462 Squadron.com

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

466-462 Squadron Association Crest
Home Crew 59
NA240 Z5-V
Locations Halifax III Crash Details
NA240 Z5-V
Log book
R/AG Crew 59
Squadron Crews
Site Map Other Personnel Memorials Acknowledgements Contact Latest News Site updated
6 June 2017
Crew 10, Pilot John Thomas Rodgers – 462 Squadron RAAF

Crew 10 of 462 Squadron, Driffield, with Halifax MZ341 on 27 August 1944, after their last Op. David John Bates Mercer, Pierre Rene Yan Donaldson, Douglas John Dobinson; Ivan Alexander Archer (Sandy); Lawrence Graham Moyle; also John Thomas Rodgers, F Crawford.
Photo from the Archer Family Collection.

Above: Rodgers Crew, from left to right ....
1. Bomb Aimer David John Bates Mercer (identified by comparison with the 1986 reunion photo shown below);
2. Mid-Upper Gunner Pierre Rene Yan Donaldson (identified by comparison with his enlistment and Service photos);
3. Rear Gunner Douglas Dobinson, with a roll-neck pullover or thick scarf visible around his neck (identified by comparison with his enlistment photo), the extra layer of clothing worn by gunners was needed to protect against the cold of their crew positions;
4. not identified, with bag, (Pilot? or Engineer?);
5. Navigator Sandy Archer (as advised by his daughter), with his flying gear already removed;
6. Wireless Operator Lawrence Graham Moyle (identified by comparison with Moyle in the Triggs crew photo);
7. not identified, with pipe, (Pilot? or Engineer?).
Except for Archer, the other members of the crew were not identified on the original photo, and no rank or other badges are visible. No photos of the Rodgers crew have been found in any other publication. Advice received is that the "Gladstone bag" as shown was used by Flight Engineers, however a former 462 Squadron Flight Engineer has advised that their bags (and his) were quite different. If you can identify Pilot Rodgers or F/Eng Crawford, please make contact.

Crew 10, 462 Squadron, Driffield, Yorkshire

Pilot: John Thomas RODGERS
Bomb Aimer: David John Bates MERCER
Navigator: Ivan Alexander ARCHER (Sandy)
Wireless Operator: Lawrence Graham MOYLE
Rear Gunner: Douglas John DOBINSON
Mid-Upper Gunner: Pierre Rene Yan DONALDSON
Flight Engineer: F CRAWFORD

Links to additional crew information;
Crew Ops at 466 Sqdn;
Crew Ops at 462 Sqdn;
DFC Awards (Rodgers and Dobinson).

Reference sources – Australian WW2 Nominal Roll; The National Archives of Australia (462 Squadron Operational Record Book; Service Files), "Brave & True", and Archer family members. Photos from the Archer Family Collection supplied by, and used with the permission of Lynn Nickols, daughter of Sandy Archer.

The photo at left was taken after the crew's final flight over Germany, a daylight raid on an oil target. They are looking particularly happy as they had survived 39 Ops in two Halifax Squadrons, and had just completed their "Tour".

From the 462 Sqdn ORB, their last Op was a daylight raid on 27 August 1944, the target being an Oil refinery at Homburg, near Kaiserslautern. It is therefore likely that the photo was taken soon after they landed at Driffield at 1554 hours on 27 August 1944. The aircraft would be Halifax III MZ341, Z5-G (later Z5-P).

 

Pilot

Name: John Thomas RODGERS
Service: Royal Australian Air Force
Service Number: 425190
Date of Birth: 22 July 1921
Place of Birth: Brisbane, Queensland
Date of Enlistment: 31 January 1942
Place of Enlistment: Brisbane, Qld
Next of Kin: Sydney RODGERS
Date of Discharge: 14 September 1945
Rank at Discharge: Flight Lieutenant
Posting at Discharge: 91 Group
WW2 Honours and Gallantry: Distinguished Flying Cross
Prisoner of War: No
Return to top

Bomb Aimer

Name: David John Bates MERCER
Service: Royal Australian Air Force
Service Number: 424431
Date of Birth: 6 April 1922
Place of Birth: West Ryde, New South Wales
Date of Enlistment: 12 September 1942
Place of Enlistment: Sydney, NSW
Next of Kin: David MERCER
Date of Discharge: 20 September 1945
Rank at Discharge: Flight Lieutenant
Posting at Discharge: 462 Squadron
Prisoner of War: No

 

466 and 462 Squadrons Reunion March 1986, including David John Bates Mercer 424431 RAAF, and William Stowell Black 411864 RAAF.
Photo from the 466-462 Squadrons Association, via John Dann

 

 

466 and 462 Squadrons Reunion 21st March 1986, received from the 466/462 Squadrons Association via John DANN.

“Copy of colour photo from album "RAAF 466/462 Sqdns Reunion Photos 1984-1993". L to R: ..?.., ..?.., John Deuchars, Bill Black, David Mercer (?) and Doug ..?.., at their squadron reunion in Cammeray on 21st March 1986.” (Names as indicated on the photo; Cammeray is a suburb on lower North Shore of Sydney, NSW, ~ 5 km from the CBD.)

John James Deuchars 423195 RAAF (466 Sqdn, W/Op of Crew 163), also 466/462 Sqdns Association President 1983 to 1989.
William Stowell Black 411864 RAAF (462 Sqdn, Pilot of Crew 25).
David John Bates Mercer 424431 RAAF (462 Sqdn, Bomb Aimer Crew 10 Rodgers).

