462 Squadron.com

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6 July 2017
Crew 13, Pilot Allan John Rate – 462 Squadron RAAF

 

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

If you can help, please make contact.

 

Headstone photos on this page were supplied by and used
with the permission of John Dann, UK, © Copyright 2013.

Photos of the Grave Crosses were sourced from the named
Casualty Files at the National Archives of Australia
.

Cemetery: Reichswald Forest War Cemetery,
Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany.

Joint Graves 31. A. 3-4 MU/AG Holloway and R/AG Husband
Grave 31. A. 5 S/D Kehoe
Grave 31. A. 6 F/Eng Pegram
Grave 31. A. 7 Pilot Rate
Grave 31. A. 8 W/Op Trunk
Grave 31. A. 9 Nav Maslin

 

 

Crew 13, 462 Squadron, Foulsham, Norfolk.

Pilot: Allan John RATE (KIA)
Navigator: Edwin Joseph MASLIN (KIA)
Bomb Aimer: Reginald Albert GOULD (PoW)
Wireless Operator: Victor Joseph TRUNK (KIA)
Flight Engineer: Stewart John Alfred PEGRAM (KIA)
Mid-Upper Gunner: James HOLLOWAY (KIA)
Rear Gunner: Malcolm John HUSBAND (KIA)
Special Duties: Desmond Noel KEHOE (KIA)

 

Seven members of this crew were killed on a night Op to the Ruhr area on 24 February 1945. Gould became a Prisoner of War. Reports differ as to the serial number of the aircraft involved. Some refer to Halifax III MZ477 Z5-A, others to Halifax III MZ447 Z5-A. Three other crews from 462 Squadron also failed to return from this Op (Pilots Tootal, Ely and Ridgewell).

Links to additional Crew information, Crew Ops, & Aircraft Loss.
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.
See also AWM Commemorative Panel.

 

 

Allan John RATE 423892 RAAF, of 462 Squadron, KIA 24 February 1945 over Germany (AWM P05950.001)
Photo from the Australian War Memorial P05950.001

AWM caption: "Studio portrait of 423892 Flight Lieutenant Allan John Rate, pilot of No. 462 Squadron, RAAF. Flt Lt Rate was killed on operations on 24 February 1945, over Germany".


 

Pilot

Name: Allan John RATE
Service: Royal Australian Air Force
Service Number: 423892
Date of Birth: 22 April 1920
Place of Birth: Carlton, New South Wales
Date of Enlistment: 18 July 1942
Place of Enlistment: Sydney, NSW
Marital Status: Single
Next of Kin: George William Rate (father)
Date of Death: 24 February 1945
Rank at Death: Flight Lieutenant
Posting at Death: 462 Squadron, RAAF
Prisoner of War: No
Roll of Honour: Hurlstone Park, NSW
Roll of Honour: Panel 109, Commemorative Area,
Australian War Memorial, Canberra
Age at Death: 24
Grave reference: 31. A. 7.
Cemetery: Reichswald Forest War Cemetery,
Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany
Son of George William and Alice May Rate,
of Hurlstone Park, NSW, Australia.

 

 

 

Cross on grave of Allan John Rate, 423892 RAAF, 462 Squadron (NAA photo).
Photo from the National Archives of Australia: A705, 423892

AUST 423892 F/Lt. A. J. RATE RAAF 24-2-45
Temporary Cross on Grave Ref 31. A. 7, Reichswald Forest War Cemetery, after re-burial, and establishment of cemetery gardens. The file copy of a letter sent with a similar photo to Kehoe's N.O.K. was dated 10 May 1951.

This Cross was later replaced by the permanent headstone as shown in the photo on the right.

 

 

Headstone on grave of Allan John Rate, 423892 RAAF, 462 Squadron.
Photo by John Dann, UK, © Copyright 2013.

The headstone inscription reads:
FLIGHT LIEUTENANT
A. J. RATE
ROYAL AUSTRALIAN AIR FORCE
24TH FEBRUARY 1945 AGE 24

HIS DUTY
FEARLESSLY AND NOBLY DONE
EVER REMEMBERED

(wording partially obscured by plants)
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Headstone on grave of Edwin Joseph Maslin 1469853 RAFVR, 462 Squadron.
Photo by John Dann, UK, © Copyright 2013.

 

 

Navigator

Name: Edwin Joseph MASLIN
Service: Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Service Number: 1469853
Date of Birth: 28 December 1920
Marital Status: Married
Next of Kin: Mrs W. Maslin (wife), London
Date of Death: 24 February 1945
Rank at Death: Flight Sergeant
Posting at Death: 462 Squadron RAAF
Age at Death: 24
Grave reference: Grave 31. A. 9.
Cemetery: Reichswald Forest War Cemetery,
Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany

The headstone inscription reads:
1469853 FLIGHT SERGEANT
E. J. MASLIN
NAVIGATOR
ROYAL AIR FORCE
24 FEBRUARY 1945


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Survivor and Prisoner of War

No photos of Reginald Albert Gould are currently available.

If you can can help, please make contact.

