn to family of crew members (Thanks go to John Fennell and Avril Browne for scans of photos and letters). Photos of, and information about Melbourne Glaister FRASER were received from David McDonald and Robin Grant, in February 2020; April 1943 ORB Forms 541 from John DANN – thank you all.
Terminology in the October 1943 ORB for 462 Squadron differs from later usage e.g. Observer / Navigator; Bombardier / Air Bomber / Bomb Aimer; Tail Gunner / Rear Gunner.

 

Captain

Name: Michael Frank HALL
Service: Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Service Number: 1190798
Date of Birth: .....
Place of Birth: .....
Date and Place of Enlistment: ..... *
Marital Status: Single
Date of Death: 12 October 1943
Rank at Death: Flight Sergeant
Posting at Death: 462 Squadron RAAF
Age at Death: 21
Grave reference: No known grave
Memorial: Column 269, Alamein Memorial
Son of Neville M and Francis V C Hall (sic)
of Sparkhill, Birmingham

* From the website http://www.ab-ix.co.uk/rfc_raf.pdf which details RFC and RAF Service Numbers: No. 1150001 to No. 1250000 were allocated from April 1940 at Cardington. This batch includes 1190798 for HALL.
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Observer

Name: Frank Richmond Vincent NELLO
Service: Royal Canadian Air Force
Service Number: R.97524
Date of Birth: .....
Place of Birth: .....
Date and Place of Enlistment: .....
Marital Status: Single
Date of Death: 12 October 1943
Rank at Death: Warrant Officer, Class I
Posting at Death: 462 Squadron RAAF
Age at Death: 27
Grave reference: No known grave
Memorial: Column 272, Alamein Memorial
Son of Frank NELLO, and of Jessie Amy NELLO,
of Westview, British Columbia, Canada

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Wireless Operator / Air Gunner

Name: Albert GRIFFIN
Service: Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Service Number: 1379996
Date of Birth: .....
Place of Birth: .....
Date and Place of Enlistment: ..... *
Marital Status: Single
Date of Death: 12 October 1943
Rank at Death: Flight Sergeant
Posting at Death: 462 Squadron RAAF
Age at Death: 22
Grave reference: No known grave
Memorial: Column 269, Alamein Memorial
Son of Henry George and Beatrice M GRIFFIN,
of Kidderminster, Worcestershire

* From the website http://www.ab-ix.co.uk/rfc_raf.pdf which details RFC and RAF Service Numbers: No. 1375001 to No. 1400000 were allocated from August 1940 at Euston. This batch includes 1379996 for GRIFFIN.
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Flight Engineer

Name: Gordon Frederick William LAWRENCE
Service: Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Service Number: 1218515
Date of Birth: .....
Place of Birth: .....
Date and Place of Enlistment: ..... *
Marital Status: Single
Date of Death: 12 October 1943
Rank at Death: Sergeant
Posting at Death: 462 Squadron RAAF
Age at Death: 20
Grave reference: No known grave
Memorial: Column 271, Alamein Memorial
Son of Henry James LAWRENCE and
Alice May LAWRENCE,
of East Dulwich, London

* From the website http://www.ab-ix.co.uk/rfc_raf.pdf which details RFC and RAF Service Numbers: No. 1150001 to No. 1250000 were allocated from April 1940 at Cardington. This batch includes 1218515 for LAWRENCE.
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Flight Sergeant Raymond Llewellyn Fennell, 1262360 RAFVR, of 462 Squadron, KIA 12 October 1943.
Photo from John Fennell.

Raymond Llewellyn FENNELL, 1262360 RAFVR
Photo is undated, Air Gunner's brevet can be seen on
his uniform jacket, so his rank is Sgt or F/Sgt.

 

 

Tail Gunner

Name: Raymond Llewellyn FENNELL
Service: Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Service Number: 1262360
Date of Birth: .....
Place of Birth: .....
Date and Place of Enlistment: ..... *
Marital Status: Married
Date of Death: 12 October 1943
Rank at Death: Flight Sergeant
Posting at Death: 462 Squadron RAAF

Age at Death: 30
Grave reference: No known grave
Memorial: Column 269, Alamein Memorial
Son of Jack and Emily Jane FENNELL;
Husband of Gladys Vera FENNELL,
of New Southgate, Middlesex

* From the website http://www.ab-ix.co.uk/rfc_raf.pdf which details RFC and RAF Service Numbers: No. 1250001 to No. 1299800 were allocated from May 1940 at Uxbridge, Gloucester and Penarth. This batch includes 1262360 for FENNELL.

 

Aircraftman 2 Raymond Llewellyn Fennell, 1262360 RAFVR, in Singapore; later of 462 Squadron, KIA 12 October 1943.

Aircraftman 2 Raymond Llewellyn FENNELL, in Singapore.
Photo is not dated.

Why was he in Singapore? Was he in transit to Australia?
Was he in transit to Africa?

 

 

Caption Aircraftman 2 Raymond Llewellyn Fennell, 1262360 RAFVR, in Singapore; later of 462 Squadron, KIA 12 October 1943.

Caption on reverse of photo at left, as recorded by him:
"1262360 AC/2 FENNELL.
Unfortunately we are not allowed out like this, must wear tunics. Gets awful hot with tunics & tie. The lucky Australians don't wear either.
Mee-ow! I had written this when in S'pore."