By comparison with the crew photo of August 1944 (shown above), Mercer is most likely on the far left in the crew line-up.
Return to top

 

Ivan Alexander Archer (Sandy) 425261 RAAF, of 462 Squadron, Driffield, framed print with Campaign Medals.
Photo from the Archer Family Collection.

 

Navigator/Observer

Name: Ivan Alexander ARCHER (Sandy)
Service: Royal Australian Air Force
Service Number: 425261
Date of Birth: 26 November 1909
Place of Birth: Rockhampton, Queensland
Date of Enlistment: 01 February 1942
Place of Enlistment: Brisbane, Qld
Next of Kin: Junne ARCHER
Date of Discharge: 01 July 1947 **
Rank at Discharge: Flying Officer
Posting at Discharge: 21 Operational Training Unit, RAF
Prisoner of War: No

** The discharge date on the WW2 Nominal Roll appears to be an error, as Sandy Archer had returned to Australia by 31 July 1945. On 8 July 1946 when his second child was born, he was working, and living with his family in central Qld.

At left: Ivan Alexander Archer (Sandy) 425261 RAAF, of 462 Squadron, Driffield – photo and Campaign Medals, framed under glass.

 

Navigator/Observer Ivan Alexander Archer (Sandy) 425261 RAAF, of 462 Squadron, Driffield.
Photo from the Archer Family Collection.

Navigator/Observer Ivan Alexander Archer (Sandy) 425261 RAAF, of 462 Squadron, Driffield – enlargement from the framed print under glass. The Observer's Badge looks very new, so this photo may have been taken soon after 1 January 1943, when he received the Award, and was subsequently promoted to Sergeant.

 

WW2 Campaign Medals of Navigator/Observer Ivan Alexander Archer (Sandy) 425261 RAAF, of 462 Squadron, Driffield.
Photo from the Archer Family Collection.

WW2 Campaign Medals of Navigator/Observer Ivan Alexander Archer (Sandy) 425261 RAAF, of 462 Squadron, Driffield.
From left to right:- 1939-45 Star, Aircrew Europe Star and Clasp, Defence Medal, War Medal 1939-45, Australia Service Medal 1939-45.

 

Ivan Alexander Archer (Sandy) at Peak Downs, January 1949 (previously Navigator in 462 Squadron). Mrs Sandy Archer, nee Miss Junne Gibson, September/October 1939 (Ivan Alexander Archer, former Navigator in 462 Squadron).
Source: Trove, National Library of Australia

Above left: Ivan Alexander Archer (Sandy) at Peak Downs.
The Courier-Mail, Monday 17 January 1949, page 3
" RAIN CHECK: Because of vast area, 15 rain gauges are in use on Peak Downs to get a reliable measure for each section. Field Assistant "Sandy" Archer, checks the homestead gauge."

Above right:
Queensland Country Life, Thursday 9 November 1939, page 6
"Mrs Sandy Archer (nee Miss Junne Gibson), a recent bride."
Marriage in early October 1939, at Rockhampton.

 

 

Mrs Junne Archer, wife of Ivan Alexander Archer (Sandy, former Navigator in 462 Squadron), with their children at Peak Downs, June 1949.
Source: Trove, National Library of Australia

Newspaper clipping: Brisbane Telegraph, Friday 3 June 1949, page 16.
"Mrs I. A. (Sandy) Archer, wife of the field assistant of the Queensland British Food Corporation, with her two small children, Lynn (6) and Peter (2). Mrs Archer, who lives at the Magenta Homestead, headquarters of the Peak Downs Scheme, was formerly June (sic, Junne) Gibson, well known in the central-west."

 

Return to top

 

Wireless Operator Lawrence Graham Moyle, 423828 RAAF, Rodgers Crew 10 and Triggs Crew 35, 462 Squadron, Driffield.
Cropped from the Triggs crew photo,
Thomas Walter Triggs Collection.

Lawrence Graham Moyle, who completed seven Ops with the Triggs Crew during October and November 1944, after other members of the Rodgers crew were posted out, tour-expired, in September 1944.

Wireless Operator

Name: Lawrence Graham MOYLE
Service: Royal Australian Air Force
Service Number: 423828
Date of Birth: 06 June 1917
Place of Birth: Carlton, NSW
Date of Enlistment: 18 July 1942
Place of Enlistment: Sydney, NSW
Next of Kin: Elizabeth MOYLE
Date of Discharge: 18 December 1945
Rank at Discharge: Flying Officer
Posting at Discharge: ACSEA
Prisoner of War: No

Return to top

 

Douglas John Dobinson, 424530 RAAF, at enlistment on 12 September 1942; later 462 Squadron.
Photo from the National Archives of Australia: A9300, 424530

Douglas John DOBINSON, 424530 RAAF, at enlistment on 12 September 1942.