 

 

Bomb Aimer

Name: Reginald Albert GOULD
Service: Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Service Number: 1801500
Date of Birth: 24 June 1923
Marital Status: Married
Next of Kin: Jeanne Winifred Gould (wife), Bromley, Kent
Date of Aircraft loss: 24 February 1945
Rank at aircraft loss: Flight Sergeant
Posting at Discharge: 462 Squadron RAAF, Foulsham

Son of Albert Gould, Forest Hill, London
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Victor Joseph Trunk 434431 RAAF, at enlistment, later 462 Squadron (NAA photo).
Photo from the National Archives of Australia: A9300, 434431

 

First Cross on grave of Victor Joseph Trunk 434431 RAAF, 462 Squadron (NAA photo).
Photo from the National Archives of Australia: A705, 434431

 

 

 

 

Wireless Operator

Name: Victor Joseph TRUNK
Service: Royal Australian Air Force
Service Number: 434431
Date of Birth: 21 October 1920
Place of Birth: Branxton, NSW
Date of Enlistment: 3 December 1942
Place of Enlistment: Brisbane, Qld
Marital Status: Single
Next of Kin: Francis James Trunk (father)
Date of Death: 24 February 1945
Rank at Death: Pilot Officer
Posting at Death: 462 Squadron, RAAF
Prisoner of War: No
Roll of Honour: Branxton, NSW
Roll of Honour: Panel 109, Commemorative Area,
Australian War Memorial, Canberra
Age at Death: 24
Grave reference: 31. A. 8.
Cemetery: Reichswald Forest War Cemetery,
Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany
Son of
Frank and Elizabeth Margaret Trunk,
of Branxton, NSW, Australia.

 

Left: AUST 434431 P/O. V. J. Trunk RAAF 24-2-45
Temporary Cross on Grave Ref 31. A. 8, Reichswald Forest War Cemetery, possibly soon after re-burial, and prior to establishment of cemetery gardens. The neatly formed grave mounds are visible, behind & in front of the cross. The Casualty file documentation with this photo is marked "Date despatched to N.O.K. 29 Aug 1949".

 

 

Second Cross on grave of Victor Joseph Trunk 434431 RAAF, 462 Squadron (NAA photo).
Photo from the National Archives of Australia: A705, 434431

AUST 434431 P/O. V. J. Trunk RAAF 24-2-45
Temporary Cross on Grave Ref 31. A. 8, Reichswald Forest War Cemetery, after re-burial, and establishment of cemetery gardens. The file copy of a letter sent with a similar photo to Kehoe's N.O.K. was dated 10 May 1951.

This Cross was later replaced by the permanent headstone as shown in the photo on the right.

 

 

Headstone on grave of Victor Joseph Trunk 434431 RAAF, 462 Squadron.
Photo by John Dann, UK, © Copyright 2013.

The headstone inscription (above) reads:


PILOT OFFICER
V. J. TRUNK
ROYAL AUSTRALIAN AIR FORCE
24 FEBRUARY 1945 AGE 24

JESUS HAVE MERCY ON HIM

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Headstone on grave of Stewart John Alfred Pegram 1895058 RAFVR, 462 Squadron.
Photo by John Dann, UK, © Copyright 2013.

Additional information and mini photo of S J A Pegram received from Donald STEWART and Jane Belair:- Stewart John Alfred PEGRAM was born on 11 October 1924 at Brockhill Park Cottage, Saltwood, Hythe, Kent. His father was Alfred PEGRAM, a domestic gardener and his mother was Jane Duncan PEGRAM formerley STEWART. Spared the heartache of her son's later death in the Air Force, Jane died on 17 November 1942, a month after his 18th Birthday. (Note: In the Air Crew Arrival Form filled out and signed by Pegram on 17 August 1944 at 462 Squadron Driffield, he had recorded his birth date as 24 October 1924. In the excitement of arrival at his first operational posting, the date and year had been mixed up. His birth certificate confirms his birth on 11 October 1924.)

 

 

 

Flight Engineer Sgt Stewart John Alfred Pegram, 1895058 RAFVR, 462 Squadron.

Flight Engineer

Name: Stewart John Alfred PEGRAM
Service: Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Service Number: 1895058
Date of Birth: 11 October 1924
Marital Status: Single
Next of Kin: Alfred Pegram (father)
Date of Death: 24 February 1945
Rank at Death: Sergeant
Posting at Death: 462 Squadron RAAF
Age at Death: 21 (20 & 4 months)
Grave reference: Grave 31. A. 6.
Cemetery: Reichswald Forest War Cemetery,
Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany
Son of Mr and Mrs A Pegram, Broxbourne, Hertfordshire.

The headstone inscription reads:
1895058 SERGEANT
S. J. A. PEGRAM
FLIGHT ENGINEER
ROYAL AIR FORCE
24 FEBRUARY 1945 AGE 21

IN PEACE
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Headstone on grave of James Holloway 1812795 RAFVR, 462 Squadron.
Photo by John Dann, UK, © Copyright 2013.

 

Mid-Upper Gunner

Name: James HOLLOWAY
Service: Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Service Number: 1812795
Date of Birth: 11 June 1924
Marital Status: Single
Next of Kin: Ernest Marrillier (step-father)
Date of Death: 24 February 1945
Rank at Death: Sergeant
Posting at Death: 462 Squadron RAAF
Age at Death: 20
Grave reference: Joint Grave 31. A. 3-4
Cemetery: Reichswald Forest War Cemetery,
Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany
Son of James Richard and Beatrice Alice Holloway;
and stepson of Mr E Marrillier, of Clapham, London.

Partially obscured by plants, the headstone inscription reads:
1812795 SERGEANT
J. HOLLOWAY
AIR GUNNER
ROYAL AIR FORCE
24 FEBRUARY 1945 AGE 20

MY THOUGHTS
ARE ALWAYS WITH YOU, JIM
GOD BLESS YOU
MOTHER

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Headstone on grave of Malcolm John Husband 1717816 RAFVR, 462 Squadron.
Photo by John Dann, UK, © Copyright 2013.