 

 

 

Raymond Llewellyn Fennell, 1262360 RAFVR, later of 462 Squadron, with 40 Airmen.

Above: Raymond Llewellyn Fennell, and 40 airmen.

A note beside this photo in a Fennell Family album stated "Ray is in the front row – second from the right. FENNELL is written across his chest." Blue arrow indicates FENNELL. Photo was not dated.

"92 Course" (or possibly 9Z or gz for gunners ?) was most likely when Fennell was training as an air gunner – whereabouts as yet unknown. All 41 men are wearing a summer uniform, so probably not in the UK. Only two are wearing jackets (front row, Perrey and Pullen, 6th & 7th from left, and possibly of higher rank), and only three are wearing ties. The corrugated iron wall of the building behind, could indicate Africa, or Australia, or perhaps Singapore?

This photo replaces the previous scan of a copy which was first used on this page on 6 November 2016. This new version is of better quality, so the names of the other men in the photo are now recorded.

Back row, L to R: Bishop, Oldfield, Pearce, Smith K, Edgson, Dolbear, Morris, Boyton, Barefoot.
2nd row from back, L to R: Woodcock, Lucas, Woodbridge, Cameron, Brewster, Pepper, Yates, McLure, Smith, Pleasance, Harper.
2nd row from front, L to R: Stow, Jacobs, Flynn, Holman, Friend, King, Sharpe, Clark, Bolton, Woolbridge.
Front row, L to R: Rodwell, Everett, Blackford, Riles, Howarth, Perrey, Pullen, Luck, Sedman, Fennell, Warner.

John HEGGARTY, 179888 (previously 1238295), RAFVR, rear gunner in 76 Squadron, later Special Duties (RCM) at 462 Squadron, had undertaken air gunnery training somewhere in Rhodesia under the Empire Air Training Scheme (E.A.T.S.). during 1941 (photo in Rhodesia on his page).
Did Fennell also train as an Air Gunner in Rhodesia?

 

 

Sergeant Raymond Llewellyn Fennell, 1262360 RAFVR, later of 462 Squadron, with group of Sergeant Air Gunners.

Above: Sgt Raymond Llewellyn Fennell, and 12 unidentified Sergeant Air Gunners.

A note beside this photo in a Fennell Family album stated "Ray is in the front row – third from the right."
Blue arrow indicates FENNELL.
No-one else was identified, and the location with a lake or river in the background is not yet known. Photo was not dated.

All 12 men in this photo have Sergeant’s stripes, and a half-wing brevet. On enlargement, these brevets all appear to be AG, and Fennell was an Air Gunner. This photo may therefore be an Air Gunners group at the completion of their training – after receiving their Air Gunner’s badge and subsequent promotion to Sergeant. They may be part of the training group in the previous group photo.

This photo replaces the previous scan of a copy which was first used on this page on 6 November 2016. This new version is of better quality, so the faces of the other men in the photo are now clear.

If anyone recognizes a name or face in either of the two group photos, and can identify locations, please make contact.

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Mid Gunner

Name: B or D WINDEBANK
Service: Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve ?
Service Number: not yet known
Rank: Sergeant
Posting: 462 Squadron RAAF

Ops with this crew from February to May 1943 only,
so was not on the crew's last fatal flight on 12 October 1943.
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Bombardier
Usual member of Crew, but did not fly on the Crew's last Op

Name: J JAMES
Service: Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve ?
Service Number: not yet known
Rank: Sergeant
Posting: 462 Squadron RAAF

Possibly "Paddy" JAMES of Belfast, Northern Ireland, later in
a crew with Pilot "Paddy" KANE, of Giants Causeway, Northern Ireland.
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Melbourne Glaister Fraser, Graduation 1937, later 1061575 RAFVR, Bomb Aimer, 462 Squadron.
Supplied by David McDonald and Robin Grant

Above: Melbourne Glaister FRASER, Graduation photo late 1937 or early 1938. He studied in the Faculty of Law, Queen's University, Belfast, from 1935 to 1937. His civil occupation was Solicitor.

 

Bombardier
Substitute, (KIA with Crew)

Name: Melbourne Glaister FRASER
Service: Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Service Number: 1061575
Date of Birth: 16 March 1913
Place of Birth: Partick, Glasgow, Scotland
Date and Place of Enlistment: ..... *
Marital Status: Single
Date of Death: 12 October 1943
Rank at Death: Flight Sergeant
Posting at Death: 462 Squadron RAAF

Age at Death: 30
Grave reference: No known grave
Memorial: Column 269, Alamein Memorial
Son of John Kilpatrick FRASER and Margaret Glaister FRASER
of Belfast, Northern Ireland.

Solicitor (Incorporated Law Society of Northern Ireland).

* From the website http://www.ab-ix.co.uk/rfc_raf.pdf which details RFC and RAF Service Numbers: No. 965000 to No. 1149977 were allocated from September 1939 at Padgate. This batch includes 1061575 for FRASER.

 

Melbourne Glaister Fraser, with relatives at home in Belfast, later 1061575 RAFVR, Bomb Aimer, 462 Squadron.
Supplied by David McDonald and Robin Grant

Above: Melbourne Glaister FRASER, with relatives on the front steps at home, at Stranmillis Gardens, Belfast. Undated, but thought to be mid to late 1920s. Melbourne is in the centre, tall, with cousins Barbara (left) and Isobel (right).

