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

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6 August 2018
Crew 61, Pilot Neil Stephen Sullivan – 462 Squadron RAAF

 

Crew 61 of 462 Squadron, Foulsham - John Cairns Lee, Wilson Alfred Railton, Thomas Walker, David Maxwell Gribble, Arthur Cowley, Neil Stephen Sullivan, Keith Currie.
Aviation Heritage Museum WA, Catalog No. P950928

Crew 61 after posting to 462 Squadron, Foulsham, Norfolk.

Back row, left to right: F/Sgt Jock Lee (R/AG); F/Sgt Bill Railton (W/Op); Sgt Tom Walker (F/Eng); F/Sgt Max Gribble (M/UG).

Front row, left to right: F/O Arthur Cowley (B/A); F/O Neil Sullivan (Pilot); F/O Keith Currie (Nav).

 

Crew 61, 462 Squadron, Foulsham, Norfolk

Pilot: Neil Stephen SULLIVAN, 434110 RAAF
Navigator: Keith CURRIE, 436316 RAAF
Bomb Aimer: Arthur COWLEY, 50704 RAAF
Wireless Operator: Wilson Alfred RAILTON, 436211 RAAF
Mid-Upper Gunner: David Maxwell GRIBBLE, 431621 RAAF
Rear Gunner: John Cairns LEE, 430571 RAAF
Flight Engineer: Thomas WALKER, 1590544 RAF

Special Duties: WINDOW Dispensers (Foulsham)
Links to additional Crew Information; and Crew Ops

Reference sources – Australian WW2 Nominal Roll; The National Archives of Australia (Service Files, 462 Squadron Operational Record Book); Aviation Heritage Museum of Bull Creek, Western Australia; 462 Squadron veteran Tom Walker.

Special thanks must go to former Flight Engineer Thomas WALKER for photos and information on his page. Tom and his wife Rose (now deceased), and their son Gary, greeted me at the Yorkshire Air Museum, Elvington, on a rainy Sunday 08 July 2012. They showed me around the Museum, we had lunch at the NAAFI Canteen, and we talked about 462 Squadron. Tom was also the first person to make contacted, on 9 September 2009, just 3 days after this Tribute website went live on 6 September 2009.

Thanks also to Personnel at the Aviation Heritage Museum, Bull Creek, WA, for the many photos of 462 Squadron. The photos shown on this page mostly feature Keith Currie, who enlisted in Perth, WA – he may have donated them to the Museum.

 

Crew 61 of 462 Squadron, Foulsham - Max Gribble, Jock Lee, Tom Walker, and Neil Sullivan with Halifax Z5-A
Aviation Heritage Museum WA, Catalog No. P 950940

Sullivan's Crew awaiting take-off in Halifax Z5-A 'Able' on 02 April 1945, destination Hamburg.

Left to right: 1. MU/AG Max Gribble, 2. R/AG Jock Lee, 3. F/Eng Tom Walker, 4. Pilot Neil Sullivan, 5. unidentified person part obscured.

 

Crew 61 of 462 Squadron, Foulsham - Jock Lee, Max Gribble, Tom Walker, Neil Sullivan, Keith Currie, with Halifax Z5-A
Aviation Heritage Museum WA, Catalog No. P 025573

Sullivan's Crew awaiting take-off in Halifax Z5-A
Left to right: 1. Jock Lee, 2. Max Gribble, 3. Tom Walker,
4. unidentified, 5. Neil Sullivan facing camera, 6. Keith Currie facing camera and holding bag and parachute.

See more photos of this crew around Halifax Z5-A on 02 April 1945, on the Tom Walker page; plus one photo with the 2 Gunners on a Triumph motorcycle repeated on the Halifax page. The 8th man for this SD Op, to dispense WINDOW, was F/Sgt E.D.Tisdell, 432388 RAAF.

