462 Squadron.com

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

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06 Sept 2020
Crew 02, Pilot Bernard John MacDermott – 462 Squadron RAAF

 

MacDermott crew beside Halifax HX312, HD-K, January 1944; L-R Trevor Evans, N McA Brown, F Cook, Bernard John MacDermott, William Stuart Shoemaker, William Victor Dodd, Leslie Thomas Sanders.
Australian War Memorial, ID SUK11674

Above: MacDermott crew beside Halifax HX312, HD-K, possibly 20 January 1944, Leconfield, on this crew's first Op together (B47) at 466 Squadron. MacDERMOTT flew his first Op (G50) at 466 Squadron as 2nd Pilot, on 01 December 1943. Crew beside rear Turret in photo below. (see later section for this crew's Ops at 466 Squadron).

Caption from AWM: "RAF Station Leconfield, Yorkshire, England. C.1943-12. Group portrait of a British crew of Australian No. 466 (Halifax) Squadron RAAF prior to a raid on Germany. L to R:
Sgt T Evans of Porth, Glamorgan;
Sgt N M A Brown of Melrose, Scotland;
Sgt F Cock of Southend-on-Sea;
Flying Officer B J MacDermott of Mosman, NSW;
Sgt W S Shoemaker of Vancouver, BC, Canada;
Sgt W V Dodd of Crookes, Sheffield;
Flight Sgt L Sanders of Brighton."

[sic, 1944-1; N McA Brown, F Cook]
Cook was not posted to 462 Squadron.

From "Brave and True" – Halifax HX312 HD-K 466 Squadron, Leconfield, only one month old, Failed to Return from an Op (B50) to Magdeburg on 21 January 1944. The MacDERMOTT crew also flew on Op B50 when HX312 Failed to Return.

 

 

Crew 02, 462 Squadron, Driffield, Yorkshire

Pilot: Bernard John MacDERMOTT 207838 RAAF
Bomb Aimer: Walter Aubyn HINES 422181 RAAF
Navigator: Leslie Thomas SANDERS 178566 RAFVR
Wireless Operator: Trevor EVANS 1337594 RAFVR
Rear Gunner: William Victor DODD 1698474 RAFVR
Flight Engineer: N McA BROWN 1690310 RAFVR
Mid-Upper Gunner: William Stuart SHOEMAKER J.87246 RCAF
Substitute Mid-Upper Gunners

Previously Crew 77 of 466 Squadron, Driffield, from early December 1943, to 20 August 1944. Crew 02 of 462 Squadron, Driffield, from 20 August 1944 to December 1944.

One of this crew was posted FROM 462 Squadron in November 1944, three in December, one not listed, and one an Evader when shot down with another crew. Only MacDERMOTT relocated with the Squadron from Driffield to Foulsham, by train in the Advance Party on 27 December 1944.

Links to Additional Crew Information; and Crew Ops at 466 Squadron;
Crew Ops at 462 Squadron; Honours and Gallantry Awards.

Reference sources – Australian WW2 Nominal Roll; National Archives of Australia (462 Squadron Operational Record Book, 462 Squadron Ops Summary, Movement of 462 Squadron Series A2217), Australian War Memorial; Trove (National Library of Australia); London Gazette; Air Force List January 1945; Air Force List July 1945;
466-462 Squadrons' Association.
Book – Brave and True (2nd Ed'n., 2007) by Stan Parker and John McManus
.
Book To See The Dawn Again (2008) by Lax and Kane-Maguire.
Further details in Acknowledgements

MacDermott crew beside the rear turret of a Halifax, most likely HX312, HD-K, January 1944; L-R Leslie Thomas Sanders, N McA Brown, William Stuart Shoemaker, William Victor Dodd, F Cook, Trevor Evans, Bernard John MacDermott.
Australian War Memorial, ID SUK11673

Above: MacDermott crew beside the rear turret of a Halifax, most likely HX312, HD-K, 20 January 1944, 466 Squadron, Leconfield, as shown in previous photo.

Caption from AWM: "RAF Station Leconfield, Yorkshire, England. C.1943-12. Group portrait of a British crew of Australian No. 466 (Halifax) Squadron RAAF prior to a raid on Germany. L to R:
Flight Sgt L Sanders of Brighton;
Sgt N M A Brown of Melrose, Scotland;
Sgt W S Shoemaker of Vancouver, BC, Canada;
Sgt W V Dodd of Crookes, Sheffield;
Sgt F Cock of Southend-on-Sea;
Sgt T Evans of Porth, Glamorgan;
Flying Officer B J MacDermott of Mosman, NSW."