 

 

Rear Gunner

Name: Douglas John DOBINSON
Service: Royal Australian Air Force
Service Number: 424530
Date of Birth: 04 April 1919
Place of Birth: Newtown, NSW
Date of Enlistment: 12 September 1942
Place of Enlistment: Sydney, NSW
Next of Kin: Grace DOBINSON
Date of Discharge: 22 September 1945
Rank at Discharge: Flight Lieutenant
Posting at Discharge: 21 Operational Training Unit
WW2 Honours and Gallantry: Distinguished Flying Cross
Prisoner of War: No

 

Return to top

Pierre Rene Yan Donaldson 432134 RAAF, at enlistment in Sydney, later 462 Squadron Driffield.
Photo from the National Archives of Australia: A9300, 432134

Mid-Upper Gunner

Name: Pierre Rene Yan DONALDSON
Service: Royal Australian Air Force
Service Number: 432134
Date of Birth: 01 February 1922
Place of Birth: Tahiti
Date of Enlistment: 05 December 1942
Place of Enlistment: Sydney, NSW
Next of Kin: Thelma DONALDSON
Date of Discharge: 15 August 1945
Rank at Discharge: Flying Officer
Posting at Discharge: Air Gunners School
Prisoner of War: No

Left: Pierre Rene Yan Donaldson at enlistment on 5 December 1942, Sydney. He was aged 20 years and 10 months.

 

Sergeant Pierre Rene Yan Donaldson 432134 RAAF, at 1652 HCU, Marston Moor, later 462 Squadron, Driffield.
Photo from the National Archives of Australia: A9300, 432134

Intelligence photo of Sergeant Pierre Rene Yan Donaldson, dated 27 November 1943 at 1652 CU.
He was posted to 1652 Heavy Conversion Unit, Marston Moor, Yorkshire, on that date.
(The photos of Pierre as Sergeant and Flight Sergeant have been converted from faded and deteriorating negatives in his RAAF Service file. Details taken from the envelopes containing the 2 sets of negatives.)

 

Flight Sergeant Pierre Rene Yan Donaldson 432134 RAAF, 1944, later 462 Squadron, Driffield.Flight Sergeant Pierre Rene Yan Donaldson 432134 RAAF, 1944, later 462 Squadron, Driffield.
Photos from the National Archives of Australia: A9300, 432134

Intelligence photos of Flight Sergeant Pierre Rene Yan Donaldson, location and date not recorded.
He was promoted to F/Sgt on 24 December 1943, during his posting to 1652 HCU. He was posted to 466 Squadron on 5 March 1944, then posted to 462 Squadron on 20 August 1944. He was Commissioned to the rank of Pilot Officer on 6 September 1944.
Return to top

 

 

Crawford is one of two not yet identified in the crew photo, the other being Pilot John Thomas Rodgers.

If you can identify either Crawford or Rodgers, or can supply photos of them or other members of the crew, please make contact.

 

Flight Engineer

Name: F CRAWFORD
Service: Royal Air Force
Service Number: 642712 *
Date & Place of Birth: .........
Date and Place of Enlistment: ....... *
Next of Kin: .........
Date of Discharge: .........
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. 610000 to No. 654720 were allocated from March 1938 to Civilians. This batch includes 642712 for F Crawford.
Return to top

Additional Crew Information – At the time of writing (late October 2016), only the Service File for R/AG Dobinson had been digitized by the National Archives of Australia. The Service File for MU/AG Donaldson was digitized during February 2017, thus allowing the use of his RAAF Service photos. Further information about him will be added at a later date. The files for the other four RAAF members of this crew were not available, and the UK RAF Service File for Crawford was also not accessible. Information has been sourced from the 462 Squadron Operational Record Book (Forms 540 and 541); the Australian World War 2 Nominal Roll (online); "Brave and True" (2nd Edition), December 2007, by Stan Parker and John McManus DFC; Dobinson's RAAF Service File; John Dann; and members of the Archer family.

By reference to the Dobinson and Archer postings (see later section), it is probable that the original crew of six was formed at 27 OTU Lichfield soon after 24 August 1943; and were posted as a crew to 1652 Marston Moor on 27 November 1943 where the Flight Engineer would have joined the crew. This crew of seven were posted to 466 Squadron on 5 March 1944, posted to 462 Squadron on 20 August 1944, then six were posted from 462 Squadron on 8 September 1944, having completed their Tour.

Rodgers and Crew 111, of 466 Squadron – Crew 111 carried out 37 Ops at 466 Squadron (Op details in later section).
The names highlighted in yellow are those who were subsequently posted as a crew to 462 Squadron.

Crew details – sourced from "Brave & True", 2nd Edition, 2007, page 133.

Rodgers Crew 111 of 466 Squadron, Driffield, later posted to 462 Squadron, Driffield.

From the above, Nav Archer and MU/AG Donaldson were the only permanent members of this crew who completed all of the 37 Ops with Pilot Rodgers, without being substituted. WOp/AG Moyle was the crew's original WOp/AG, having been posted to with them to 466 Squadron (the crew's names recorded in Officers and NCO Postings in the usual sequence). Moyle and R Oakes only crewed with Rodgers at 466 Sqdn, however the other named WOp/AGs each crewed with several pilots.

Rodgers and Crew 10, of 462 Squadron
August 1944
– The Rodgers Crew was posted FROM 466 Squadron, Driffield, TO 462 Squadron, Driffield (details from ORB).
The unofficial Crew Number 10 was used by the 466/462 Squadron Association and various authors.

