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Robert Barry Hetherington, 435570 RAAF


L.A.C. R.B.Hetherington 435570 RAAF at enlistment June 1943


Leading Air Craftman Robert Barry Hetherington soon after enlistment in June 1943, while in training at 3WAGS Maryborough.

Bob's Service History is detailed below, as well as information on WW2 links with M.J.Hibberd, and Bob's life after the war.

Except where indicated otherwise, the photos on this page have been loaned by RBH for for scanning. The information presented here has also been supplied by RBH in interviews and phone conversations. He has also assisted with general info about RAAF training and life during WW2. His personal WW2 Diary has been amazing with it's detail.

Bob also supplied personal mementos received from MJH after the War, and safely stored for the last 65 years.

I am indebted to RBH for his assistance.

(Photo from the R.B.Hetherington Collection)


Sergeants M.J.Hibberd, Harris, Wilson & Hetherington at Luna Park, Sydney, Feb 1944



Behind the bar, right – Sgt. Bob Hetherington, left – Sgt. Bob Wilson.

In front of the bar, left – Sgt. M.J.Hibberd; right – Sgt.Flip/Phlip Harris.

No. 2 Embarkation Depot, Bradfield Park, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, February 1944. This was the final Australian posting after receiving Air Gunnery badge and promotion to Sergeant while at No.1 Air Gunnery School at West Sale, Victoria.

Photo taken at Luna Park, Sydney, Australia prior to embarkation by ship to the UK. This was a staged photo at the fun-park, in a fake bar with empty bottles.

(Photo from the M.J.Hibberd Collection)


Sgt R.B.Hetherington RAAF 435570 & Sgt M.J.Hibberd RAAF 435342, at 11PDRC Brighton, April 1944



Sgt Bob Hetherington (left) and Sgt M.J.Hibberd (right), both aged 19, while posted to 11 Personnel Despatch and Reception Centre at Brighton, UK.

They arrived by troop train at 0700 Easter Saturday 8 April 1944, and were billeted on the 7th floor of the Grand Hotel.

This photo was taken sometime between 8 and 26 April. On the 26th April, they departed on disembarkation leave, traveling by train via London to Carlisle in the Lakes District.

The photo was taken at the end of an alley between the Grand Hotel and the building beside it. The wind from the sea coming across the Esplanade was so strong that they were almost blown off their feet when attempting to cross the alley. They had to hold on to the side of one building, walk down the alley to the end, cross over near the back wall, then come back up the other side holding onto that building. (There may be some Aussie exaggeration here!)

(Photo from the R.B.Hetherington Collection)


W/O M.J.Hibberd RAAF 435342,  Colin Hetherington, & W/O R.B.Hetherington RAAF 435570, at Hervey Bay Feb 1946


From left: Warrant Officer M.J.Hibberd, Colin Hetherington (ex Aust Army having served in New Guinea), and Warrant Officer R.B.Hetherington (brothers).

This photo was taken at the beach at Hervey Bay near Maryborough, Queensland after both Bob and Max had been demobbed on the same day, 18th February 1946. After demob, they both stayed for a few days at the Hibberd Family farm at Brookfield, near Brisbane. They then traveled to Maryborough to visit the Hetherington Family for a few days.

Max Hibberd had been hospitalised, then convalescing, then an outpatient due to his war injuries, hence his rather scrawny appearance.

Shortly after this holiday, M.J.Hibberd re-commenced studies at Queensland Agricultural High School & College at Gatton, Queensland, as a War Rehabilitation Student.

(Photo from the R.B.Hetherington Collection)


Robert Barry Hetherington – Service History
This information has been obtained from the web site of the Australian Nominal Roll, & confirmed by RBH.
Service – RAAF
Service Number – 435570
Date of Birth – 20 March 1925
Place of Birth – Maryborough, Queensland
Date of Enlistment – 18 June 1943
Place of Enlistment – Brisbane, Queensland
Next of Kin – Ernest Hetherington (father?)
Date of Discharge – 23 January 1946
Rank at Discharge – Warrant Officer
Posting at Discharge – RAF Beccles, Norfolk, UK

Bob was posted to 461 Squadron, Coastal Command, flying in Sunderland aircraft.
Further information will be added in the future.
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Links with M.J.Hibberd during WW2

(Birth date of 20 March 1945 making him 14 days younger than F/Sgt J.M.Tait and F/Sgt M.J.Hibberd in Ball's crew, who both had birth date of 6 March 1925).

Rear Gunner HIBBERD 435342 enlisted 1943 Brisbane Queensland (birth date 06 March 1925) and Gunner HETHERINGTON 435570 enlisted 1943 Brisbane, Queensland (birth date 20 March 1925) – they had similar postings throughout their training in Australia, embarkation, and posting to 11 PDRC in Brighton, and had the same pre- and post-embarkation Leave. They had planned to fly as Mid-Upper and Rear Gunners in the same crew, however they received different postings from 11 PDRC – HIBBERD to 27 OTU (eventually to 462 Squadron), and HETHERINGTON to Scotland (eventually to 461 Squadron in Sunderland aircraft).

Information supplied by R.B.Hetherington will be added in the future.

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RBH – His life after the War

Information supplied by R.B.Hetherington will be added in the near future.
Sadly, R.B.Hetherington is now deceased, aged 85, with his Funeral Service held on 21 July 2010.

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