 

Sgt Thomas Walker 1590544 RAF, of 462 Squadron, Foulsham, awaiting take-off in Halifax Z5-A
Aviation Heritage Museum WA, Catalog No. P950935

Sgt Tom Walker awaiting take-off in Halifax Z5-A 'Able', 02 April 1945.
Left background – may be the crew truck, and possibly female driver?
Right background – unidentified

 

Navigator Keith Currie 436316 RAAF, 462 Squadron, Foulsham, 1945
Aviation Heritage Museum WA, Catalog No. P025572

Navigator Keith Currie at Foulsham, 1945, date and location not recorded.
If you can identify where on the RAF Station this was, please make contact.

 

Pilot Neil Stephen Sullivan, 434110 RAAF, 462 Squadron, Foulsham
Aviation Heritage Museum WA, Catalog No. P 950934

Pilot Neil Stephen Sullivan, 434110 RAAF, 462 Squadron, Foulsham
This photo appears to have been taken at the same time as a photo on the Walker page, which showed the Crew relaxing on the ground outside the Parachute Room, awaiting take-off.

 

Navigator Keith Currie 436316 RAAF, 462 Squadron, Foulsham, 1945; in a Halifax beside the Navigator's station.
Aviation Heritage Museum WA, Catalog No. P 025571

Navigator Keith Currie 436316 RAAF, 462 Squadron, Foulsham, 1945; in a Halifax beside the Navigator's work station. The Bomb Aimer's perspex can be seen in the background.

 

Navigator Keith Currie 436316 RAAF, 462 Squadron, Foulsham, 1945, with his bicycle.
Aviation Heritage Museum WA, Catalog No. P 950946

Navigator Keith Currie with bicycle, undated and location not recorded, but assumed to be at Foulsham, sometime in 1945.

 

 

 

Flight Lieutenant Keith Currie 436316 RAAF, 462 Squadron, Foulsham, 1945
Aviation Heritage Museum WA, Catalog No. P 950925

Museum catalogue caption: "Flight Lieutenant Keith Currie, England, circa 1945". He was recorded in the ORB as F/Lt on 09 April 1945, but as F/O on all Ops before and after that date. He was posted from 462 Squadron in September at the rank of Flying Officer.

 

 

Navigator Keith Currie, with unidentified A/G or WOp/AG at 462 Squadron, Foulsham, 1945
Aviation Heritage Museum WA, Catalog No. P 025570

Right – Flying Officer Keith Currie, Navigator, and
Left – Unidentified AG or WOp/AG – the Museum catalogue caption incorrectly named him as "Sgt Jack Lee", but it is not him (see photo below of Rear Gunner F/Sgt Jock Lee) If you can identify this person, please make contact.

 

 

Bomb Aimer Arthur Cowley, 50704 RAAF, 462 Squadron, Foulsham, 1945.
Aviation Heritage Museum WA, Catalog No. P950942

Bomb Aimer Flying Officer Arthur Cowley, awaiting take-off in Halifax Z5-A 'Able' on 02 April 1945.
Background, Left to right: 1. obscured, 2. Tom Walker, 3. Unidentified.

 

 

 

Rear Gunner John Cairns LEE, (Jock LEE) 430571 RAAF, 462 Squadron, beside rear turret of Halifax Z5-A, 02 April 1945.
Aviation Heritage Museum WA, Catalog No. P950941

Rear Gunner F/Sgt John Cairns LEE (Jock) beside the rear turret of Halifax Z5-A, 02 April 1945, from the same sequence of photos shown above, and on the Walker page.

In the background is another Halifax of 462 Squadron, with the distinctive vertical stripes o the tail fin.

 

Navigator Keith Currie and Rear Gunner John Cairns LEE, and others, at Acaster Malbis, October 1944 on Assault Training Course; later posted to 462 Squadron, Foulsham.
Aviation Heritage Museum WA, Catalog No. P 025576

Original caption from Museum: "Acaster Malbis, October 1944, Crewmen on an Assault Training Course."