[sic, 1944-1; N McA Brown, F Cook]
Cook was not posted to 462 Squadron.

 

MacDERMOTT and SANDERS may also be seen in a photo of Officers at 462 Squadron Driffield, about to play a game of billiards. All had parachuted to safety from their damaged aircrafts, and would have been eligible for membership of the Caterpillar Club.
See Hibberd Caterpillar Club for further information on that very exclusive Club.

 

MacDermott crew beside Halifax MZ792 Z5-P of 462 Squadron, Driffield, September 1944; L-R William Stuart Shoemaker, N McA Brown, Walter Aubyn Hines, Bernard John MacDermott, William Victor Dodd, Trevor Evans, Leslie Thomas Sanders.
Australian War Memorial, ID UK1919

MacDermott crew beside Halifax MZ792 Z5-P of 462 Squadron, Driffield, Serial Number clearly visible, and part of the "P" also showing, but not yet painted with the 3 broad, vertical yellow stripes on the tail fins to identify it as 462 Squadron (stripe marking commenced in late September 1944).

Caption from AWM: "Yorkshire, England. 1944-09-05. Crew of a Halifax Bomber Aircraft of No. 466 Squadron RAAF, based at RAF Station Driffield, are very happy about the result of their attack on enemy synthetic Oil Plant in the Ruhr. L to R:
P/O S Shoemaker, Canada;
RAF;
422181 P/O W A Hines, Sydney;
207838 S/Ldr B J MacDermott DFC, Sydney NSW;
RAF; RAF; RAF."
[sic, 462 Squadron (not 466); W S Shoemaker]

By comparison with the two previous photos (left and above left) –
L-R: MU/AG William Stuart SHOEMAKER, F/Eng N McA BROWN,
B/Aimer Walter Aubyn HINES, Pilot Bernard John MacDERMOTT,
R/AG William Victor DODD, W/Op Trevor EVANS, Nav Leslie Thomas SANDERS.

Date of photo – This crew flew in MZ792 for Ops on 25 and 27 August 1944, and 03 and 12 September 1944. On 03 September the crew landed away at Woodbridge, due to poor weather conditions at Driffield. No Ops were scheduled for 462 Squadron on 04 Sep; Scheduled Ops for 05 and 06 and 07 Sept were cancelled on all three days due to wet and cloudy conditions. This same photo was published in "To See the Dawn Again" page 155, and dated as return from Op to Gelsenkirchen on 12 September 1944.
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Pilot

Name: Bernard John MacDERMOTT (Mac)
Service: Royal Australian Air Force
Service Number: 207838
Date of Birth: 25 May 1916
Place of Birth: Sydney, New South Wales
Date of Enlistment: 09 October 1939
Place of Enlistment: Richmond, NSW
Next of Kin: Gabriel MacDERMOTT
Date of Discharge: 14 February 1946
Rank at Discharge: Flight Lieutenant
Posting at Discharge: 38 Squadron
Honours and Gallantry: Distinguished Flying Cross
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Bomb Aimer

Name: Walter Aubyn HINES (Aub)
Service: Royal Australian Air Force
Service Number: 422181
Date of Birth: 25 February 1917
Place of Birth: Cessnock, NSW
Date of Enlistment: 25 April 1942
Place of Enlistment: Sydney, NSW
Next of Kin: Nita HINES
Date of Discharge: 03 December 1945
Rank at Discharge: Flight Lieutenant
Posting at Discharge: 21 Operational Training Unit
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Navigator

Name: Leslie Thomas SANDERS (Sandy)
Service: Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Service Number: 178566 (previously 1271725)
Date and Place of Birth: ......
Date and Place of Enlistment: ...... **
Next of Kin: ......
Date, Rank and Posting at Discharge: .....
Honours and Gallantry: Distinguished Flying Cross

** 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 1271725 for SANDERS.
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Wireless Operator

Name: Trevor EVANS (Red)
Service: Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Service Number: 1337594 (later 185385)
Date and Place of Birth: ......
Date and 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. 1330001 to No. 1340000 were allocated from November 1940 at Uxbridge and Weston-super-Mare. This batch includes 1337594 for EVANS.