At the back, in the doorway, are his parents John and Margaret FRASER, also shown below. The adults in front of them are John and Ellen GLAISTER, John being Margaret Glaister FRASER's brother. The girl in front is cousin Ellen; the boy in front is not yet identified.

 

Melbourne Glaister Fraser, with relatives in Glasgow July 1931, later 1061575 RAFVR, Bomb Aimer, 462 Squadron.
Supplied by David McDonald and Robin Grant

Melbourne Glaister FRASER, visiting relatives at Knightswood in Glasgow, July 1931 (as recorded on the reverse). Melbourne is second from the left, and was 18 years and 3 months old. The girls are cousins (L to R) Barbara GLAISTER, age ~20; Isobel Melbourne GLAISTER, age ~18; Ellen GLAISTER, age ~15; daughters of John and Ellen GLAISTER. They are the same cousins as those in the photo at Belfast. The younger boy in the front at Belfast, seems to be the older teenager on the right, at Glasgow, but is not yet identiied.

The extra pair of adults (Belfast) are the parents of the visiting Glasgow female cousins.

 

John Kilpatrick Fraser, father of Melbourne Glaister Fraser 1061575 RAFVR, Bomb Aimer, 462 Squadron.Margaret Glaister Fraser, mother of Melbourne Glaister Fraser 1061575 RAFVR, Bomb Aimer, 462 Squadron.
Supplied by David McDonald and Robin Grant

Above: Parents of Melbourne Glaister FRASER
Left – John Kilpatrick FRASER, and
Right – Margaret Glaister FRASER

Undated, from the Fraser Family Tree photos. John and Margaret are the couple standing at the back of the family group with cousins on the steps at Stranmillis Gardens, shown above (similar background).

 

 


Melbourne Glaister Fraser 1061575 RAFVR (462 Squadron), commemorated in the Book of Remembrance, Queen's University, Belfast.
From The Queen's University of Belfast Book of Remembrance

Fraser, Melbourne Glaister Fraser
Flight Sergeant, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Faculty of Law 1935 – 1937 ......... 12th October 1943

Above: Extract from The Queen's University of Belfast Book of Remembrance (Page 9 of Part 2, 1939-1945).
Archive reference QUB/E/8/5/C

"The Book of Remembrance is an illuminated bound volume in manuscript which records the names of members of the University and its Officers' Training Corps and Air Squadron who died on active service during World War One and World War Two".

The Book was completed in 1952. It is owned by Queen's University Services Club, and may be viewed online at Queen's University Special Collections and Archives.
http://digitalcollections.qub.ac.uk/site/book-of-remembrance/index.php
(Copy and paste link to your web browser)
Permission to publish the extract was received from Queen's University Services Club (Secretary, Joy Guthrie), and the Queen's University Archives (Archivist, Ursula Mitchel) on 24 April 2020.
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Additional Crew Information

Although 462 Squadron was nominally an Australian Squadron, the original HALL crew of 462 Squadron was made up of British members of the RAFVR (from England, and from Northern Ireland), and 1 Canadian in the RCAF. The original crew were all Sergeants. By October, and then a crew of 6, there was one Warrant Officer (RCAF), four Flight Sergeants and one Sergeant (all RAFVR). Three were older (two aged 30 and one aged 27), and three were younger (aged 20, 21 and 22).

From the 462 Squadron ORB ......

There are some variations in spelling of surnames, and the initials for all those named in this crew; and the name FENNELL was mostly recorded as FENNEL.
No Service Numbers were listed in the Operational Forms 541.
Initials were not always listed, sometimes only rank and surname was recorded.
Postings TO the Squadron only mentioned Officers, so the HALL crew's arrival has not been accurately determined, however it may have been January 1943, as their first Op was on 03 February 1943.
For the ops from February to mid-May 1943, there were 7 in the crew, which included a Mid-Upper Gunner.
Later ops had sometimes listed fewer than 6 crew members – were the missing names typing omissions?
Night of 11/12 October 1943 – Last and fatal Op for this crew.

The RAF and RCAF Service Files are not as accessible as files for RAAF crewmen, so extra information on this crew is not currently available. However, additional details and photos can be added in the future should anyone like to contribute – if so, please make contact.

Mid-Upper Gunner WINDEBANK was not listed in the CWGC, to 31 December 1945, so apparently survived WW2. He was not listed in the RAF List, July 1945, so did not receive a Commission. His first name and Service Number are not known. His posting FROM the Squadron has not been located, and as an NCO, probably not recorded.

Bombardier JAMES - first name, Service Number and any promotions are not yet known. He was not listed in the CWGC to 31 December 1945, so also apparently survived WW2. There are several J JAMES In the RAF Lists. From early February 1943, the 462 Squadron ORB has many listings for a Bombardier Sgt JAMES, either no initials, or J; no Service Number, flying with Pilot HALL and several other crews; later Flight Sergeant; and from 18 October to 13 November 1943, flying with Pilot KANE. Posting FROM the Squadron has not been located, but as he was an NCO, it would not be recorded. In this time line there is also a JAMES listed (for 2 Ops only) as a Mid Gunner with another 2 crews, but no Bombardier was listed with those 2 crews. Both instances may have been clerical errors.
This Bombardier may be the same person throughout, with a possible Op Tally of 37 to 39 Ops. He may be the same "Paddy" JAMES of Belfast, Northern Ireland, in a group photo of air and ground crew with Pilot "Paddy" KANE, dated November 1943 (published elsewhere). If so - by a sad coincidence HALL's first Bombardier JAMES from Belfast, was substituted on the last fatal Op by Bombardier FRASER also from Belfast.