 

Rear Gunner

Name: Malcolm John HUSBAND
Service: Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Service Number: 1717816
Date of Birth: 29 March 1925
Marital Status: Single
Next of Kin: Mabel Husband (mother)
Date of Death: 24 February 1945
Rank at Death: Sergeant
Posting at Death: 462 Squadron RAAF
Age at Death: 19
Grave reference: Joint Grave 31. A. 3-4.
Cemetery: Reichswald Forest War Cemetery,
Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany
Son of John and Mabel Husband, of Frinton-on-Sea, Essex.

Partially obscured by plants, the headstone inscription reads:
1717816 SERGEANT
M. J. HUSBAND
AIR GUNNER
ROYAL AIR FORCE
24 FEBRUARY 1945 AGE 19

IN PRECIOUS MEMORY
OF OUR BELOVED SON

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O'Sullivan crew including Desmond Noel Kehoe 415429 RAAF, 462 Squadron (AWM photo 045276).
Photo from the Australian War Memorial 045276

O'Sullivan Crew, identification as per AWM description:-
Front, L R: W/Op Manttan, F/Eng Brown, A/G Mongan.
Back, L to R: Nav Smith, Pilot O'Sullivan, A/G Maclean (sic, McLean), and
Bomb Aimer 415429 Desmond Noel Kehoe RAAF.

Desmond Noel Kehoe 415429 RAAF, 462 Squadron (from AWM photo).
Cropped from the crew photo, Australian War Memorial 045276.

Desmond Noel Kehoe, 415429 RAAF. His usual crew position was Bomb Aimer in Crew 43, Pilot John Willoughby O'SULLIVAN 34053 RAAF. Kehoe's Special Duties role with the Rate crew was to dispense WINDOW.

Special Duties (WINDOW)

Name: Desmond Noel KEHOE
Service: Royal Australian Air Force
Service Number: 415429
Date of Birth: 26 December 1922
Place of Birth: Mogumber, West Australia
Date of Enlistment: 12 October 1941
Place of Enlistment: Perth, WA
Marital Status: Single
Next of Kin: Mary Kehoe
Date of Death: 24 February 1945
Rank at Death: Flying Officer
Posting at Death: 462 Squadron, RAAF
Prisoner of War: No
Roll of Honour: Perth, WA

Roll of Honour: Panel 109, Commemorative Area,
Australian War Memorial, Canberra
Age at Death: 22
Grave reference: 31. A. 5.
Cemetery: Reichswald Forest War Cemetery,
Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany
Son of Daniel O'Connell Kehoe and Mary Margaret Kehoe,
North Perth, Western Australia.

Partially obscured by plants, the headstone inscription (below) reads:
FLYING OFFICER
D. N. KEHOE
AIR GUNNER
ROYAL AUSTRALIAN AIR FORCE
24 FEBRUARY 1945 AGE 22

HIS DUTY
FEARLESSLY AND NOBLY DONE
EVER REMEMBERED

 

Cross on grave of Desmond Noel Kehoe 415429 RAAF, 462 Squadron (NAA photo).
Photo from the National Archives of Australia: A705, 415429

AUST 415429 F/O. D. N. Kehoe RAAF 24-2-45
Temporary Cross on Grave Ref 31. A. 5, Reichswald Forest War Cemetery, after re-burial, and establishment of cemetery gardens. The file copy of the letter which accompanied the photo was dated 10 May 1951. One could assume that similar photos were despatched at the same time to the N.O.K. of the other crew members.

 

Headstone on grave of Desmond Noel Kehoe 415429 RAAF, 462 Squadron.
Photo by John Dann, UK, © Copyright 2013.

 

Above: The permanent headstone which later replaced the Temporary Cross (as shown at left).

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Additional Crew information (Information sourced from National Archives of Australia Series A9186 Unit History; NAA Series A11385 Loss of Aircraft File containing Air Crew Arrival Forms; NAA Series A705 Casualty Files Service Files for Rate, Trunk and Kehoe. Only the RAAF Service File A9300 for Trunk had been digitized as of 6 October 2015. Therefore, enlistment and training information is not available for the other members of this crew.)

462 Squadron ORB – There were a few errors for this crew's names and service numbers, but not enough to cause identification problems.
Pilot A J Rate 423892 RAAF was once listed with incorrect Service Number 427482.
Nav E J Maslin 1469853 RAFVR was most often listed with incorrect Sce No 1469833, once with no Sce No, and also as Mallin, and Masling, and initials R J.
Bomb Aimer R A Gould 1801500 RAFVR was frequently listed with incorrect Sce. No 1801600, once as 1901500, once with no Sce No, and once with initials H A.
W/OP V J Trunk 434431 RAAF was also listed as D J, or F J, or V S, and also with incorrect Sce No of 4344311 and 434341.
F/Eng S J A Pegram 1895058 RAFVR was usually listed as S J (for S J A), as well as J S and A J and J G, and once incorrectly as 1895052.
MU/AG J Holloway 1812795 RAFVR was correctly listed except for one occasion with no Sce No at all.
R/AG M J Husband 1717816 RAFVR was mostly listed as J M, and also as J H and G M, once as Husbrand, once as 171816, and once with no Sce No.
S D W (B/A) D N Kehoe 415429 RAAF was also listed (once each) as D M and P N, and 425429.