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Rear Gunner

Name: William Victor DODD (Vic)
Service: Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Service Number: 1698474 (later 187850)
Date and Place of Birth: ......
Date and 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. 1692501 to No. 1700000 were allocated from June 1942 at Padgate. This batch includes 1698474 for DODD.
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Flight Engineer

Name: N McA BROWN (Ginger)
Service: Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Service Number: 1690310
Date and Place of Birth: ......
Date and 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. 1670001 to No. 1692488 were allocated from November 1941 at Padgate. This batch includes 1690310 for BROWN.
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Mid-Upper Gunner

Name: William Stuart SHOEMAKER (Stu)
Service: Royal Canadian Air Force
Service Number: J.87246
Date and Place of Birth: .....
Date and Place of Enlistment: .....
Next of Kin: .....
Posting from 462 Squadron: not recorded in ORB
(FTR 09/10 October 1944, Missing)
Rank at Posting from 462 Squadron: Pilot Officer (or F/O ?)
Posting at Discharge from RCAF: .....
Prisoner of War: No, Evader

Substituted as Rear Gunner with BLACK & Crew 25 in Halifax LL604 Z5-D which Failed to Return from a night Op to Bochum, 9/10 October 1944, and became an Evader.

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Substitute Mid-Upper Gunners (3 Ops)

Name: F/Lt Leonard Stanley REES (2 Ops)
Service: Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Service Number: 157141

Commissioned from Corporal 915732, 04 October 1943
Posted TO 462 Squadron, Driffield, 30 August 1944; Gunnery Leader
Flying 7 Ops with various crews as MU/AG, between 06 Oct 1944 and 01 Jan 1945 (JUBB x 2 Ops; HICKEY x 1; MacDERMOTT x 2; HOURIGAN x 1; JACKSON x 1)
Moved with 462 Squadron from Driffield to Foulsham on 29 Dec 1944
In role of Special Duties WINDOW at Foulsham, 3 Ops from 14 to 28 Jan 1945 (JACKSON x 2; HANCOCK x 1)

Posted FROM 462 Squadron in February 1945
Honours and Gallantry: Distinguished Flying Cross, 17 July 1945

Name: F/Sgt Robin Eugene NICHOLLS (1 Op)
Service: Royal Australian Air Force
Service Number: 434168

Posting TO 462 Squadron, Driffield, August 1944 as Sgt MU/AG with TRIGGS Crew 35
Flying 9 Ops with various crews as MU/AG, between 06 Oct 1944 and 29 Dec 1944 (TRIGGS x 7; MacDERMOTT x 1; CARTHY x 1);
Moved with 462 Squadron from Driffield to Foulsham on 29 Dec 1944
MU/AG at Foulsham, 13 Ops from 16 Jan 1945 to 09 April 1945 (McGINDLE x 13)

Posted FROM 462 Squadron as Flying Officer in June 1945
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Additional Crew Information – RAAF Service Files for MacDERMOTT and HINES had not been digitised by National Archives of Australia (NAA) as at 27 February 2020; some information for MacDERMOTT was sourced from the Australian War Memorial, and the London Gazette; information for the RAF/RAFVR members of crew from Air Force Lists, and London Gazette.
If you can assist with additional information or photos, or advise corrections, please make contact.

20 August 1944 – Crew posted TO 462 Squadron at Driffield, FROM 466 Squadron at Driffield; MacDERMOTT, HINES, SANDERS, SHOEMAKER in sequence with the Officers; and EVANS, DODD, BROWN in sequence with the NCOs. The crew members had previously carried out 29 or 30 Ops at 466 Squadron (details in later section).
20 August 1944 – MacDERMOTT appointed as Flight Commander of "B" Flight; (BROPHY appointed Flight Commander of "A" Flight)
20 August 1944 – MacDERMOTT appointed as Acting Commanding Officer of 462 Squadron (Wing Commander SHANNON had been sent to a Commander's Course immediately after his appointment as Commanding Officer of 462 Squadron).

25 August 1944 – First Op for Crew 02 at 462 Squadron

06 September 1944 – MacDERMOTT relinquished the role of Acting Commanding Officer, on the return of W/Cdr SHANNON who resumed his role as Commanding Officer of 462 Squadron

9/10 October 1944 – MU/AG SHOEMAKER "Missing" from Ops, as substitute R/AG with Black and Crew 25

16 November 1944 – Last Op for Crew 02 at 462 Squadron; the 6 Ops would have completed their First Tour (Ops details in later section).

November 1944 – Nav SANDERS posted FROM 462 Squadron
December 1944 – B/Aimer HINES, R/AG DODD, and F/E BROWN posted FROM 462 Squadron
Undated 1944 – W/Op EVANS posted FROM 462 Squadron (not recorded in ORB)

In the ORB postings FROM 462 Squadron for November and December 1944, the destination for the individual crew members was not listed, however, as they had finished their first tour, it is likely they commenced duties as Instructors training new aircrew. HINES appears to have done so, as his last posting was at 21 Operational Training Unit (as listed on the Australian WW2 Nominal Roll).