Raymond Llewellyn FENNELL 1262360 RAFVR, Tail Gunner – information from his nephew John H C Fennell (Lt Col (Ret'd), Late Royal Engineers).

John started his research into his Uncle's War Service, starting from a photo and an original letter that his father Geoffrey Fennell (RAF Reg't in South Africa) had written home about Raymond. Originally, details on the CWGC site had not only listed Raymond Fennell as serving in an RAAF Squadron (correct), but also that he was a member of the RAAF (incorrect). Successful action was taken by John to have the CWGC record corrected to show the Service Number as RAFVR.
Raymond had died at the age of 30, and was part of a very close family. He was one of five brothers – Jack, Arthur, Geoff (RAF Reg't), Ray (RAFVR), and Bob (RA). Ray was the only brother killed during WW2.
John kindly supplied the portrait photo of Raymond Fennell, as well as the copies of the two group photos (shown in previous section), and copies of two letters about the missing crew (originals not available) – one letter was from the Squadron's Adjutant to Mr Hall (father of Pilot Michael Frank Hall), who had then contacted the the families of the other crew members; and the second letter was from the Squadron's Wing Commander to Raymond Fennell's wife, Gladys (addressed to Mrs R L Fennell). These letters and transcriptions may be read in a later section.
To quote John Fennell ........ "these letters will add to the story of those ordinary blokes caught up in extraordinary events".

After the publication of the copies of the two group photos on 6 November 2016, and viewing of the Hall crew's web page by Fennell family members, the originals of the photos were located. These have now replaced the previous copies, with also an additional photo of AC2 Fennell in Singapore. This raises more questions – why was an AC2 in Singapore? and where did he train as an Air Gunner? Thanks go to John Fennell and Avril Browne for scans of photos and letters.
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Melbourne Glaister FRASER 1061575 RAFVR, Bombardier – information from David McDonald (in Scotland) and Robin Grant (in Northern Ireland). Some basic genealogy - Melbourne was a cousin of David's father; David and Robin share a common great-grandfather. Robin holds the original photos - scans of them were received from David, with permission for use on this tribute site from both. Thank you. No RAFVR Service File was available for viewing.

Melbourne's father - John Kilpatrick FRASER
Melbourne's mother - Margaret Glaister FRASER
Melbourne's siblings - sister Beatrice, brother Thomas

Melbourne's Date of Birth: 16 March 1913
Place of Birth: 124 Dumbarton Road, Partick, Glasgow, Lanarkshire, Scotland (from his birth certificate).

The FRASER family moved from Glasgow to Belfast, Northern Ireland, during WW1, thought to be during 1917. The family lived in Stranmillis Gardens in Belfast. In a letter from Adjutant CAMPBELL to Mr Hall, Pilot Michael HALL's father (in later section), the address for FRASER was listed as 72 Stranmillis Gardens, Belfast.

The photo of the family group (in previous section) shows them on the steps at that address (facade still currently recognizable via Google Maps). Viewing the photo scan at higher magnification, the two adults at the rear are a very close match to the separate photos of Melbourne's parents, which appear to have been taken in the same location.

The photo of Melbourne visiting Knightswood, Glasgow, in July 1931, when viewed at higher magnification, appears to show the same five of the younger generation in the Belfast photo, but a few years older.

Melbourne studied Law at Queen's University, Belfast from 1935-1937, and after graduating (photo in previous section) worked as a Solicitor (Incorporated Law Society of Northern Ireland).

His Service details are not known, but from his RAFVR Service Number 1061575, it seems he enlisted fairly soon after the outbreak of war. His training locations are also not known, but he may have trained in Canada, as did other Bomb Aimers of 462 Squadron (e.g. HORRIDGE RAFVR, of CARTHY Crew 17 Driffield; HARRIS RAFVR of WHATLING Crew 42 Driffield and Foulsham; and PHILPOTT RAAF of GALLOP Crew 67 Foulsham).

April/May 1943 - Sergeant FRASER was not listed in Postings TO 462 Squadron at Gardabia Main. Only Officers were usually listed in Postings TO/FROM, however his usual Pilot F/O MacINTOSH was also not recorded in Postings during April or May 1943.
The Crew's arrival may have been covered by the comment in the ORB, April 1943, Form 540 ......
"During the month 3 Halifax Crews were posted to the Squadron from U.K. Two of the crews bringing in reinforcement Halifax II Aircraft" ........... (No names, no aircraft Serial Numbers)

06 May 1943 - flying from Gardabia Main - Op 01 for FRASER, as Bombardier with Pilot, F/O MacINTOSH and his usual crew (name and initials recorded variously, including as McINTOSH, but assumed to be the same Pilot, at the rank of Flying Officer during that time span).