From left to right: 1. unidentified, 2. unidentified, 3. Navigator Keith Currie, 4. unidentified, 5. Rear Gunner John Cairns LEE. Several have mud on their faces, so photo was possibly after a cross country exercise.
For a description of what happened during training at Acaster Malbis, please read "Recollections of War" a memoir by Al Oakes.
From his RAAF A9301 Service File – Jock Lee was posted TO 41 Base Acaster Malbis on 20 October 1944, and posted FROM there TO 74 Base, 1658 Heavy Conversion Unit, Riccall, on 07 November 1944.
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Pilot

Name: Neil Stephen SULLIVAN
Service: Royal Australian Air Force
Service Number: 434110
Date of Birth: 21 October 1922
Place of Birth: Springsure, Queensland
Date of Enlistment: 12 October 1942
Place of Enlistment: Brisbane, Qld
Next of Kin: Owen SULLIVAN
Date of Discharge: 22 January 1946
Rank at Discharge: Flight Lieutenant
Posting at Discharge: 462 Squadron
Honours and Gallantry: Nil
Prisoner of War: No

Age 22 years & 6 months in April 1945
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Navigator

Name: Keith CURRIE
Service: Royal Australian Air Force
Service Number: 436316
Date of Birth: 11 July 1913
Place of Birth: Fremantle, Western Australia
Date of Enlistment: 05 December 1942
Place of Enlistment: Perth, WA
Next of Kin: Joseph CURRIE
Date of Discharge: 24 April 1946
Rank at Discharge: Flight Lieutenant
Posting at Discharge: 41 Base
Honours and Gallantry: Nil
Prisoner of War: No

Age 31 years & 9 months in April 1945
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Bomb Aimer

Name: Arthur COWLEY
Service: Royal Australian Air Force
Service Number: 50704
Date of Birth: 05 July 1923
Place of Birth: Collingwood, Victoria
Date of Enlistment: 12 February 1942
Place of Enlistment: Melbourne, Vic
Next of Kin: Harry COWLEY
Date of Discharge: 11 January 1946
Rank at Discharge: Flying Officer
Posting at Discharge: 9 Aircrew Holding Unit
Honours and Gallantry: Nil
Prisoner of War: No

Age 21 years & 9 months in April 1945.
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Wireless Operator

Name: Wilson Alfred RAILTON (Bill)
Service: Royal Australian Air Force
Service Number: 436211
Date of Birth: 09 November 1913
Place of Birth: Neutral Bay, New South Wales
Date of Enlistment: 18 November 1942
Place of Enlistment: Perth, WA
Next of Kin: Alfred RAILTON
Date of Discharge: 17 January 1946
Rank at Discharge: Warrant Officer
Posting at Discharge: 9 Aircrew Holding Unit
Honours and Gallantry: Nil
Prisoner of War: No

Age 31 years & 5 months in April 1945
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Mid-Upper Gunner

Name: David Maxwell GRIBBLE (Max)
Service: Royal Australian Air Force
Service Number: 431621
Date of Birth: 22 May 1925
Place of Birth: Ballarat, Vic
Date of Enlistment: 16 July 1943
Place of Enlistment: Melbourne, Vic
Next of Kin: William GRIBBLE
Date of Discharge: 10 January 1946
Rank at Discharge: Warrant Officer
Posting at Discharge: 9 Aircrew Holding Unit
Honours and Gallantry: Nil
Prisoner of War: No

Age 19 years & 11 months in April 1945
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Rear Gunner

Name: John Cairns LEE (Jock)
Service: Royal Australian Air Force
Service Number: 430571
Date of Birth: 28 May 1924
Place of Birth: Echuca, Vic
Date of Enlistment: 18 February 1943
Place of Enlistment: Melbourne, Vic
Next of Kin: Annie LEE
Date of Discharge: 30 January 1946
Rank at Discharge: Warrant Officer
Posting at Discharge: 9 Aircrew Holding Unit
Honours and Gallantry: Nil
Prisoner of War: No

Age 20 yrs & 11 months in April 1945 
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Flight Engineer

Name: Thomas Walker (Tom)
Service: Royal Australian Air Force
Service Number: 1590544
Date of Birth: 30 March 1925
Place of Birth: England
Date of Enlistment: 14 Dec 1942
Place of Enlistment: Doncaster, South Yorkshire
Next of Kin: ......
Date of Discharge: 14 April 1947
Rank at Discharge: ......
Posting at Discharge: ......
Honours and Gallantry: ......
Prisoner of War: No

Age 20 years & 1 month in April 1945
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Special Duties: WINDOW Dispensers
Ops listed in a later section.
One Op with each of the following, except for Toohey.