14 August 1944 – Bomber Command advised RAF Driffield that it had been decided to form 462 (RAAF) Squadron at Driffield, with effect from 12 August 1944.
18 August 1944 – certain ground staff personnel arrived, and Flight Lieutenant (Acting Squadron Leader) D E S Shannon was appointed to the Acting Rank of Wing Commander, and was posted from 466 (RAAF) Squadron Driffield to command 462 (RAAF) Squadron, Driffield.
19 August 1944 – Flying Officer D G Highman, RAAF, arrived to take up duties as the Adjutant of 462 Squadron.
20 August 1944 – S/Ldr B J MacDermott and S/Ldr J T Brophy were posted from 466 (RAAF) Squadron Driffield to take up duties as Flight Commanders for 462 (RAAF) Squadron, Driffield, together with 27 Officers included in 14 crews.
(See also posting details for Archer and Dobinson, which confirm the arrival date of 20 August 1944.)

Officers, Form 540, page 4 (August 1944)
Flying Officer J T Rodgers 425190 RAAF
Flying Officer D J B Mercer 424431 RAAF
Flying Officer C W Dobinson 424530 RAAF

NCOs Form 540, page 5 (August 1944)
Flight Sergeant I A Archer 425261 RAAF
Flight Sergeant L G Moyle 423828 RAAF
Flight Sergeant P R Y Donaldson 432134 RAAF
Sergeant F Crawford 642712 (Air Force not listed, assumed to be RAF)

The 462 Squadron ORB, Form 540 Postings To the Squadron, August 1944 – F Crawford's Service Number listed as 642712. However his Service Number was not listed with his name in the Form 541 Operations, so it has not been verified.
Moyle was recorded in the Op of 25 August 1944 with incorrect Service Number 432828.

September 1944 – After 2 Ops in August 1944, and having completed their Tour, the Rodgers Crew was Posted From 462 Squadron to be Instructors in the training pipeline. However their names and numbers were not listed in the Postings From the Squadron in September 1944, and were not located in any other month. Navigator Archer's Service information records his posting from 462 Sqdn to 21 OTU on 8 September 1944. Rear Gunner Dobinson was also posted from 462 Sqdn to 21 OTU on 8 September 1944. The later postings for the other crew members are not yet known, however the final postings of the 6 RAAF crew members are listed in the WW2 Nominal Roll details (see earlier section).

WOp/AG Lawrence Graham MOYLE carried out the first 2 ops with the Rodgers Crew 111 at 466 Sqdn. After the 11 April 1944, he missed the next 10 Ops (for reasons as yet unknown, but possibly due to illness or injury). He did not fly with any other crew at 466 Sqdn. By 7 June 1944, he had rejoined Crew 111 to participate in all of their subsequent Ops, and was posted to 462 Sqdn with them to carry out 2 Ops. After the others completed their Tour, he remained at 462 Squadron to complete a further 9 Ops – one with Crew 21 (Pilot Mitchell); one with Crew 9 (Pilot Black); and seven with crew 25 (Pilot Triggs, refer also to the Triggs crew photo which includes Moyle), the last on 6 November 1944 – a total of 38 Ops for Moyle. The Triggs Crew was split up in November, with some posted out and some remaining at 462 Sqdn. Moyle's name was not listed in the November 1944 or later Postings From 462 Sqdn.

Navigator/Observer Ivan Alexander Archer (Sandy) – the following details were recorded from Sandy's RAAF Service File by his daughter Lynn during a visit to the National Archives of Australia in September 2015. The Service File is not digitized (31 October 2016). Additional personal information provide by Lynn is included at the end of his Service History.

January 1942 – Enlisted in the RAAF, at Brisbane, aged 32 years and 2 months.
01 February 1942 – Posted to 3 Initial Training School (3 ITS), Sandgate.
Undated 1942 – Posted to No. 1 Air Observer School (1 AOS) at Cootamundra (Personal note from family – At Cootamundra, Sandy was ill with pneumonia for 5 weeks during July/August 1942 – this permanently damaging his lungs.)

01 January 1943 – Awarded Air Observers Badge (Refer to Sandy's portrait photo in previous section, which clearly shows his Observer's brevet, which looks very new.)

Undated – Posted to Bombing and Gunnery School (BAGS).
Undated – Posted to No. 1 Air Navigation School (1 ANS), Parkes, Astro Navigation training.
6 March 1943 – Embarked Australia for the UK, possibly from No. 1 Embarkation Depot (1 ED), Ascot Vale.

17 April 1943 – Disembarked in the UK.
Undated 1943 – Posted to No. 4 Advanced Flying Unit (Observers) (4 (O) AFU), West Freugh, Scotland.
Undated 1943 – Posted to No. 27 Operational Training Unit (27 OTU), Lichfield, training in 2-engine Wellington bombers.
(see Dobinson – Posted to 27 OTU on 24 August 1943)
.

Undated 1943 – Posted to 1652 Conversion Unit (1652 CU), Marston Moor, for conversion to and training in 4-engine Halifax bombers (see Dobinson – Posted to 1652 HCU on 27 November 1943).