All seven permanent members of the Rate crew arrived at 462 Squadron, Driffield in Yorkshire on 17 August 1944, all being posted on from the same Heavy Conversion Unit (1658 HCU, Riccall, Yorkshire). At the end of December 1944, this crew relocated with the squadron to Foulsham in Norfolk, when it transferred from 4 Group to 100 Group.
Kehoe's arrival form is dated incompletely as 31/ , but that date was most likely 31 October 1944. He was posted with the O'Sullivan crew to 462 Squadron Driffield from 1663 HCU, Rufforth, Yorkshire, to commence Crew Ops on 16 November 1944.

Aircrew Arrival Forms were completed by each crew member in their own hand-writing, and usually signed.

Allan John RATE 423892 RAAF Pilot/Captain – Aircrew Arrival Form, 462 Squadron.
17 August 1944 – arrived at 462 Squadron, Driffield on posting from 1658 Heavy Conversion Unit (HCU), Riccall; rank on arrival Pilot Officer, effective from 3 June 1944; Service for Operational Flying; aircrew category Pilot; single; next-of-kin was his father Mr Geo William Rate, of 38 Fernhill St, Hurlstone Pk, Sydney, NSW; an additional contact person was his uncle Harold Robert Nolan of the same address; his religion was Church of England and his Medical Category was A1B A3B. Types of aircraft previously flown were Tiger Moth, Anson, Oxford, Wellington and Halifax II.

Edwin Joseph MASLIN 1469853 RAFVR Navigator – Aircrew Arrival Form, 462 Squadron.
17 August 1944 – arrived at 462 Squadron, Driffield on posting from 1658 HCU, Riccall; rank on arrival Sergeant, effective from 29 October 1943; Service DPE (Duration of Present Emergency); aircrew category Air Navigator; married as of 21 November 1942; next-of-kin was his wife, W/151980 Pte W Maslin, ATS Records Office, Winchester, alternate address in Manor Park, London; his religion was Church of England and his Medical Category was "Fit, All Aircrew". Types of aircraft previously flown were Anson, Wellington and Halifax. Courses attended were Pilot's course (6 weeks), AOS (Air Observer's School), OAFU (Observer Advanced Flying Unit), OTU (Operational Training Unit) and CU (Conversion Unit).

Reginald Albert GOULD 1801500 RAFVR Bomb Aimer – Aircrew Arrival Form, 462 Squadron.
17 August 1944 – arrived at 462 Squadron, Driffield on posting from 1658 Heavy Conversion Unit (HCU), Riccall; rank on arrival Sergeant, effective from 29 October 1943; Service for Duration of Present Emergency; aircrew category Air Bomber; married as of 7 June 1944; next-of-kin was his wife Jeanne Winifred Gould of Turpington Lane, Bromley, Kent; an additional contact person was his father, Albert Gould of Woolstone Road, Forest Hill, London; his religion was Church of England and his Medical Category was A1B A3B. Types of aircraft previously flown were Stet (sic), Blenheim and Halifax II. Courses attended were Pilot's course (6 weeks), B&G (Bombing & Gunnery), ANS (Air Navigation School), AFU (Advanced Flying Unit), OTU, and Conversion.

Victor Joseph TRUNK 434431 RAAF Wireless Operator / Air Gunner – Aircrew Arrival Form, 462 Squadron.
17 August 1944 – arrived at 462 Squadron, Driffield on posting from 1658 Heavy Conversion Unit (HCU), Riccall; rank on arrival Flight Sergeant, effective from 19 February 1944; Service for Duration of Present Emergency; aircrew category Wireless Operator; single; next-of-kin was his father Francis James Trunk, of George Street, Branxton, NSW; an additional contact person was Laura Stanfield of Lismore, NSW; his religion was Roman Catholic and his Medical Category was A1B A3B. Types of aircraft previously flown were CAC Trainer (sic), Anson, Fairy Battle (sic, Fairey), Wellington and Halifax. Courses attended were W/OP Course – Wireless, A/G (Air Gunnery), AFU (Advanced Flying Unit), OTU, and Conversion. A summary of details from his RAAF Service File are included later in this section.

Stewart John Alfred PEGRAM 1895058 RAFVR Flight Engineer – Aircrew Arrival Form, 462 Squadron.
17 August 1944 – arrived at 462 Squadron, Driffield on posting from 1658 Heavy Conversion Unit (HCU), Riccall; rank on arrival Sergeant, effective from 15 May 1944; Service for Duration of Present Emergency; aircrew category Flight Engineer; single; next-of-kin was his father Alfred Pegram of Sambril Park View, Hoddesdon, Hertfordshire; his religion was Church of England and his Medical Category was "Fit, All Aircrew". Types of aircraft previously flown were Halifax. Courses attended were at 21 ITW (Initial Training Wing), F/Engineer's Course at St Athan (Wales), and 1658 HCU.

James HOLLOWAY 1812795 RAFVR Mid-Upper Gunner – Aircrew Arrival Form, 462 Squadron.
17 August 1944 – arrived at 462 Squadron, Driffield on posting from 1658 Heavy Conversion Unit (HCU), Riccall; rank on arrival Sergeant, effective from 6 February 1944; Service for Duration of Present Emergency; aircrew category Mid-Upper Air Gunner; single; next-of-kin was his step-father Ernest Marrillier, of Clapham Park, Clapham, London; an additional contact person was his mother Betrice (sic, Beatrice) Marrillier of the same address; his religion was Church of England and his Medical Category was "Fit, All Aircrew". Types of aircraft previously flown were Anson, Wellington and Halifax. Courses attended were ITW (Initial Training Wing), EAGS, AGS (Air Gunnery School), OTU, and CU (Conversion Unit).