May to September 1943 - flying from Hosc Raui - Ops 01 to 16, as Bombardier with F/O MacINTOSH.
FRASER was not listed for an Op on 04 June with F/O MacINTOSH, which may have been a clerical error. (Only the Pilot, the 2nd Pilot, and Observer were listed, i.e. crew of three; whereas other crews on the same Op had from five to seven crew members.) If he did fly this Op, his final Tally may actually have been 21.
FRASER was substituted for two Ops, on 05 and 11 August.
Another 3 ops were either abandoned, or did not take off, so not counted in Tally.
FRASER then carried out Ops 17, 18, 19 - one op each with Pilots ELLINOR and HARRISON and CLARKE (each of these 3 Pilots were from 178 Squadron, each flying with basically the same crew from 462 Squadron). These may have been "catch up" ops for FRASER, to match his Ops tally with his usual crew.

October 1943 - flying from Terria - attempted but abandoned Op with Pilot, Sgt MacINTOSH from 178 Squadron (not to be confused with F/O MacINTOSH of 462 Squadron).

11/12 October 1943 - flying from Terria - Op 20, substituted for Pilot HALL's usual Bombardier Sgt J JAMES; the crew Failed to Return, with loss of all six crew members. All of the aircraft UP times were between 2040 and 2054 on the evening of 11 October, with the landing times between 0441 and 0525 on the morning of 12 October, except for one early return at 0001.
12 October 1943 - Death of FRASER and crew officially recorded.
Please see later section for aircraft loss details.

FRASER's Op details

Op Date Pilot, and location of Base
1 06/05/1943 MacINTOSH, Gardabia Main
2 31/05/1943 MacINTOSH, Hosc Raui
(?) 04/06/1943 MacINTOSH, Hosc Raui
(Crew of only 3 - clerical error?)
3 07/06/1943 MacINTOSH, Hosc Raui
4 10/06/1943 MacINTOSH, Hosc Raui
- 12/06/1943 MacINTOSH, Hosc Raui;
Did not take off, engine trouble
- 17/06/1943 MacINTOSH, Hosc Raui;
Abandoned after take off, engine trouble
5 20/06/1943 MacINTOSH, Hosc Raui
- 22/06/1943

MacINTOSH, Hosc Raui; Abandoned after take off, complete Oxygen failure

6 25/06/1943 MacINTOSH, Hosc Raui
7 03/07/1943 MacINTOSH, Hosc Raui
8 09/07/1943 MacINTOSH, Hosc Raui
9 11/07/1943 MacINTOSH, Hosc Raui
10 14/07/1943 MacINTOSH, Hosc Raui
11 24/08/1943 MacINTOSH, Hosc Raui
12 31/08/1943 MacINTOSH, Hosc Raui
13 03/09/1943 MacINTOSH, Hosc Raui
14 07/09/1943 MacINTOSH, Hosc Raui
15 10/09/1943 MacINTOSH, Hosc Raui
16 15/09/1943 MacINTOSH, Hosc Raui; Landed away at Malta, starboard outer engine fluctuating violently
17 17/09/1943 ELLINOR (178 Sqdn), Hosc Raui
18 23/09/1943 HARRISON (178 Sqdn), Hosc Raui
19 27/09/1943 CLARKE (178 Sqdn), Hosc Raui
- 07/10/1943 MacINTOSH (178 Sqdn), Terria; Abandoned, drop in revs 2 x port engines & stbd inner
20 11/10/1943 HALL, Terria, Failed to Return, all KIA

1948 - Melbourne Glaister FRASER's name was recorded by author Margery Boyd in .....
"The War Record of the Queen's University of Belfast, 1939-1947" published by the University, November 1948
- in the list of 155 Members of the University who died on Active Service; and
- in the list of Members of the University who served in the armed and auxiliary forces, that list included
Full name / Graduation year / Primary Degree / Force or Unit / Rank / Decorations or Honours or Death
..... as follows .....
Fraser, Melbourne Glaister / 1937 / Law / R.A.F.V.R. / F/Sgt / Missing, Presumed Killed in Action

1952 - Melbourne Glaister FRASER's name was included in .....
"The Queen's University of Belfast Book of Remembrance" (an extract is shown in the previous section).
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Crew Ops - 462 Squadron ORB, Forms 541, and Forms 540, at the National Archives of Australia; and the previously "missing" April 1943 Forms 541 pages from John DANN in the UK. (Thank you, John)

The first record located for the HALL crew was for an Op on the night of 03/04 February 1943, with seven members in the crew, all at the rank of Sergeant. The crew were (no initials, no service numbers, no Air Force listed) ........

Captain Sgt HALL
Observer Sgt NELLO
WOP/AG Sgt GRIFFIN
F/Eng Sgt LAWRENCE
Bombardier Sgt JAMES
Mid Gunner Sgt WINDEBANK
Tail Gunner Sgt FENNEL (sic)

There were at least 23 Ops commenced by the HALL crew in 1943 – four in February, two in March (one Did Not Take Off due to engine trouble), two in April, two in May, two in August, five in September, and six in October, with the October average of an Op every 2 days. Two Ops were abandoned, and their Halifax sustained flak damage on another Op. Twenty Ops were completed. There were some substitutions, once for the Observer, once for the Tail Gunner, and twice for the Bombardier. On two occasions, no Tail Gunner was listed, and on another Op no Bombardier was listed (presumably clerical errors).