27 December 1944 – Relocation of 462 Squadron from Driffield to Foulsham, 100 Group, for Special Duties (WINDOW and Radio Counter Measures), with MacDERMOTT as Officer-in-Charge in the Advance Party travelling by train on 27 December 1944, to prepare for the reception of the Main PArty, on 29 December 1944.

January or February 1945 – MacDERMOTT posted FROM 462 Squadron – listed twice, in ORB January 1945 with W/Cdr SHANNON; and again in February 1945 with S/Ldr BROPHY of "A" Flight.

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Bernard John MacDERMOTT – from Aus War Memorial, reference AWM65-3270, RAAF biographical files.
Some of the information from the AWM file is already recorded elsewhere on this web page.
Forms 1 and 2 completed by MacDERMOTT in his own hand-writing, and transcribed below.

Form 1 – 09/01/1943, Completed by Officers and Aircrew, for use at RAAF Overseas Headquarters, London
25 May 1916 – Born in Mosman, Sydney; father Gabriel MacDERMOTT
Educated at St. Aloysius College, Sydney; and St Ignatius College, Riverview, NSW
Civilian Career as Country Sales Manager, for Messrs. Warburton Franki Co., of Sydney
Member of Mosman Rowing Club, Narooma Life Saving Club, Royal Aero Club, Spit Swimming Club
Home address Mosman, Sydney
09 October 1939 – Enlisted in the RAAF
Remustered to Aircrew from Equipment Branch, at rank of Warrant Officer
Training at Richmond, Rathmines, Narromine, Bradfield, Bundaberg
28 November 1942 – Embarked from Australia, for the UK
Signed by B J MacDERMOTT on 09 January 1943.

Form 2 P/R.5 – 12/01/1946, Completed at Repatriation Disposal Section, 11 (RAAF) P.D.R.C., Brighton, for use at RAAF Historical Records, Overseas Headquarters, Kodak House, Kingsway, London

Current Rank and Mustering – Squadron Leader, Pilot
Decoration – DFC (see later Honours and Awards section)
Initial Training Course (ITS) – Number 21
28 November 1942 – Embarked form Australia
06 January 1943 – Disembarked in UK
Squadron – 462 Squadron
Aircraft flown – Tiger Moth, Anson, Whitley, Oxford, Halifax II, III, V; Lancaster, Mosquito, Sterling
Command and Activity – Bomber Command, Ops
Operations or Training with American personnel, squadrons or aircraft – Nil
Details of Operations – (a) to (i)
(a) Operational hours – 193 hours 20 minutes
(b) Total Ops – 38, with 8 Daylight Ops
(c) Operational Targets – Berlin (4 times), Ruhr (6 times), Magdeburg, Nurnburg (sic), Mannheim,
Karlsruhr (sic), Kiel Canal, Kiel, Frankfurt, Stuttgart (twice), Duisburg, Paris (twice),
Terschelling Bank (Mining), Rocket Coast (sic).
(d) Attacks on enemy surface vessels – Nil
(e) Attacks on enemy submarines – Nil
(f) Combats with enemy aircraft – 3 Combats
(g) Outstanding sorties or Incidents – Baled out on return from Paris (Aircraft broke up, structural failure)
(h) Other Australians in Crew – P/O A HINES, Bomb Aimer
(i) not applicable – (for use by Photographic Reconnaissance Personnel, or Transport Command)
Signed by B J MacDERMOTT on 12 January 1946.
[Note – the Ops Targets listed above were from 466 Squadron, but list was incomplete]

From the above dated 12 January 1946, MacDERMOTT was close to embarkation from the UK, for repatriation to Australia. He was discharged from the RAAF on 14 February 1946.

Other items in File AWM65-3270 are Air Ministry News Bulletins (included in later sections), and a copy of the Citation of the Award of his DFC, as published in the London Gazette.

Walter Aubyn HINES – also recorded in error as W A Haines

Posted to 462 Squadron as Pilot Officer, 20 August 1944.

Posted from 462 Squadron as Flying Officer, December 1944

Leslie Thomas SANDERS – Posted to 462 Squadron as Pilot Officer, 20 August 1944.