05 March 1944 – Posted to 466 (RAAF) Squadron for Ops. (same date as for Dobinson)
On 27 December 1942, 466 Sqdn relocated to Leconfield, during runway reconstruction at Driffield, then returned to Driffield on 3 June 1944. Therefore Archer and the Rodgers crew would have been posted to Leconfield, where they carried out their first 11 or 12 Ops, with a further 25 Ops after the move to Driffield. (see later section listing 37 Ops for the Rodgers Crew)

20 August 1944 – Posted to 462 (RAAF) Squadron Driffield for Ops. (same date as for Dobinson)
(see later section listing 2 Ops for the Rodgers Crew)

21 August 1944 – Commissioned and Promoted to the rank of Pilot Officer.

08 September 1944 – Posted to No. 21 Operational Training Unit (21 OTU), Moreton-in-Marsh, as Instructor, training incoming crews in Wellington bombers. (See Dobinson – Posted to 21 OTU on 8 September 1944)

21 February 1945 – Promoted to the rank of Flying Officer.

25 April 1945 – Posted to 11 Personnel Despatch and Reception Centre (11 PDRC) Brighton, for repatriation to Australia
Undated – Embarked from the UK for Australia
20 June 1945 – Posted to No. 2 Personnel Depot (2 PD) Sydney, after disembarkation.
31 July 1945 – in Australia (posting not known, possibly the date of demobilisation and discharge from the RAAF. Note that the WW2 Nominal Roll Date of Discharge, listed as 01 July 1947, appears to be incorrect when compared with his life events.)

Types of aircraft flown in – Anson, Battle, Tiger Moth, Wellington, Halifax; most proficient in Halifax Mk III.

Overseas Service in the U.K. from 17 April 1943 to 20 June 1945.

Campaign Medals (see photo in earlier section):- 
1939-45 Star
Air Europe Star and Clasp
Defence Medal
War Medal 1939-45
Australian Service Medal 1939-45
Returned from Active Service Badge

Personal information for Sandy Archer – as advised by his daughter; and from newspaper reports of the time; and from the book "But That's Anther Story" © 2006, self-published by Colin Mackay ARCHER (with thanks to Tom Archer of Gracemere for allowing access to this book of memoirs, and for arranging contact with Sandy's daughter).

Ivan Alexander ARCHER is a direct descendant of William Archer. William and his brother Charles were the first Europeans to "discover" the Fitzroy River in Central Queensland in May 1853. The Archers were the first settlers in the Rockhampton region of Central Queensland in August 1855. By 1858, their original homestead had been built beside a natural lake, which the Archers had named Gracemere, in honour of the wife of one of the Archer brothers. Gracemere is also now the name of the local area. The homestead is still standing and in use as an Archer family residence.
Genealogy – 1st generation William Archer (Sandy's great-grandfather); 2nd generation David Archer (Sandy's grandfather); 3rd generation John (Jack) Archer (Sandy's father); 4th generation Ivan Alexander (Sandy) Archer.

In October 1939, Sandy Archer, then living and working in Barcaldine, Queensland, married Junne Gibson at St Paul's Cathedral in Rockhampton, with Archdeacon Davison officiating. Junne was the only child of Mrs D Gibson of Heron Island, Qld, and Mr G Gibson of Inverell, NSW. Sandy was the eldest son of Mr & Mrs J W Archer of "Coravante", Gracemere, via Rockhampton. After the wedding, an informal cocktail party was held at "Coravante". Matron of Honour was Mrs Donald Macmaster, and the Best Man was Mr Brian Hempenstall. After a motor-tour honeymoon, Sandy and Junne Archer made their home at Barcaldine.

After Sandy enlisted in the RAAF in early 1942, his wife Junne moved into an Air Force flat at No. 6 Ashton Cottages, Loders Bridge, Southport. A daughter was born in 1942, and Junne and the child lived there during Sandy's training in Australia, and while Sandy was serving in the RAAF overseas.

When he enlisted, Sandy wanted to be a Pilot, but was told that the RAAF needed people good at Maths (as he was) to be Observer/Navigators. He had kept his flight plans from his Ops during the War, and they were stored in a tin tube. However, the location of this tube and also his log book is no longer known.

His younger brother, Terence Nott ARCHER, known as Paddy, also enlisted in the RAAF and trained in Australia as a Pilot, and went on to fly from Italy in Martin Marauders (404162, enlisted 21 June 1940, Rockhampton, discharged 04 November 1944, at rank of Flying Officer).

On Sunday 21 May 1944, an article was published on page 7 of the Brisbane newspaper "Truth", which made reference to Sandy Archer's nine Ops to that date. The original newspaper clipping .......

Ivan Alexander Archer (Sandy), 425261 RAAF, newspaper report 21 May 1944.

The transcription is below ........ quote ...

QLD FLYER GOES AGAINST GERMAN ROCKET DEFENCES
(From C. H. Bateson, formerly of Brisbane "Truth".)

Aircraft firing rockets are now defending French targets against the R.A.F's. night bombers—another illustration of the importance which the Huns attach to the ceaseless pre-invasion pounding of French rail communications.

Flight Sergeant Navigator Ivan ("Sandy") Archer, Rockhampton, who flies with the Australian Halifax Squadron, has made nine trips to France since late in March.

"We've been lucky. We've not seen any enemy fighters; but we've been attacked by rockets fired from Hun aircraft," he told me, "I have never seen them, for I've been ever-busy on my job of navigation, but, according to what the gunners have told me, they glow as they come towards us, having some sort of light attached to them. There is nothing the pilot can do about it, except take avoiding action."

Archer, whose wife lives at Southport, pointed out that navigators don't get much opportunity to see anything. "But I've been able to poke my head out for a few minutes once or twice to see markers falling and bombs bursting," he added.

After the war, Sandy was working and living with his wife and daughter in central Queensland. A son was born on 8 July 1946 in the Biloela District Hospital. The family later moved to Peak Downs, near Clermont, and lived at the Magenta Homestead, the Headquarters of the Queensland British Food Corporation. Sandy was a trained Surveyor, and was employed as such, but carried out many other duties as a "Field Assistant" for the Corporation.