February to May 1943 inclusive, there was a crew of seven, as named above, including Mid/Gunner Sgt WINDEBANK. Mid/Gunners were not required for Ops after mid June 1943. On 30 April 1943 approval was received for the removal of mid-upper turrets and front turrets, with the last 462 Squadron Op requiring a Mid/Gunner on 12 June 1943. WINDEBANK does not appear in any later Ops as Tail Gunner for other crews, so it is assumed he was posted FROM 462 Squadron, date not known (NCO postings were not listed in the ORB). Photos of Squadron aircraft in mid/late 1943 showed that there was no mid-upper turret.

June and July of 1943 - HALL and crew previously had not been located in Ops lists. However re-checking of the ORB revealed that various members of the crew were flying with other Pilots (details listed after the Table). HALL may have been on leave, or away for training or not flying for reasons unknown. Checks are ongoing, and any extra details will be added at a later date.

August, September and October 1943, there was a crew of six, usually as named below, with three promoted to the rank of Flight Sergeant. James was substituted on the last Op.

Pilot F/Sgt M F HALL
Observer Sgt F R V NELLO
W/OP F/Sgt A GRIFFIN
F/Eng Sgt G F W LAWRENCE
Bdr Sgt J JAMES
Tail Gunner F/Sgt R L FENNEL (sic)

HALL crew Table of Ops - all Bombing (some errors may occur due to some almost illegible ORB pages)
nr - not recorded; DNTO - did not take off; red times - night; black times - next morning

Date Op No A/C Serial Up Down Target Comments Home Base
03/02/1943 1 DT486 nr nr Palermo Harbour shipping; alternate Messina train ferry terminus [Sicily] .
Solluch No 1

05/02/1943

2 DT486 1739 0130 Palermo Harbour shipping [Sicily] Tail Gunner not listed;
One bomb hung-up, later jettisoned normally
Solluch No 1
08/02/1943 DT486 1756 2145 Palermo Harbour shipping [Sicily] Abandoned due to heavy icing, bombs jettisoned in sea Solluch No 1
28/02/1943 3 W1170 2025 0140 Palermo Harbour shipping [Sicily] . Gardabia Main
02/03/1943 W1170 DNTO DNTO Enemy troop concentrations in Mareth [Tunisia] Tail Gunner not listed;
DNTO due to engine trouble just before take off, 2 inboard engines out
Gardabia Main
03/03/1943 4 W1172 0130 0630 Enemy troop concentrations, Mareth line [Tunisia] Night of 03 to 04 March Gardabia Main
04/04/1943 5 W1151 2105 0136 Sfax Town [Tunisia] Two bombing runs over target; on 2nd run, 2 x 1000 lb bombs hung up, but were jettisoned manually over the target; safe return to base. Gardabia Main
07/04/1943 6 W7647 ? 2025 0105 Sfax Town [Tunisia] Target clearly identified and bombed Gardabia Main
06/05/1943 7 W1161 2250 0532 Enemy concentrations on roads to Tunisia [Tunisia] Substitute Observer F/O R Molyneux Gardabia Main
08/05/1943 8 W1161 2210 0430 Enemy troop and MT (Motor Transport) concentrations in Cape Bon Peninsula [Tunisia] Bombed MT concentrations in field 2-5 miles west of Grombalia Gardabia Main
Mid Gunner not required for later Ops, due to removal of upper turret in Squadron Halifax aircraft
24/08/1943 9 W7847 0040 0730

Rail marshalling yards, Crotone [Italy]

Substitute Bombardier Sgt Elkington-Smith;
during run-in to target, Pilot heard "Fighter on our tail", took evasive action to port, told Bombardier to jettison bombs; Nav/Obs had seen Fighter approach on starboard qtr, warned Tail Gunner; Pilot had faulty intercom so not heard properly; single-eng fighter; no fire exchanged
Hosc Raui
27/08/1943 10 W7847 1957 0358 Rail marshalling yards, Crotone [Italy] Bombardier not listed;
Substitute Tail Gunner F/Sgt E R WALLER;
overshot target, changed course to return; arrived late to bomb, so bombed by estimation due to absence of flares
Hosc Raui
22/09/1943 11 W1174 0133 0855 Calato Aerodrome, Rhodes [Greece]

Blackout on Rhodes not being observed; target identified before flares dropped, runway clearly seen despite camouflage

Hosc Raui

23/09/1943 W1174 0030 0105 Calato Aerodrome, Rhodes [Greece] Abandoned, port inner engine oil temp rose rapidly, bombs jettisoned in sea, returned on 3 engines Hosc Raui
25/09/1943 12 BB420 1912 0150 Kalamaki Aerodrome
[Greece]
Due to searchlights had to take evasive action, bombs dropped near runway Hosc Raui
27/09/1943 13 BB420 1927 0303 Larissa Aerodrome
[Greece]
Visibility poor, target not located due to darkness and lack of flare illumination; bombs jettisoned at 2345, 3m S/E of Volos Hosc Raui
28/09/1943 14 BB333 1927 0143 Argos Aerodrome
[Greece]
. Hosc Raui
02/10/1943 15 BB412 1947 1328 Calato Aerodrome, Rhodes [Greece] . Terria
03/10/1943 16 BB412 1950 0130 Heraklion Aerodrome
[Crete]
. Terria
05/10/1943 17 BB412 1945 0326 Maritza Aerodrome, Rhodes [Greece] Arrived 6 min late; bombed at 2317 Terria
07/10/1943 18 BB412 1942 0155 Heraklion Aerodrome
[Crete]
Slight damage to tail plane caused by flak which was very intense and accurate; returned safely to base Terria
10/10/1943 19 BB415 2123 0445 Calato Aerodrome, Rhodes [Greece] . Terria
11/10/1943 20 BB417 nr nr Maritza Aerodrome, Rhodes [Greece] Substitute Bombardier F/Sgt Melbourne Glaister FRASER; Failed to return; all KIA Terria

ORB lists target of Maritza Aerodrome on the Island of Rhodes, however some authors refer to Martiza and/or Marzita.
Originally named Maritsa, but according to various websites, referred to as Maritsa OR Maritza.