Appointment to Commission as Pilot Officer 178566, from F/Sgt 1271725; wef 17 June 1944, London Gazette Issue 36653, of Tues 15 August 1944, page 3759 (2nd Supplement to Issue of Fri 11 August 1944).

Posted from 462 Squadron as Pilot Officer, November 1944

Promotion to Flying Officer, wef 17 Dec 1944, London Gazette Issue 36898, of Fri 19 January 1945, page 462 (2nd Supplement to Issue of Tues 16 January 1945).

Award of Distinguished Flying Cross – see later Honours and Awards section.

Trevor EVANS – Posted to 462 Squadron as Flight Sergeant, 20 August 1944.

Appointment to Commission as Pilot Officer 185385, from F/Sgt 1337594, wef 19 September 1944, London Gazette Issue 36802 of Tues 21 Nov 1944, page 5329 (2nd Supplement to Issue Fri 17 Nov 1944).

Posted from 462 Squadron as Pilot Officer (last Op on 16 Nov 1944 as P/O), however name not included in ORB Postings for November or December 1944.

Promotion to Flying Officer, wef 19 March 1945, London Gazette Issue 37053, of Fri 27 April 1945, page 2235 (3rd Supplement to Issue of Tues 24 April 1945).

William Victor DODD – also recorded in error with initials W T, and incorrect Service Number 1694474

Posted to 462 Squadron as Flight Sergeant, 20 August 1944.

Posted from 462 Squadron as Flight Sergeant, December 1944

Appointment to Commission as Pilot Officer 187850, from F/Sgt 1698474, wef 21 March 1945, London Gazette Issue 37078 of Tues 15 May 1945, page 2517 (2nd Supplement to Issue Fri 11 May 1945).

Promotion to Flying Officer, wef 21 September 1945, London Gazette Issue 37323, of Fri 26 October 1945, page 5226 (3rd Supplement to Issue of Tues 23 October 1945).

N McA BROWN – Posted to 462 Squadron as Sergeant, 20 August 1944.

Posted from 462 Squadron as Flight Sergeant, December 1944

Not in Air Force Lists of January 1945 or July 1945, not located in London Gazette; later promotions not known.

William Stuart SHOEMAKER – also recorded with incorrect Service Number RCAF J.77246, and incorrect initials W C.

His previous Service Number as an NCO, RCAF series R.xxxxx is not yet known.

Posted to 462 Squadron as Pilot Officer; 20 August 1944

Recorded in the ORB as Flying Officer on 12 September 1944 (his last Op with MacDERMOTT crew), however his Commission and subsequent promotion has not been located in the London Gazette.

Missing on 10 October 1944 – however, due to an administrative error, he was NOT "Posted Non-Effective Missing" in the October 1944 ORB, Form 540 with the BLACK Crew – included in error was GLENISTER's name (for whom SHOEMAKER had substituted.) After baling out, Shoemaker became an Evader. There is no record in the ORB of SHOEMAKER being re-posted to 462 Squadron, or re-crewing, or flying any later Ops.

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MacDERMOTT and Crew 77 of 466 Squadron, Leconfield and Driffield – Ops from "Brave & True", 2nd Edition, 2007, page 119.

The seven crewmen who were later Posted TO 462 Squadron, are highlighted in yellow.

MacDermott and crew 77 at 466 Squadron, Driffield

Total of 30 Ops at 466 Squadron – Ops Leconfield from December 1943, and Driffield from 03 June 1944.

Op 1 for MacDERMOTT as 2nd Pilot with another crew at 466 Squadron, "G50", "Gardening", 01 December 1943, target Terschelling (Holland), in Halifax flying from Leconfield. (Gardening = Mine-laying)

Ops labelled as "B47" to "B75" from Leconfield.

Op 2 for MacDERMOTT, but first Op for combined and complete crew, "B47", Bombing, night of 20/21 December 1943, Target Frankfurt, in Halifax from Leconfield (photos of this crew beside Halifax HX312 HD-K shown previously).

Details of "B75" on night of 30 April / 01 May 1944, Target Achères, in Halifax LV791 from Leconfield – included in the Notes from "Brave and True" (above, with date error, not 30/31 May). Those same crew members were later posted TO 462 Squadron. For his actions on this Op, MacDERMOTT later received a DFC (see later Honours and Gallantry section, which include Air Ministry Bulletins).

Ops "B97" to "B130" from Driffield.
Op 30 at 466 Squadron, "B130", Bombing, night of 18/19 August 1944, Target Sterkrade.
The Crew was Posted TO 462 Squadron, Driffield on 20 August 1944
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MacDERMOTT and Crew 02 of 462 Squadron, Driffield – Ops from the 462 Squadron Operational record Book (ORB).