Malcolm John HUSBAND 1717816 RAFVR Rear Gunner – Aircrew Arrival Form, 462 Squadron.
17 August 1944 – arrived at 462 Squadron, Driffield on posting from 1658 Heavy Conversion Unit (HCU), Riccall; rank on arrival Sergeant, effective from 26 February 1944; Service for Duration of Present Emergency; aircrew category Rear Air Gunner; single; next-of-kin was his mother, Mabel Husband, of "Woodstock", Goodwood Ave, Hornchurch, Essex; an additional contact person was his sister Mrs O K Burgess of the same address; his religion was Church of England and his Medical Category was A1B A3B. Types of aircraft previously flown were Anson, Wellington and Halifax II. Courses attended were ITW, EAGS, AGS, OTU, Battle School and Conversion.

Desmond Noel KEHOE 415429 RAAF Special Duties (Window Dispenser) – Aircrew Arrival Form, 462 Squadron.
31/ ..... (sic, probably 31 October for first Op on 16 November 1944) – arrived at 462 Squadron, Driffield on posting from 1663 Heavy Conversion Unit (HCU), Rufforth with his usual crew (Pilot/Captain O'Sullivan); rank on arrival Flying Officer, effective from 14 July 1944; Service for Duration and up to 12 months thereafter, General Duties; aircrew category Bomb Aimer; single; next-of-kin was his father Mr Daniel Kehoe, of Hardy St, North Perth, Western Australia; an additional contact person was a friend Miss Sybil Merkley, of Marlowe Ave, Montreal, Quebec, Canada; his religion was Roman Catholic and his Medical Category was "Fit for all Categories". Types of aircraft previously flown were Tiger Moth, Anson, Battle, Bolingbroke, Wellington and Halifax II and V. Courses attended 2 AOS Mt Gambier, South Australia, B&G Port Pirie SA, ANS Nhill Victoria, AFU Bobbington Worcestershire, B&G Picton Canada, ANS Rivers Canada, AFU Mona (Wales ?), OTU Lichfield, 4 GACS (sic, 4 Group Air Crew School ?) Acaster Malbis, 1663 CU Rufforth.

Victor Joseph TRUNK 434431 RAAF – NAA Service File A9300, summary as follows ...........

1 December 1941 – Service as Pte N275392 of the Sydney University Regiment (discharged to join RAAF, December 1942).

7 July 1942 – Application to serve in RAAF at No. 3 Recruiting Centre (3 RC), Brisbane; age 21 years 8 months; single; born 21 October 1920 at Branxton, NSW. Roman Catholic. Civil occupation School Teacher at Public School, Tuntable Falls, Nimbin NSW. No civil convictions. Address Tuntable Falls, Nimbin. Medical – height 5 ft 3½ inches; chest 31", exp 34"; weight 125 lb; 6/6 vision, medium complexion, blue eyes, brown hair; medical category A3B. Educational qualifications were the NSW intermediate and leaving certificates, with special qualifications in Latin and French.

3 December 1942 – Enlisted in the Citizen Air Force (RAAF) at 3 RC Brisbane, for Duration of War and 12 months thereafter. Allocated Service Number 434431; details similar to Application form of July 1942. Age now 22 years, School teacher, next-of-kin Francis James Trunk, of Branxton, NSW; other person to be informed of casualties Miss L Stanfield of Nimbin. Same medical and physical description as previously, with description of 3 scars. Rank allocated at enlistment – Aircraftman 2.
3 December 1942 – Posted to 2 Initial Training School (2 ITS), Bradfield Park, Sydney.

25 January 1943 – Mustered as Aircrew V (G).
29 January 1943 – Completed and passed No. 35 Aircrew Course at 2 ITS.
30 January 1943 – Promoted to Leading Aircraftman (LAC).
4 February 1943 – Posted to 3 Wireless and Gunnery School (3 WAGS) Maryborough, Qld, Course 35.
22 July 1943 – Remustered as Aircrew II (G).
26 July 43 – Posted to 1 Bombing and Gunnery School (1 BAGS), Evans Head, NSW.
19 August 1943 – Completed Course 35 (G) at 1 BAGS, passed, awarded Air Gunner's Badge, remustered as Wireless Operator Air Gunner (WOAG), promoted to Temp Sergeant.
20 August 1943 – Posted to 2 Embarkation Depot (2 ED), Bradfield Park, Sydney; pre-embarkation leave 20 to 29 August.
10 September 1943 – Embarked for UK from Brisbane, posted/attached to OSHQ, UK.
19 October 1943 – Disembarked in UK.
20 October 1943 – Posted to 11 Personnel Despatch & Reception Centre (11 PDRC), Brighton, UK.

25 January 1944 – Posted to 1 (Observers) Advanced Flying Unit (1 (O) AFU), RAF Wigtown, Dumfries and Galloway.
19 February 1944 – Promoted to Temp Flight Sergeant.
11 March 1944 – Remustered as Wireless Operator (Air).
28 March 1944 – Posted to 21 Operational Training Unit (21 OTU), Moreton-in-Marsh.
16 June 1944 – Attached to No. 4 Group Battle School, posted to 41 Base, 1658 Heavy Conversion Unit (1658 HCU), Riccall.