F/Sgt J.W. Kimber, 436523 RAAF
F/Sgt M.P. Toohey, 429056 RAAF (2 Ops)
F/Sgt E.D. Tisdell, 432388 RAAF (later KIA with Lodder Crew)
F/Sgt V.W. Chaffer, 433195 RAAF
F/Sgt H.R. Willis-Jones, 431650 RAAF
F/Sgt W. Thomson, 437601 RAAF
W/O J.A. Newbold, 755811 RAF

Please refer also to the SD WINDOW page for additional information and photos of some of these men.

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Additional Crew Information

Of the 6 RAAF members of crew, only the Service File for Rear Gunner John Cairns LEE had been digitised. He had also been in the Australian Army before enlisting in the RAAF. While posted to 27 Operational Training Unit at Lichfield, he was injured and hospitalised for some time. This detached him from his initial crew, and he later crewed up with Pilot Sullivan.

From Jock Lee's Service File, and information from Tom Walker, the following dates and movements for the Sullivan Crew are known.

20 October 1944 - Posted to 41 Base, Acaster Malbis; Jock Lee training with Keith Currie (see photo in previous section).

07 November 1944 - Jock Lee posted to 74 Base, 1658 Heavy Conversion Unit, Riccall, Yorkshire (assume with Sullivan crew of 6).

16 December 1944 – Tom Walker posted to 1658 HCU, Riccall, Yorkshire, and joined F/O Neil Sullivan's crew, to make a crew of 7. (While at 1658 HCU, 2 photos on the Walker page, taken at Selby Abbey, after dinghy training at the local swimming baths.)

7 March 1945 – Lee and Walker and Crew posted to 462 Squadron, 100 Group, Foulsham, Norfolk. Crew 61 was assigned to "A Flight" with Deputy Flight Commander Fl/Lt Edward (Ted) McGindle.

24 March 1945 - first Op for Sullivan crew at 462 Squadron (see later section for all Ops details).

10 April 1945 – Crew 61 were on leave until 19 April 1945. F/Eng Tom Walker was married to Rose on 14 April 1945. During this Crew's leave, Alf Ball & Crew 59 Failed to Return on the night of 10/11 April, and Allan Lodder & Crew 44 on the night of 16/17 April.

02 May 1945 - last Op for Sullivan crew at 462 Squadron.

17 September 1945 - LEE posted to 9 Aircrew handling Unit (9 ACHU), Gamston; all other members of this crew were also posted from the Squadron in September 1945.

 

John Cairns LEE (Jock) 430571 RAAF
More information from his Army Service
File B884, RAAF Service File A9301, and RAAF Casualty File A705 from Lichfield will be added for 6 July 2018 site update.

Please visit again.

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Crew Ops – carried out by this Crew while posted to 462 Squadron, "A Flight".

The following table lists the 8 Ops for Sullivan and his crew, during March, April and May 1945. There were no substitutions or changes for the usual crew of 7. On all eight Ops they carried one extra crew member for Special Duties, to dispense WINDOW.

Aircraft Serial as listed in the Operational Record Book, Forms 541, from the National Archives of Australia.
Aircraft Code numbers Z5- were not listed in the ORB, but were available from F/Eng Tom Walker's log book entries, and compared with other sources; ORB information was also cross-referenced with Tom's log book Op dates & targets.
Times up and down in red are night flights.
Target "Ruhr x 5" means 5 aircraft tasked from 462 Squadron to the target of the Ruhr, with Sullivan's crew being one of those 5 (and so on for the other dates).
Target "Schönebeck x 11 (of 12)" means 11 aircraft tasked from 462 Squadron to the target of Schönebeck, with Sullivan's crew being one of those 11; with a different target for the extra 462 Squadron aircraft (and so on for the other dates).
There was some variation in the spelling of Target names in the original ORB.
Code for Op Type – SD Special Duties; SP Spoof; W WINDOW; TI Target Indicators; I Incendiaries; F Flares; B Bombing.
Comments include names of extra crew members to dispense WINDOW.
This crew did not have any early returns, but once landed away after being diverted from Foulsham due to low cloud.