The following Table lists Ops for MacDERMOTT and his crew.
They had one Op which was an early return, due to problems with a fuel tank. They also had one "landing away" due to poor weather conditions at Driffield. In the ORB, there were no other recorded incidents or problems for any Op they apparently took off, bombed the target, and returned safely.
All Ops from 25 August to 12 September 1944 were carried out with the full complement of the permanent crew, however after SHOEMAKER was listed as Missing ( 09/10 October), the crew had TWO substitute Mid-Upper Gunners.

Aircraft Code numbers Z5- and Serial Numbers have been cross-referenced with ORB and available log books (e.g. from 462 Squadron veterans). Some of the Aircraft code numbers changed over time.
Times up and down in black are day flights, and times in red are night flights.
Target "Watten x 9" means 9 aircraft tasked from 462 Squadron to the target of Watten, with MacDERMOTT's crew being one of those 9 (and so on for the other dates). There is some variation in the spelling of Target names in the original ORB, with the names recorded below as per the ORB.
Code for Op Type – B Bombing, TI Target Indicator. At RAF Driffield, in 4 Group, 462 Squadron did not participate in any Special Duties Ops, i.e. no WINDOW Spoofs, and no Radio Counter Measures or Protective Patrols.

Date Op No A/c Serial Code Z5- Up Down Target Op Type Comments
25/08/1944 1 MZ792 P 1816 2152 Watten x 9
and the First Op for the newly re-formed 462 Squadron
B 2nd Pilot Donald Maxwell TAYLOR 415196 RAAF;
Bombed primary target from 13,000ft at 2031½ hrs;
Photographic report: Aiming Point near centre of picture
Air Ministry News Service Bulletin No. 15414 – see below table
27/08/1944 2 MZ792 P 1130 1539 Homberg x 10 B A/c serial listed in ORB in error as MZ192;
Bombed primary target from 20,000ft at 1402 hrs,
6/10 to 8/10 cloud cover, but good visibility;
Photographic report: Aiming Point
01/09/1944 3 LL604 D 0649 1028 La Pourchinte x 2 B Bombed primary target from 12,000ft at 0849 hrs,
Photographic report: Centre is 600 yds south of Aiming Point
03/09/1944 4 MZ792 P 1551 1931 Soesterberg x 10 B Bombed primary target from 12,500 ft at 1736 hrs;
Photographic report: Nil
Landed at Woodbridge due to wet and stormy weather at Base
12/09/1944 5 MZ792 P 1125 1551 Gelsenkirchen x 16 B Bombed primary target from 20,500ft at 1332½ hrs;
Photographic report: 2 miles south of Aiming Point
See photo of crew beside MZ792, in previous section
15/10/1944 6 MZ457 Y 0025 0612 Duisburg x 13 B Substitute MU/AG F/Lt L REES;
Bombed primary target from 19,000ft at 0327 hrs;
Photographic report: TIs and fires
23/10/1944 7 MZ341 P 1649 1750 Essen x 16 B Early return; No. 1 fuel tank u/s; all bombs jettisoned safely;
not counted in Ops tally;
Substitute MU/AG F/Lt L REES;
NELDER and Crew 28 Failed to Return from this Op (6 KIA, 1 Evader)
16/11/1944 7 MZ402 V 1250 1735 Julich x 16 (sic, Jülich) B Substitute MU/AG F/Sgt R E NICHOLLS;
Bombed primary target from 13,500ft at 1532 hrs;
Photographic report: Target Area

 

Air Ministry News Service, Bulletin No. 15414, 26 August 1944, refers to crew's first Op (from McDERMOTT's AWM65 file)

"AUSTRALIAN SQUADRONS IN BIG ATTACKS"

"Squadrons of the Royal Australian Air Force operating with R.A.F. Bomber Command, took part in yesterday evening's big attacks.
One R.A.A.F. Halifax Squadron took part in an attack on a flying-bomb launching site in Northern France. Squadron Leader B. J. MacDermott (462), of Mosman, New South Wales, a Flight Commander, said the flak was heavy and accurate. Before the attack came to an end smoke from the many hundreds of bombs that had been dropped covered the entire target."

(MacDERMOTT's comments on flak and bombs related to target Watten, northern France, and were similar to the Op summary in the ORB. Refer online to "Le Blockhaus" or "Watten Bunker" the remains of which have been preserved as a historic monument, and part of private museum.)