16 August 1944 – Posted to 466 Squadron, Driffield.
20 August 1944 – Posted to 462 Squadron, Driffield.

31 December 1944 – Remustered as W/OP Air; proficiency classed as Superior, and "Specially Recommended" for promotion or reclassification.
18 January 1945 – Proficiency again classed as Superior, and "Specially Recommended" for promotion or reclassification.
18 January 1945 – Discharged on Appointment to Commission.
19 January 1945 – Commissioned at rank of Pilot Officer (possibly back-dated, or paperwork was held up – he was still listed as Flight Sergeant for the crew's February 1945 Ops, including the last flight on 24 February, and also in the early records relating to the Aircraft & crew loss. Later documents refer to him as P/O).
19 February 1945 – Promoted to Temp Warrant Officer (12 months from promotion to Flight Sergeant), this was then cancelled, probably due to the previous Recommendation for Commissioned Rank.

24 February 1945 – Night Op, Target Neuss, Failed to Return.

25 February 1945 – Posted as Missing Air Ops Target Neuss, Germany; later as Missing Believed Killed; presumption of death by Air Ministry with effect from 24 February 1945.

Extract from Flying Log Book (original Log Book not in service file).
466 Squadron – First Flight 19 August 1944, last flight 22 August 1944, Nil operations logged.
462 Squadron – First Flight 31 August 1944, Operations Mainz, Missing 25 February 1945. 29 operations logged over Europe (see later section for more information about Ops).

Service Conduct and General Conduct Sheets were both "Certified No Entry" at all postings.

Victor Joseph Trunk qualified for the 1939-1945 Star, France and Germany Star, Defence Medal, War Medal 1939-45 and Australian Service Medal 1939-45. After inquiries by his sister in late 1979, the medals were engraved with his service particulars, then forwarded to the family for safe-keeping by his brother (October 1980).

From Trunk's RAAF Service File and the Crew Arrival forms (and based on the usual service history of other RAAF aircrew) the following is reasonable to assume .....
28 March 1944 (on or soon after) – initial crew of six formed at 21 OTU, Moreton-in-Marsh; crew trained in twin-engine Wellington Bombers.
16 June 1944 (on or soon after) – addition of Flight Engineer to crew at 1658 HCU, Riccall; crew trained in four-engine Halifax Bombers.
16 August 1944 – crew of seven posted to 466 Squadron, Driffield (arrived 17 August as per the Crew Arrival forms).
20 August 1944 – crew of seven posted to 462 Squadron, Driffield.
29 December 1944 – crew relocated with 462 Squadron from Driffield to Foulsham.
The eighth crew member was only required in 1945 after the squadron transferred to Foulsham. For their final Op on 24 February 1945, the crew's 8th member was Kehoe, whose usual crew position was Bomb Aimer for O'Sullivan's Crew.

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Ops by Crew 13 at Driffield, Yorkshire in 1944, and at Foulsham, Norfolk in 1945 (Information extracted from 462 Squadron RAAF Operational Record Book – Forms 541, Detail of work carried out; and Forms 540, Summary of Events).

After his posting to 462 Squadron in August 1944, Rate flew his first Op on the night of 25 August 1944, as 2nd Pilot with Pilot/Captain Brophy (Crew 3); Halifax MZ400, one of 9 crews from 462 Sqdn to target Watten.
With his permanent crew, Rate flew a further 29 Ops, two of which were abandoned by the Master Bomber, and another one was an early return due to equipment failure, so may not have been counted in the total. However all 30 Ops are listed in the ORB. The last Op for Rate and his crew was 24 February 1945, when they failed to return from a Special Duties WINDOW flight to the Ruhr.

The other six permanent members of the crew flew together with Pilot/Captain Rate in the same 29 Ops, with no substitutes.

The following Gunners each flew an additional Op, on the same night, 14 January 1945, target Mannheim .....
Rear Gunner Husband, Special Duties dispensing WINDOW with Ridgewell (Crew 37), total 30 Ops;
Mid-Upper Gunner Holloway, Special Duties dispensing WINDOW with Langworthy (Crew 34), total 30 Ops.

Flying from Driffield in November 1944, Rate and crew carried a 2nd Pilot (each on their 1st Op) on 3 occasions ...
Lodder on 16 November 1944, target Jülich,
Bailey on 18 November 1944, target Münster,
Britt on 21 November 1944, target Sterkrade.

At Foulsham, when an 8th crewman was required to dispense WINDOW, the Rate crew had eight different men in this role on nine Ops, Toohey flying with them twice.

No German-speaking Special Duties equipment-operators flew an any Radio Counter Measures (RCM) Ops with the Rate crew. RCM Ops were first recorded in the Squadron ORB on 13 March 1945.

On the 13 February 1945 on a night Op to the Ruhr in Halifax MZ447 Z5-A, there were the usual 6 permanent crewmen with Captain/Pilot Rate, plus number 8 as the S/D Window dispenser, plus a 9th person as passenger.

The Squadron ORB Form 541 for 13 February 1945 lists the usual crew of seven by name, rank, Service Number and role, also F/Sgt P W Hutton as S/D WINDOW (8th crew member), with details of Op ....... (quote)

MZ.447 Up 1825, down 2309
Special Duty flight to RUHR area.
Returned early. Special Equipment U/S.
Loaded:- 4 x 750 lb. No. 16 Incendiary Clusters
all were brought back.
....... (end of quote, no mention of passenger)

The Squadron ORB Form 540 for 13 February 1945 has the following record (quote) .....