Sandy died in December 1987, and Junne in May 1999. They are both buried in the Archer Private Cemetery.

Rear Gunner Douglas John DOBINSON – the following details have been taken from his RAAF Service File, digitized by the National Archives of Australia. (Different documents referring to the same event may vary in date by one or two days; and several transcriptions errors were found in typed documents, due to the misreading of original hand-written documents.)

January 1940 to April 1940 – Prior Military Service with 34 Battalion, at rank of Private, for 3 months.

10 September 1941 – Enrolled in the RAAF Reserve at 2 Recruiting Centre (2 RC), Sydney; age 22 yrs and 5 months; schooling to Intermediate Certificate; civilian occupation Cost Clerk; height 5ft 6½; 131 lb; 6/6 vision both eyes, with normal colour vision and normal hearing; fair complexion, blue eyes, brown hair; Medical Classification A1B A3B; married, living at Wollongong, previous residence Fairy Meadow, NSW.

12 September 1942 – Enlisted in the RAAF at 2 RC, for the duration of the war and 12 months thereafter; mustered as Air crew V, classified as Aircraftman 2; age 23 yrs and 5 months; other details the same as for documents of 10 September 1941; next-of-kin wife Grace Dobinson; second person for notification in case of casualty was his mother, Mrs W J Dobinson, Main Road, Fairy Meadow, South Coast, NSW.
12 September 1942 – Posted to 2 Initial Training School (2 ITS), Bradfield Park, Sydney
30 November 1942 – Remustered as Air Crew G at 2 ITS
04 December 1942 – Completed and passed No. 33 Course at 2 ITS
05 December 1942 – Promoted to Leading Aircraftman (LAC)

08 December 1942 – Posted to 3 Wireless and Gunnery School (3 WAGS), Maryborough, Qld

22 April 1943 – Posted to No 1 Bombing and Gunnery School (1 BAGS) Evans Head, NSW
30 April 1943 – Commenced Course 32 at 1 BAGS
26 May 1943 – Discharged as Airman on being granted a Commission, at 1 BAGS
27 May 1943 – Appointed as Pilot Officer, General Duties
27 May 1943 – Completed and passed course No 32 at 1 BAGS, training in "Battle" aircraft
27 May 1943 – Awarded Air Gunner's Badge at 1 BAGS (one document records Badge awarded on 22 May 1943)
28 May 1943 – Remustered as Air Gunner (G)
28 May 1943 – Posted to 2 Embarkation Depot (2 ED), Bradfield Park, Sydney

15 June 1943 – Embarked from Brisbane, Qld for the UK; posted to Overseas Headquarters (OSHQ) UK
31 July 1943 – Disembarked in the UK
01 August 1943 – Posted to 11 PDRC, Brighton

24 August 1943 – Posted to 27 Operational Training Unit (27 OTU), Lichfield, training in Wellington aircraft

04 October 1943 – son Rodney Douglas born in Australia

27 November 1943 – Posted to 1652 Conversion Unit (1652 CU), Marston Moor, in No 4 Group, training in Halifax II aircraft (one transcription has this date typed in error as 27.4.43, having misread hand-written 27.11.43)
27 November 1943 – Promoted to Flying Officer

05 March 1944 – Posted to 466 Squadron, Leconfield for flying duties; relocated with the Squadron to Driffield, 3 June 1944
18 March 1944 – to 23 March 1944, Night Vision training at 16 OTU (Upper Heyford, Oxfordshire)

20 August 1944 – Posted to 462 Squadron, Driffield for Ops

8 September 1944 – Posted as Instructor to 21 OTU, Enstone, a satellite airfield for Moreton-in-Marsh; Wellington aircraft

08 December 1944 – Received Distinguished Flying Cross, for action in May 1944 (details in later section)

28 February 1945 – attached to RAF Abingdon, Oxfordshire
07 March 1945 – to 09 March 1945 – 95 Gunnery Leaders Course, Catfoss, Yorkshire

19 March 1945 – Posted to PDRC, Brighton, as Supernumerary, for repatriation to Australia
24 March 1945 – RAF Report of Officer with Instructional duties at 21 OTU covering period from 8 September 1944 to 19 March 1945 – General Conduct "Satisfactory", of "Temperate Habit"; General Remarks by his Commanding Officer were .... " A confident officer with good technical knowledge. He has proved an average instructor and his discipline and bearing have been satisfactory". The next-senior officer has remarked "I Concur".

Undated – Embarked from UK for Australia
23 May 1945 – Disembarked at Sydney, ex overseas, posted to 2 Personnel Depot, Bradfield Park, Sydney, taken on strength at 2 PD
27 May 1945 – Promoted to Flight Lieutenant
20 August 1945 – Posted to 2 PD
22 September 1945 – Discharged from RAAF and transferred to Air Force Reserve, surplus to present personnel requirements; address Princes Highway, Fairy Meadow, South Coast NSW
24 October 1945 – Receipt of RAAF Certificate of Service and Discharge, and Officer's Certificate of Service No. 4905