MZ792 Z5-P – flown by this crew on 4 Ops; shown in photo of crew at the beginning of this crew page; Halifax MZ792 transferred from 466 Squadron, Driffield, to 462 Squadron, Driffield, for Ops commencing 25 August 1944; this crew were the first at 462 to fly Ops in it; last Op for MZ792 was on 15 October 1944. It was later returned to 466 Squadron.
LL604 Z5-D – Failed to Return on 09 October, Black Crew 25 (with SHOEMAKER from the MacDERMOTT crew).
MZ457 Z5-Y
MZ341 Z5-P – artwork and photos on Halifax page; previously coded as Z5-G
MZ402 Z5-V – written off after a night Op on 10/11 February 1945, F/Lt F H JAMES and Crew 24; ..... "crashed on landing owing to the Port undercarriage folding up, cause unknown"..... comment as recorded in the ORB.
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Honours and Gallantry Award - sourced from the London Gazette; Trove (National Library of Australia); the Australian War Memorial (AWM65-3270, RAAF biographical file), however no "DFC Card" was located in the AWM online catalogue.

Bernard John MacDERMOTT – Award of Distinguished Flying Cross, received for actions at 466 Squadron, but Gazetted during his time at 462 Squadron. See also the 466 Squadron Ops shown previously (Halifax LV791, 30 Apr / 01 May 1944).

Also included below in chronological order with the London Gazette listing and Citation, are Air Ministry News Service Bulletins regarding the incident for which MacDERMOTT was awarded his DFC. Note the variation in the details between items, and how leaving out some of the words in a later Newspaper report gave a different impression of the events. Other crew members had also contributed to their survival - MU/AG SHOEMAKER initially reported the damage; F/Eng BROWN assessed the damage; R/AG Gunner DODD gave fighter avoidance instructions to Pilot; B/Aimer HINES gave course variations to bomb accurately; Pilot brought the crew forward and told them to prepare to bale out; W/OP EVANS radioed an SOS and later amendment; R/AG clipped on the Pilot's parachute; and although not mentioned, Nav SANDERS navigated the aircraft to France and back under difficult circumstances. (SANDERS later received a DFC, but whether for this or other incidents, has not yet been determined.)
All members of the crew would have been eligible for membership of the Caterpillar Club.

23 June 1944 - Air Ministry News Service, Bulletin No. 14435 (from McDERMOTT's AWM65 file)

"PILOT IN PARACHUTE DRAMA"

"Flung out of his Halifax when it suddenly turned upside down, an Australian Pilot, F/Lt. B. J. MacDermott, 207838, 43 Base, (sic) of Sydney, reached for the rip cord of his parachute, and found that it as not on his chest.
Hurtling toward the ground, he remembered that his parachute had been clipped to his harness, and, looking up, saw the pack, still unpulled, following him down.
The long straps of the harness, which usually pull out to their full length only when the parachute opens, had jerked up above his head.
Hauling on the straps to bring the parachute within reach, he managed to seize and pull the rip cord, and floated down to safety.
The Halifax was taking part in am attack on Acheres. And soon after take-off, F/Lt. MacDermott noticed that the aircraft was vibrating more than usual.
A few minutes later, the Mid-Upper Gunner reported that a piece of plating had come off the inside leading edge of the port fin. The Flight Engineer went to examine the damage, and reported that the hole had grown considerably larger.
The rudder pedals had now begun to "kick" slightly, but F/Lt. MacDermott decided to continue on his course, using the ailerons to control the bomber.
Five minutes before they reached the target, the Rear Gunner reported that a fighter was coming in to attack, and told the Pilot to turn to port.
The crew gave the enemy the slip. But it was only with the greatest difficulty that F/Lt. MacDermott got the Halifax flying on a straight and level course again.
By now, the bomber as heading for the target, and he made the slight variation of course required by the Bomb-Aimer by using the ailerons.
When the bombs had gone, the Halifax turned for home and all went well until it reached the French coast, when, without any warning, the Halifax banked to starboard and went into a tight spiral dive.
As it plunged towards the sea, the Pilot wrestled with the controls but could not get out of the dive.
When he had fallen a mile, he tried altering the trimming tabs, and the bomber came out of its dive, and began to climb steeply.
F/Lt. MacDermott stopped the Halifax climbing by using the elevator trim.
The aircraft repeatedly dived and climbed, and when F/Lt. MacDermott found that the tail was beginning to waggle violently, he brought the crew forward and told them that they were to prepare to bale out.
Over the Channel, the Wireless Operator sent out an S.O.S., which was cancelled when the Halifax reached the English coast.
Instead, a message was sent out that the crew were going to bale out near an airfield. Then the bomber would be turned south so that it would crash into the sea.
When satisfied that the Halifax was out of the min stream of bombers returning from France, and far enough inland to ensure that nome of the crew would be blown into the sea, F/Lt. MacDermott got the Rear Gunner to help him to clip on his parachute and undo the harness.
Then he ordered the crew to bale out.
When the crew had gone, the Pilot turned the Halifax to port, and it at once dived steeply. A fire broke out behind the port inner engine.
F/Lt. MacDermott took his hand off the control column to turn on the automatic fire extinguisher.
At that moment, the Halifax turned over on is back, throwing him from the controls.
"I don't remember how I got out," said F/Lt. MacDermott, "I heard a loud report. I suppose that was when I fell through the window o the cockpit."
"Then I was falling. I felt for my parachute, but couldn't find the rip cord. But I remembered that the Gunner had clipped it on to my chest, and I soon found out what had happened."
The Halifax crashed into an open field without damaging property or injuring anybody."