"Weather cleared before nightfall. A perfectly clear night.
Eleven aircraft were required for operations, but only Nine aircraft were
airborne. Two separate attacks were made, and "A"/462 (Captain – F/L. A. RATE)
returned early with Special Equipment U/S., this was particularly unfortunate
as S/L. G.J.J.D. GILLISON, PUBLIC RELATIONS OFFICER, flew with this crew, the
duration of the flight was four hours and forty four minutes. MZ.461 "O"/462
(Captain F/O. ELY) returned early with HYDRAULIC trouble".
....... (end of quote)

(Regarding Rate's passenger S/Ldr G.J.J.D. Gillison as recorded in the ORB – there is no Gillison with those initials in the NAA RAAF Service Files, or the AWM, or in the Australian WW2 Nominal Roll. However there are references to RAAF Public Relations Officer S/Ldr Douglas Napier Gillison 254475 RAAF, and AWM photos of him and others dated January 1945.)

Rate in Halifax MZ447 Z5-A, and Ely in Halifax MZ461 Z5-O both had equipment failure and early return on the 13 February 1945. In a curious twist of fate, just 11 days later on 24 February 1945, both of these captains and crews failed to return from night Ops in those same two aircraft – Rate and crew in MZ447 Z5-A, and Ely & crew in MZ461 Z5-O. (Note: some records and authors list the Halifax loss for Rate and crew as MZ477 Z5-A. Further investigation is required to ascertain which is correct.)

Halifax aircraft flown on Ops by Rate were ......

MZ400 as 2nd Pilot with Brophy, August 1944
With usual crew ....
LL598 x 16 Ops, September 1944 to January 1945
LL599 x 1 Op, September 1944
MZ296 x 1 Op, August 1944
MZ370 x 2 Ops, January & February 1945
MZ429 x 3 Ops, November 1944 and January 1945
MZ431 x 1 Op, December 1944
MZ447 x 2 Ops, January & February 1945
NA147 x 1 Op, January 1945
NR239 x 1 Op, February 1945
and last Op – either MZ447 or MZ477 (to be investigated).
Total 29 Ops with crew.

The following Table lists Ops for Rate and his crew.

Aircraft Code numbers Z5- and Serial Numbers have been cross-referenced with ORB and available log books from other 462 Squadron veterans. (There are discrepancies within the ORB, and between the ORB and various authors, e.g. photos of MZ296 clearly show it was painted as Z5-L, but "Loss of Aircraft" documents for later loss with Cookson's crew recorded it as Z5-N. Perhaps that was a recording error, or perhaps the aircraft code for MZ296 had been changed at some time?)
Times up and down in black are day flights, and times in red are night flights.
Target "Neuss x 14" means 14 aircraft tasked from 462 Squadron to the target of Neuss, with Rate's crew being one of those 14 (and so on for the other dates). "Ruhr x 3 (of total 12)" means crew was in one of three aircraft to that Target, but a total of 12 Squadron aircraft were on Ops that night, with 9 to a different target. 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 Bombs; SD Special Duties; SP Spoof; W WINDOW; F Flares; TI Target Indicators; I Incendiaries.

 

Date Op No A/C Serial Code Z5- Up Down Target Op Type Comments
25/08/1944 1 MZ400 J 1837 2202 Watten x 9 B Rate as 2nd Pilot for James Thomas Brophy (Crew 3)
31/08/1944 2 MZ296 L 1251 1611 La Pourchinte x 8 B 1st Op for Rate & his usual crew; Op abandoned by Master Bomber; all bombs brought back.
17/09/1944 3 LL598 A 0656 1035 Bolougne x 13 B (sic, ? Boulogne)
23/09/1944 4 LL599 E 1856 0020 Neuss x 14 B Form 540 dates this Op as 23 September, however the Form 541 dates it as 24 September.
25/09/1944 5 LL598 A 0639 1043 Calais x 14 B Op abandoned by Master Bomber; bombs jettisoned at sea.
26/09/1944 6 LL598 A 0806 1201 Calais x 13 B  
06/10/1944 7 LL598 A 1407 1902 Sterkrade x 17 B  
07/10/1944 8 LL598 A 1147 1543 Kleve x 12 B All diverted to Bungay on return, but one landed at Driffield safely
09/10/1944 9 LL598 A 1736 2308 Bochum x 9 B  
14/10/1944 10 LL598 A 0649 1131 Duisburg x 14 B  
15/10/1944 11 LL598 A 0037 0604 Duisburg x 13 B Night of 15/16 October
23/10/1944 12 LL598 A 1626 2219 Essen x 16 B  
25/10/1944 13 LL598 A 1229 1733 Essen x 16 B  
04/11/1944 14 LL598 A 1721 2239 Bochum x 13 B  
06/11/1944 15 LL598 A 1135 1701 Gelsenkirchen x 14 B  
16/11/1944 16 MZ429 F 1243 1752 Julich x 16 B (sic, Jülich) Allan Morris Lodder as 2nd Pilot
18/11/1944 17 LL598 A 1216 1744 Munster x 15 B (sic, Münster) Victor Thomas Bailey as 2nd Pilot
21/11/1944 18 MZ429 F 1712 2323 Sterkrade x 15 B Leo Britt as 2nd Pilot
29/11/1944 19 LL598 A 0231 0822 Essen x 17 B Night of 28/29 November
30/11/1944 20 LL598 A 1627 2209 Duisburg x 16 B  
06/12/1944 21 MZ431 J 1557 2215 Osnabruck x 14 B  
01/01/1945 22 MZ429 F 1653 2115 Bremen x 4 SD SP W 8th crew member to dispense WINDOW, William Oliver Heffernan
06/01/1945 23 LL598 A 1613 2112 Ruhr x 12 SD SP W 8th crew member to dispense WINDOW, R Wilson
17/01/1945 24 MZ370 L 1633 2133 Bochum x 8 SD SP W B 8th crew member to dispense WINDOW, Jack Williams
21/01/1945 25 NA147 G 2002 0033 Bonn x 6 SD SP W B 8th crew member to dispense WINDOW, M A Hewlett
28/01/1945 26 MZ447 A 1703 2334 Mainz x 11 SD SP W B 8th crew member to dispense WINDOW, A F Clark
13/02/1945 27 MZ447 A 1825 2309 Ruhr x 9 SD SP W I 8th crew member to dispense WINDOW, Peter William Clayton Hutton; plus passenger S/Ldr Gillison, RAAF Public Relations Officer; early return with Special Equipment U/S; all Incendiary clusters brought back
21/02/1945 28 MZ370 L 1742 2205 Ruhr x 3 (of total 12) SD SP W F 8th crew member to dispense WINDOW, Michael Patrick Toohey
23/02/1945 29 NR239 D 1735 2224 Ruhr x 9 SD SP W B I 8th crew member to dispense WINDOW, Michael Patrick Toohey
24/02/1945 30 MZ477 A 1658 Missing Ruhr x 10 SD SP W B I 8th crew member to dispense WINDOW, Desmond Noel Kehoe;
Aircraft FTR; Missing, recorded as MZ477 in Form 541