 

Members of the HALL crew filling in for other crews during 1943

NELLO, Observer - 8 extra Ops
22 February with CRAIG
11 March with CRAIG
22 June with BIRMNGHAM (DNTO, burst radiator port inner engine)
03, 09, 11, 14 July with J H N MacINTOSH (FRASER's usual crew)
05 August with J H N MacINTOSH (abandoned, glycol leak port inner, landed on 3 engines at Malta)

GRIFFIN, W/OP - 5 extra Ops
22 (landed on 3 engines) and 23 February (flak holes) with HALLEY
28 March with KNIGHT
11 and 12 July with BIRMNGHAM

LAWRENCE F/eng - 4 extra Ops
20 and 22 (abandoned) and 25 June with J H N MAcINTOSH (FRASER's usual crew)
15 July with KNIGHT

WINDEBANK Mid Gunner - 3 extra Ops
22 (DNTO, stbd inner boost aneroid u/s) and 23 February with BAKER
11 March with ELLISON

FENNELL, Tail Gunner - 9 extra Ops
20 (recalled), 22 and 23 February with BAKER
26 March with KOFOED
31 May LANDON (landed away)
28 June with KOFOED
15 July with KNIGHT
14 August with LANDON
10 September with LANDON

JAMES, Bombardier - need more checking of ORB, as there may be two of that surname during 1943, or clerical errors have occurred. (Comments in previous section).

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Details of Op on the night of 11/12 October 1943

Form 540, Summary of Events, Terria, (Libya) 11/12 October 1943 .... (quote, as originally recorded) ...

Eight Halifax II aircraft were detailed to attack MARITZA AERODROME RHODES.
Target identified and the illumination was excellent. One aircraft had to return
early owing to engine trouble. Target was bombed from 8,500/13,500 ft. Bomb bursts
and explosions followed by fire observed in SE dispersal. One dispersed aircraft
believed to be hit. Other bombs seen to burst on N. and S. ends of runway.
Defences encountered – Heavy AA. and Light AA, all inaccurate. Weather and
visibility good, no cloud. One aircraft, (Capt. Sgt Hall M.F.) did not return
from this operation, believed to have crashed in sea. Returning crews reported
seeing fire dying down in sea, thought to be an aircraft.

Form 541, Detail of Work Carried out, Terria, Appendix 'A', October 1943.
11/12 October 1943, detailed to attack Maritza Aerodrome Rhodes (Listed as 1 to 8 as per the sequence in the ORB, summary only).

1. Halifax II BB412 S/Ldr SPV Bird and crew; up 2052; task abandoned owing to Starboard inner engine failure. Bombs jettisoned safe in sea and A/C returned safely to base, landed 0001. (Note: original entry for Pilot listed as S/Ldr Beard, SPV, which had been hand-corrected to S/Ldr Bird, SPV.)

2. Halifax II BB418 Sgt JO Broomfield (RCAF) and crew; up 2040; detailed as flare dropper; target identified and illuminated; aircraft seen on fire in sea & explode; returned safely to base, landed 0525.

3. Halifax II BB419 F/Sgt FH Bright (RAAF) and crew; up 2045; load 10 x 500lb fused bombs and 180 x 4lb incendiaries; bombed and returned safely to base; landed 0450.

4. Halifax II BB415 Sgt SA Heard and crew; up 2052; load 10 x 500lb fused bombs and 180 x 4lb incendiaries; bombed; observed fire at sea at 0219; returned safely to base; landed 0512.

5. Halifax II BB424 S/Ldr WR Kofoed and crew; up 2054; load 10 x 500lb fused bombs and 180 x 4lb incendiaries; bombed; a large red explosion seen in sea, dying out in about 4 minutes; returned safely to base; landed 0441.

6. Halifax II BB416 Sgt H St. Pierre (RCAF) and crew; up 2045; load 2 x 500lb M.C. and 2 x 500lb GP delays, and 180 x 4lb incendiaries; bombed; at 0216 saw what was believed to be aircraft on fire, 2 red glows followed by one only later; returned safely to base; landed 0447.

7. Halifax II BB420 F/O EP Landon and crew; up 2040; detailed as flare dropper; load 2 x 500lb M.C. and 2 x 500lb GP delays and bombs and 180 x 4lb incendiaries; bombed; at 0216 fire seen in distance, SOS picked up relayed from Malta; returned safely to base; landed 0509.

8. Halifax II BB417 F/Sgt MF Hall and crew; up time not recorded; detailed as above and did not return, believed to have crashed in sea. (Loss of this Aircraft in next section).

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Aircraft Loss Halifax II BB417

ORB, Form 541, Detail of Work Carried out, Appendix "A", October 1943
11/12th October 1943 ...... (quote, as originally recorded) ...