05 November 1944 - Air Ministry News Service, Bulletin No. 16219 (from McDERMOTT's AWM65 file)

"AN AUSTRALIAN PILOT'S GALLANTRY"

"An immediate award of the D.F.C. has just been made to S/Ldr. B. J. MacDermott, (462) of Mosman, Sydney, Australia, who flew and bombed his target, although his Halifax was badly damaged soon after leaving its base.
The target was the railway yard at Acheres, and soon after the take-off one of the fins of the Halifax was damaged. S/Ldr. MacDermott decided to go on.
While still fifty miles from the target, the Halifax was attacked by fighters. S/Ldr. MacDermott managed to evade them but by this time the damage to the fin was getting steadily worse. S/Ldr. MacDermott continued and bombed the yards.
The aircraft was very difficult to handle on the way home, and when it reached the English coast got completely out of control. The crew had to abandon the bomber, but all landed safely on English soil."

07 November 1944 – London Gazette Issue 36782, of Tues 07 November 1944, page 5083 (4th Supplement to Issue of Fri 03 November 1944). The Citation was as follows ..... (quote) ...

Air Ministry, 7th November, 1944.
The KING has been graciously pleased to approve the following awards in recognition of gallantry displayed in flying operations against the enemy:–

Distinguished Flying Cross.
Acting Squadron Leader Bernard John MacDERMOTT
(Aus.207838) R.A.A.F., of 462 (R.A.A.F.) Sqn.
"One night in April, 1944, this officer was captain of an aircraft detailed to attack the railway sidings at Acheres. Shortly after the take-off it was discovered that a piece of the port fin was torn. Although the hole was gradually becoming larger, causing considerable vibration, Squadron Leader MacDermott carried on with his mission. When 50 miles from the target he was attacked by a fighter. Although the bomber was difficult to control, Squadron Leader MacDermott out-manoeuvred the attacker and went on to bomb the target. As the English coast was crossed on the return flight the aircraft became completely uncontrollable and it became necessary for the crew to leave by parachute. After they had jumped the aircraft disintegrated in the air. On this, as on many other occasions, Squadron Leader MacDermott displayed exceptional determination and devotion to duty."

26 December 1944 - Cairns Post, Tues 26/12/1944, page 04 (from NLA Trove online newspapers)

"R.A.A.F OVERSEAS" (paragraph below transcribed from a long article with multiple names)

"Another Sydney man, Squadron Leader Bernard John Macdermott, who wins the D.F.C., bombed railway sidings at Acheres in a damaged Halifax. Over the English coast on return the crew baled out leaving Macdermott at the controls. Fire broke out behind the port inner engine and the Halifax turned over throwing him out. Hurtling toward the ground the pilot remembered his parachute had been clipped to harness and, looking up, he saw the pack still unpulled following him down. The long straps of the harness which usually pull out to their full length only when the parachute opens had jerked up above his head. Hauling on the straps he managed to pull the parachute within reach and tug the ripcord and he floated down to safety. The Halifax crashed into an open field."

 

Leslie Thomas SANDERS – Award of Distinguished Flying Cross

20 February 1945 – Award of Distinguished Flying Cross, Pilot Officer 178566 RAFVR of 462 (RAAF) Squadron; London Gazette Issue 36948, of Tues 20 February 1945, page 1001 (5th Supplement to Issue of Fri 16 February 1945). The Citation was not included in the Gazette.

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