 

Halifax MZ400 Z5-J was lost on the 9 October 1944, Pilot Gerald Coleman, with all seven of the crew Killed in Action.
Halifax MZ296 Z5-L was lost on the 15 October 1944, Pilot William Bolton Cookson, all seven of crew safe in Brussels.
Halifax LL598 Z5-A crashed soon after take-off the 14 January 1945, Pilot Astill, with six of the crew killed, and 2 safe in UK.
Halifax LL599 Z5-E was lost on the 23 October 1944, Pilot Frank Edward Nelder, with six KIA, and the B/A an Evader.
Halifax MZ370 Z5-L was lost on 8 March 1945, Pilot Frank Herbert James, all eight of the crew taken as PoW.

Photos of Halifax LL599 Z5-E, and MZ296 Z5-L and MZ431 Z5-J, and NA147 Z5-G may be seen on the Halifax page.

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Aircraft Loss (Information sourced from National Archives of Australia Series A9186 Unit History & Series A11385 Loss of Aircraft File.)

Halifax III MZ447(or MZ477) Z5-A – Failed to Return from a night Op to the Ruhr area, Target Neuss, 24 February 1945, listed as Missing.

Some original records, including ORB and Aircraft Loss File record this Halifax as MZ477, as do some more recent written and online authors. However, others record it as MZ447, and some list both. I would be happy to hear from anyone who can prove which Aircraft Serial is correct. Please make contact and advise your reference sources.

462 Squadron ORB, February 1945, Form 540, Part 1 Operations, page 52 .... (quote, capitals as in the original) .....

" 24/2 Weather fine during the day, and BOMBER Command were on
DAYLIGHT Operations. For the NIGHT Operation No. 100 Group operated alone. Ten
aircraft were required for operations, which was SPOOF and BOMBING OF THE
NEUSS area for the second consecutive night. Take off at 1700 hours, and
the return at 2150 hours. Unfortunately four of our aircraft failed to return
the MISSING crews were those of F/L. RATE, F/L. RIDGEWELL, F/L. TOOTAL and
F/O. ELY, for details of crews see Appendix A.275, 276 and 278 or Form 541.
There were no non starters or early returns. "

462 Squadron ORB, February 1945, Form 541, page 275, crew of eight listed by name, rank, Service Number and Role,
and the following .... (quote) .....

" 24/2/45 MZ.477 (sic) Up 1658, Missing
This Aircraft took off for a Special duty
flight to the RUHR area, and failed to return
from this operation. Nothing further has been
heard since taking off. The crew has been
reported missing. "
(....... end of quote)

The statement ... " Unfortunately four of our aircraft failed to return " ... fails to convey the numbers of men missing, and the effect this must have had on the Squadron. The loss of 4 aircraft would have been difficult enough, but the sudden disappearance of 32 men from the Squadron in one night would have been very hard to deal with. This would have affected everyone on site – from catering and cleaning staff in the Officers' Mess and Sergeants' Mess, to ground staff who serviced the aircraft, office staff, cleaners, parachute packers, etc., as well as other air crews.
Rate crew – 7 KIA and 1 PoW
Ridgewell crew – 4 KIA and 4 PoW
Tootal crew – 8 KIA
Ely crew – 8 KIA.
Total of 27 killed and 5 PoW.

This major loss occurred just a week after 6 members of the Ball crew arrived on 16 February, and no doubt would have had a very sobering effect on them. It is not surprising that many Bomber Command veterans suffered mental and physical effects post-war – this now would most likely be diagnosed as Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome (PTSD).

Details from the Aircraft Loss File to be added – please visit again.

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