Aircraft
Halifax II BB417

Crew
F/S Hall MF. Capt.
Sgt Nello FRV. Obs.
F/S Griffin A. Wop.
Sgt Lawrence GFW. F/Eng.

F/S Fennell T/Gnr.
F/S Fraser MG. Bdr.

Terria (Up time not recorded)

Details of Sortie
This aircraft was detailed as above and did
not return believed to have crashed in sea.

(Fraser was substitute Bombardier, replacing the usual Sgt J JAMES.)

 

Below: Letter, undated, from Wing Commander W J Russell (sic, W T Russell 39341 RAF), Officer Commanding 462 Squadron,
to Mrs R L Fennell, wife of Rear Gunner Raymond Llewellyn FENNELL

 Letter, undated, from Wing Commander W J Russell, Officer Commanding 462 Squadron, to Mrs R L Fennell, wife of Rear Gunner Raymond Llewellyn FENNELL.

Transcription as follows .......quote, as written, with errors ....

From (sic, TO) Mrs. R.L. Fennell, 40, Brownlow Road, New Southgate, London, N.11

462 Squadron,
Royal Australian Air Force
Middle East.

Dear Mrs Fennell,

Thank you for your letter card dated 22nd October. I am sorry
not to have written to you before, but I was delaying it as long as
possible in the hope that some good news may yet be heard.

Your husband was flying as rear gunner on the night in question
with his usual crew and aircraft. The squadron was detailed for
operation on Rhodes. Everything as far as we know was quite normal,
and the weather good. At about 0230 hours an S.O.S. was received from
the aircraft and its position given. No further signals or messages
were received and the aircraft failed to return to base. Other pilots
on the same raid reported seeing a fire in the sea which they thought
was an aircraft burning and it is possible, though not definite, that
this was the missing aircraft. Air Sea Rescue were standing by to
search at first light and an extensive search was made of the area.
This continued on subsequent days, but nothing was seen or heard.

It looks as though they had trouble necessitating their making
a forced landing in the sea, and it is possible that they got safely
into their dinghy. Their position as far as we know was not very
far from the coast of Crete and we are hoping that they may have been
picked up by local shipping. If this is so, it would be some time
before anything is heard, but we shall continue to hope for the best.

Flight Sergeant Fennell had been with us now for quite some time
and was one of our most reliable air gunners. It was a great loss to
the squadron to lose him and his crew, and we are all fervently hoping
that some good news may yet be heard. You can rely on me letting you
know at once should anything come to light. All the squadron wish to
join me in offering you our deepest sympathy at this sad time.

Yours sincerely,

W. J. RUSSELL, Wing Cmdr.

 

 

Below: Letter dated 2nd November 1943, from Flt/Lt Frank Campbell, Adjutant of 462 Squadron,
to Mr Hall, father of Pilot Michael Frank HALL

Letter dated 2nd November 1943, from Flt/Lt Frank Campbell, Adjutant of 462 Squadron, to Mr Hall, father of Pilot Michael Frank HALL.

Transcription as follows ....... quote, as written, with errors ....

F.H.A.Campbell, ADJUTANT,
No. 462 Squadron,
R.A.F. M.E.
2nd November, 1943.

Dear Mr Hall,

Thank you very much for your letter – yes, all details that
are available about the night your son was missing will be sent to
you. I am delaying all the necessary official action until the
last possible minute in the hope that we may yet hear something
definite: we have had two previous crews who turned up again alive
and well after being reported missing for an incredibly long time
and who had been given up for lost by everyone except their
relations and us here on the squadron – who after all are the only
people who have a deep personal feeling about the loss – and
we are still and will continue to hope for the best. I personally
am convinced that they will turn up. I shall dispose of the
cigarettes are you suggest – we are all busily engaged trying to
get all sorts of supplies of such things for Christmast (sic) – and I
shall use them for that purpose. I hope Michael and his crew are
here to join us, their names and addresses are as follows:-

CAN.R.97524. Sgt. Frank NELLO. 1336, Beach Drive, Victoria, B.C.
Canada. (Unmarried)

1379996. F/Sgt. Albert GRIFFIN. 74, Wood Street, KIDDERMINSTER. (Unmarried)

1218515. Sgt. Gordon LAWRENCE. School House, Salters Hill L.C.C.
School. Gispy Road, W.Nortwood. S.E.27. (Unmarried)

1262360. F/Sgt. Raymond FENNELL. 40, Brownlow Road, New Southgate,
LONDON. N.11. (Married)

1061575. F/Sgt. Melbourne FRESER. 72, Stranmillis Gardens, Belfast.
(Unmarried). (sic)

Thank you for your good wishes to the squadron. They are
a grand crowd of fellows and are doing a magnificent job under
difficult and trying conditions.

Finally, apart from all details of the circumstances regarding
the operation from which Michael is missing, and you can rely
on being told everything we get to know ourselves; if there is
anything else I can do or tell you, please write and let me know.

Yours most sincerely,

(Signed) FLT/LT. Frank Campbell.

 

No further mention was made of the Aircraft or crew in the Squadron ORB for October, November or December 1943.

 

As the bodies of the six members of the crew were never recovered, their names are recorded on columns at the Alamein Memorial, for those who have no known grave. Details are listed at Memorials Middle East.

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