Types of aircraft and flying details –
Fairey Battle – 1 BAGS, 8 hours, training
Wellington – 27 OTU, 78:50 hours, training
Halifax II – 1652 CU, 27:20 hours, conversion training
Halifax II – 1677 CU, 10:55 hours, conversion training (not listed in Service File as a Posting)
Halifax III – 466 Sqdn, advanced training, 44 hours
Halifax III – 466 Sqdn, Bombing, 38 Sorties, 158:15 hours
Halifax III – 462 Sqdn, Bombing, 2 Sorties, 7:45 hours
..................Total 40 Sorties, 166 hours
Wellington – 21 OTU, 6:40 hours, Instructional
..................Total Flying Hours – 341:45 (a second version of this documents has different "rounded" hours, with total of 348)

Oversea Service from 15 June 1943 to 23 May 1945

Campaign Medals (except for the DFC, see photo of the same medals for Archer in earlier section):- 
Distinguished Flying Cross
1939-45 Star
Aircrew Europe Star and Clasp
Defence Medal
War Medal 1939-45
Australian Service Medal 1939-45
Returned from Active Service Badge

Service classified as "Exemplary" in document dated 29 January 1970.
His positive Instructional report must have contributed to this service classification (points of "zeal and energy in performance of duties; reliability and judgement; initiative; ability on duties; and general standard of professional ability" all received the same assessment; and his "personality, character and leadership" was assessed at one point higher). He must have shown early potential as an Officer during gunnery training, having received a Commission from the rank of Leading Aircraftman. His later Award of DFC attested to his ability and accuracy as an Air Gunner.
Return to top

Crew Ops at 466 Squadron – transcribed from "Brave & True", 2nd Ed'n (pages 95 and 133), target names as recorded there.
Dates – e.g. 9/10, they departed in the evening of the 9th, and returned in the early hours of the 10th (and so on for other dates).
According to Service details for Archer and Dobinson, they were posted to 466 Squadron on 05 March 1944, so for the first month, the crew was probably undertaking training flights. Total Ops for Rodgers and Crew at 466 Squadron – 37.

Crew
Op
466 Sqdn
Op Number
Date Target
(as written)
1 B67 9/10 April 1944 Villeneuve St Georges
2 B68 10/11 April 1944 Tergnier
3 B69 18/19 April 1944 Tergnier
4 B70 20/21 April 1944 Ottignies
5 B74 27/28 April 1944 Aulnnoye
6 B75 30 April/1 May 1944 Acheres
7 B76 1/2 May 1944 Mechelen
8 B77 6/7 May 1944 Mantes-Gassicourt
9 B79 9/10 May 1944 Morsalines
10 B83 24/25 May 1944 Collines Beaumont
11 B84 27/28 May 1944 Camp Bourg Leopold
R/AG Dobinson destroyed an enemy single-engine Fighter on the way to the Target. He later received his DFC for this action (see later section for details).
12 B86 2/3 June 1944 Trappes
13 B89 7/8 June 1944 Juvisy Railway Junction
14 B90 9/10 June 1944 Laval
15 B91 12/13 June 1944 St Roch (Amiens)
16 B93 16/17 June 1944 Sterkrade
17 B94 17/18 June 1944 St Martin L’Hortier
18 B95 22 June 1944 Siracourt
19 B96 23/24 June 1944 Oisemont Neuville-au-Bois
20 B102 4 July 1944 Domleger
21 B103 6 July 1944 Marquise-Mimoyecques
22 B104 7 July 1944 Caen
23 B109 18 July 1944 Paris (Vaires Marshalling Yards)
24 B111 20/21 July 1944 Bottrop-Welheim
Flak moderate to intense, and this crew's aircraft was damaged by gunfire during the approach to the target.
25 B113 24/25 July 1944 Stuttgart
26 B115 28 July 1944 Foret de Nieppe
27 B117 30 July 1944 Battle Area 6
28 B118 1 August 1944 Chapelle Notre Dame
29 B119 3 August 1944 L’Isle Adam
30 B120 5 August 1944 Foret de Nieppe
31 B121 6 August 1944 Foret de Nieppe
32 B122 7/8 August 1944 Battle Area 3
33 B123 9 August 1944 Coquereaux
34 B124 10/11 August 1944 Dijon Marshalling Yards
35 B125 11 August 1944 Etaples Railway Bridge
36 B126 12/13 August 1944 Brunswick
37 B129 16/17 August 1944 Kiel 
Aircraft damaged, completed bombing, further damage on return flight, but returned to base. Pilot Rodgers later received his DFC for this action (see later section for details).

Return to top

Crew Ops at 462 Squadron – sourced from the 462 Squadron ORB

The following table lists the two Ops for Rodgers and his crew at 462 Sqdn – No substitutions, no early returns, no other incidents, and both Ops were classified as successful. These 2 Ops brought this Crew's total Op tally to 39. Details taken from the ORB Form 541, pages 1 (summary) and 3 (crew) for 25 August; pages 4 (summary) and 6 (crew) for 27 August 1944.

Date Op No A/c Serial Code Z5- Up Down Target Op Type Comments
25/08/1944 1 MZ341 G 1823
night
2155
night
Watten (1 of 9 aircraft tasked from 462 Sqdn) Bombing

Crew of 7 as listed previously;
9 aircraft were detailed and all became airborne, all attacked the target and returned safely. Visibility good.
MZ341 Bombed Primary target from 12,500 ft., at 20.33 hrs;
Photographic report:- Aiming Point near centre of picture.