Date Op No A/c Serial Code Z5- Up Down Target Op Type Comments
24/03/1945 1 RG379 O 1840 2350 Ruhr x 5 SD SP W Additional 8th member of crew to dispense WINDOW,
F/Sgt J.W. Kimber, 436523 RAAF (in Log book as Rhine)
27/03/1945 2 PN432 E 1854 2340 Bremerhaven x 9 SD SP W TI I Additional 8th member of crew to dispense WINDOW,
F/Sgt M.P. Toohey, 429056 RAAF
02/04/1945 3

PN433

A 2032 0210 Stade x 10 (Kiel) SD SP W B TI

In ORB as LG432, listed elsewhere as RG432; but photos show it was PN433/G Z5-A; recorded in log book as Z5-A, and target Hamburg
Additional 8th member of crew to dispense WINDOW,
F/Sgt E.D. Tisdell, 432388 RAAF (later KIA, Lodder Crew).

08/04/1945 4 MZ431 J 1812 0120 Schönebeck x 11 (of 12) SD SP W F Additional 8th member of crew to dispense WINDOW,
F/Sgt M.P. Toohey, 429056 RAAF; landed away at Tangmere, diverted due to low cloud at Foulsham.
Logbook as Magdeburg
09/04/1945 5 MZ431 J 1953 0052 Stade x 6 SD SP W Additional 8th member of crew to dispense WINDOW, F/Sgt V.W. Chaffer, 433195 RAAF
Log book as Hamburg
22/04/1945 6 MZ429 F 2111 0202 Heligoland x 10 SD SP W Additional 8th member of crew for RCM duties,
F/Sgt H.R. Willis-Jones, 431650 RAAF
24/04/1945 7 MZ396 B 2147 0354 Munich x 6

SD SP W

Additional 8th member of crew to dispense WINDOW,
F/Sgt W. Thomson, 437601 RAAF
02/05/1945 8 PN192 Q 2056 0150 Flensburg x 6 (of 10)

SD SP W

Additional 8th member of crew to dispense WINDOW,
W/O J.A. Newbold, 755811 RAF

Halifax PN433 Z5-A may be seen on the Halifax page and also on F/Eng Walker's page.
MZ431 Z5-J is also shown on the Halifax page.

Halifax identification
Halifax Z5-A is clearly identified in the series of photos on this and the Tom Walker page.
The aircraft serial number appears to be PN433/G.
However the Squadron Operation Record Book (Form 541, page 313) for 2 April 1945 lists this Crew as flying Halifax LG-432.
The serial with /G indicates an armed Guard was required, due to the Special RCM equipment on board (Ref: Lax & Kane-Maguire page 455).

Halifax aircraft at 462 Squadron with the code Z5-A – as recorded in the 462 Squadron ORB

LL598 Z5-A – recorded from 25 Aug 1944 to 14 Jan 1945; crashed at Shipdham, Astill crew, 6 KIA

MZ447 Z5-A – recorded from 28 Jan to 24 Feb 1945; Failed to return; Rate crew; sometimes listed in error as MZ477

LG432 Z5-A – recorded on 02 April and 04 April 1945; 2 Ops only, overshot runway on 04 April by O'Sullivan's Crew 43.
RG432 Z5-A – recorded on 13 April and 14 April – 2 Ops only
These two may have been the same aircraft, but with errors in serial record?

PN427/G Z5-A – crashed 15 April 1945 (Ref: Lax & Kane-Maguire page 454; not listed by Batten; not listed in ORB).

PN433 Z5-A – recorded on 22 April, 23 April and 24 April 1945; 3 Ops (Ref: Lax & Kane-Maguire page 454 record PN433 as as Z5-R – perhaps it was re-coded to, or from, Z5-A at some time? In the photo, the paint for the A was faded, or had a very thin application.)
It would appear that PN433 was in use earlier than late April, i.e. on 02 April, based on the photos.

More research is required to sort out this conflict in information. If you can assist, please make contact.

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