27/08/1944 2 MZ341 G 1138
day
1554
day
Homberg (1 of 10 aircraft tasked from 462 Sqdn) Bombing Crew of 7 as listed previously;
10 aircraft were detailed and all became airborne; 8 attacked the primary target; one attacked the Rhine Docks, north-east of Homberg, on three engines (Lane crew, MZ306); and one returned early with engine trouble, and jettisoned bombs (Cuttriss crew, LW955).
All returned safely. Small amounts of cloud increasing over the Continent, visibility moderate to good.
MZ341 Bombed Primary target from 18,000 ft., at 14.02 hrs;
6/10 cloud, tops 10,000 ft.
Photographic report:- Aiming Point.

Halifax Mk III Serial Number MZ341 transferred from 466 Squadron (where its Code Number had been HD-V), to 462 Squadron after the Squadron was re-formed in August 1944 (ref: "Brave and True", page 326). The aircraft was then given the new 462 Squadron code number Z5-G. The code was later changed to Z5-P, and photos of the Halifax MZ341 with the markings of Z5-P (P for Peter, with artwork of Peter Rabbit on the nose) may be seen on the Halifax page. The broad vertical yellow stripes on the tail fins were added to 462 Squadron aircraft in late September 1944. Aircraft for 466 Squadron were identified by three broad horizontal stripes on the tail fins. The crew photo also shows part of this aircraft.
Rodgers and crew had the honour of being the first crew to fly Halifax MZ341 Z5-G for its first two Ops at 462 Squadron.

With at least 3 Ops at 466 Sqdn in which their aircraft was attacked or had sustained flak damage, it can be seen that this crew was fortunate to survive the war. It is highly commendable that they completed a total of 39 Ops as a crew. As advised by his daughter, Nav Archer carried out 41 Ops, so he must have been a substitute Nav for other crews on two occasions at 466 Squadron. Rear Gunner Dobinson carried out a total of 40 Ops, and WOp Moyle 38 Ops.

Return to top

Distinguished Flying Cross

Pilot John Thomas Rodgers DFC

462 Squadron ORB, Form 540, page 22, October 1944, Honours & Awards – One of four Officers from 462 Squadron awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross during the month – Aus. 425190 F/O J T Rogers (sic, Rodgers). Others listed were pilots Lane, MacDermott, and Jackson.
Rodgers and his crew had already been posted from 462 Squadron, and his DFC was for actions carried out previously at 466 Squadron. (See Op 37 for 466 Sqdn in previous section.)

From the London Gazette, dated Friday 3rd November 1944 (4th Supplement, Tuesday 7 November 1944), Issue 36782, page 5084 ..... 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
Flying Officer John Thomas RODGERS
(Aus.425190), R.A.A.F., 462 (R.A.A.F.) Sqn."

Citation for Distinguished Flying Cross, for Flying Officer John Thomas Rodgers 425190 RAAF, 462 Squadron, previously 466 Squadron, Driffield.

Above is the Citation from the London Gazette, with transcription below.

"This officer has set a fine example of skill,
gallantry and devotion to duty. He has com-
pleted a large number of sorties, involving
attacks on a wide range of enemy targets. One
night in August, 1944, in an attack on Kiel his
aircraft sustained much damage. Despite this he
completed his bombing task. Later on the home-
ward flight the aircraft sustained further damage
but Flying Officer Rodgers flew the bomber to
base. His determination was in keeping with that
which he has shown on all occasions."

(See previous section for Op 37, on 16/17 August 1944 at 466 Sqdn.)

Rear Gunner Douglas John DOBINSON DFC

From the London Gazette, dated Tuesday 5th December 1944 (4th Supplement, Friday 8 December 1944), Issue 36831, page 5636 ..... quote ...

"Air Ministry, 8th December 1944. The KING has been graciously pleased to approve the following awards:-
ROYAL AUSTRALIAN AIR FORCE
Distinguished Flying Cross
Flying Officers
Douglas John DOBINSON
(Aus.424530), R.A.A.F., 462 (R.A.A.F.) Sqn."

London Gazette listing for Distinguished Flying Cross for Douglas John Dobinson, 424530 RAAF, of 462 Squadron, previously 466 Squadron, Driffield.

Above is the entry from the London Gazette. No Citation was included. However, the Citation was included in his RAAF Service File – copy below, with transcription following.

Citation for Distinguished Flying Cross for Douglas John Dobinson, 424530 RAAF, of 462 Squadron, previously 466 Squadron, Driffield.

ROYAL AUSTRALIAN AIR FORCE
HONOURS AND AWARDS
DISTINGUISHED FLYING CROSS
FLYING OFFICER DOUGLAS JOHN DOBINSON (424530)
CITATION

Flying Officer DOBINSON has taken part in
numerous operational sorties.

In May, 1944, he was rear gunner in an
aircraft detailed to attack an enemy military camp.
En route to the target, an enemy night fight was
encountered. Due to this officer's accurate shooting,
the enemy aircraft was destroyed before his own
aircraft sustained damage. This enabled the target
to be attacked successfully.
PRIVATE ADDRESS: 153 Victoria Avenue, CHATSWOOD, NSW

(See previous section for Op 11, on 27 May 1944 at 466 Sqdn.)

 

If anyone wishes to add information about this crew, or can provide additional photos,
or can match names to faces in the crew photo, please make contact.

Return to top

Back_button to Squadron Crews UK

Copyright © E.M.A.Hibberd 2010 - 2017.