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06 July 2021
Special Duties – Radio Counter Measures – 462 Squadron RAAF

Special Duties (Radio Counter Measures) – Twelve Special Duties Operators (SDOs), were posted TO 462 Squadron Foulsham in early 1945, to operate the Special Top Secret Equipment used in Radio Counter Measures. Only a select number of the Squadron's aircraft were fitted with this equipment. Some Ops were described as Protective Patrols (PP), others as Special Duties. These RCM/PP Ops commenced in mid-March 1945 and continued until early May 1945.

The SDOs were not permanently assigned to any one crew, however some flew more than one Op with a particular crew.
Most were RCAF, a few were RAF or RAFVR, and only one was RAAF.

They were fluent in the German language so were able to listen in on Luftwaffe transmissions and broadcast to them if necessary. Sometimes they were the 8th member of crew. However on several Ops when WINDOW was also released by an 8th member of crew, the SDO was the 9th crew man.

Names have been extracted from the Operation Record Books Form 540 (Postings IN and Postings OUT) and from Forms 541 Operations. However many variations occurred for the same person's initials, surname and Service Number. The arrival of nine of the first batch of SDOs were not recorded in the ORB – was this an error of omission? or have pages been lost?
Please make contact if you are able to make corrections, or if you can provide further information or photos.

Thanks go to David Champion, researcher of 101 Squadron, who recognized names and Service Numbers of several ABC Operators who had been posted from 101 Squadron. Additional information is now included in Tables 1 and 2 below (updated 6 June 2019). Additional information on individual SDOs will will be included if/when it becomes available.

Table 1: SDOs, RCM – with Ops (may contain errors).

Name (Special Duties, Radio Counter Measures)
March, April, May 1945
Service Number Force Ops
Otto Charles CLEYN (with variations)
J.94117 RCAF 1 Op
J H COHEN (with variations) J.43638 or J.42638 RCAF 3 Ops
J EPPLER R.180016 or R.180816 RCAF 4 Ops
Leonard James FLETCHER 55652 RAF 4 Ops
John Edward GEEHMAN 435052 RAAF 2 Ops
John HEGGARTY (KIA 10 April 1945)
179888 RAFVR 2 Ops
H GOODWIN J.45521 RCAF 3 Ops
J HOSIE J.44681 or J.44581 RCAF 4 Ops
W F KEEHN R.164634 RCAF 4 Ops
Leslie PUGH 165109 RAFVR 4 Ops
E C REINKE R.218397 RCAF 4 Ops
P SAWATZKY (with variations) J.47915 RCAF 4 Ops
Total aircraft missions with SDO-RCM (table at end of page)     39

Ten RCAF and RAFVR personnel, some with names of possible German descent, were posted TO 462 Squadron during April 1945, but they were not listed in any Ops prior to cessation of hostilities. Information received from David Champion indicates that several were posted FROM 101 Squadron, where they had been ABC Operators for RCM. Their names and details are included in the following table. The 101 Squadron ORBs also have variations in initials, and spelling of surnames, as do the 462 Squadron ORBs.

From David: ..... "By the time ABC operators were posted to 462 Squadron, their ABC training would have been at RAF Ludford Magna. ABC started with trials at 101 Squadron in August 1943. The ABC operators were German speakers but they did not actually converse with the German Pilots or other personnel. They needed the ability to differentiate between German and other allied languages, e.g. Czech and Polish. ABC Operators wore their usual "trade" wing on their uniform."

Table 2: SDOs – RCM – No Ops (may contain errors).

Name Service Number Force Officer/NCO POSTED IN
C D RUPPEL J.43554 RCAF Officer April 1945 ex 101 Sqdn
J W ENGLER R.213843 RCAF NCO April 1945 ex 101 Sqdn
I S or A SCHAEFER J.42681 RCAF Officer April 1945 ex 101 Sqdn
H L WALKER J.43571 RCAF Officer April 1945
Richard BLITZ 196263 (prev. 1379295) RAFVR Officer April 1945
Guenter John GOMAN J.46564 RCAF Officer April 1945 ex 101 Sqdn
Robert HOFSTETTER R.217154 RCAF NCO 23 April 1945 ex 101 Sqdn
Lloyd William LEMKE R.287988 RCAF NCO 23 April 1945 ex 101 Sqdn
C COOPER 1595367 RAFVR NCO April 1945
Henry O'Connell Jacques VAN GEFFEN 1896587 (later 199910) RAFVR NCO April 1945 ex 101 Sqdn

Reference sources – Australian WW2 Nominal Roll; National Archives of Australia (A9301 Service Files, Aircraft Loss Files, 462 Squadron Operational Record Book); London Gazette; The Air Force List January 1945; The Air Force List July 1945; David Champion (Researcher of 101 Squadron); or from sources as noted in the text.

First group of 12 SDOs for RCM

 

Name: Otto Charles CLEYN
Service: Royal Canadian Air Force
Service Number: J.94117

Previously served at 101 Squadron as ABC Operator for RCM.

Posted TO 462 Squadron: April 1945 at Rank of Pilot Officer
Posting FROM 462 Squadron: June 1945 at Rank Pilot Officer

Surname CLEYN had been anglicized from KLEIN.
In the 462 Sqdn ORB, his name had been recorded on arrival as O C CLYEN J.199620; on his one Op as C C CLYN J.94117; and on departure as D L Cleyn J.94117.

1 Op as SDO for RCM at 462 Squadron

1. 02 May 1945 – Halifax PN423 Z5-I, Britt Crew 47; as 8th member of crew to operate the "Special Equipment"; Protective Patrol and Carpet Jamming with Window Force, target Flensburg.

Link to Obituary for Otto Charles CLEYN, from the Montreal Gazette, 06 August 2006, kindly supplied by David Champion, Researcher of 101 Sqdn. Otto's birth 10 April 1920, death 14 July 2006 – so his RCAF Service file is closed until 2026.
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Name: J H COHEN (with variations)
Service: Royal Canadian Air Force
Service Number: J.43638 (with variations)

Posted TO 462 Squadron: March 1945
Rank at Arrival: Flying Officer
Posting FROM 462 Squadron: June 1945
Rank at Departure: Flight Lieutenant

3 Ops as SDO for RCM at 462 Squadron

1. 13 March 1945 – Halifax NA240 Z5-V, Anderson Crew 45; as 9th member of crew to operate the "Special Equipment"; Spoof Raid; 8th crewman R G Irminger to dispense WINDOW; target Frankfurt.

2. 30 March 1945 – Halifax NA240 Z5-V, Scott Crew 64; as 9th member of crew to operate the "Special Equipment"; Spoof Raid; 8th crewman R G Irminger to dispense WINDOW; target Stade.

3. 14 April 1945 – Halifax MZ426 Z5-? (probable error for PN426 Z5-O) Sherren Crew 50; as 8th member of crew to operate the "Special Equipment"; Protective Patrol with Main Force, target Potsdam.
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Name: J EPPLER
Service: Royal Canadian Air Force
Service Number: R.180016

Posted TO 462 Squadron: Not recorded in ORB
Rank at Arrival: ? (1st Op, Warrant Officer)
Posting FROM 462 Squadron: June 1945
Rank at Departure: Warrant Officer

4 Ops as SDO for RCM at 462 Squadron

1. 23 March 1945 – Halifax NA240 Z5-V, Anderson Crew 45; as 9th member of crew to operate the "Special Equipment"; Spoof Raid; 8th crewman D G Patterson to dispense WINDOW; target Ruhr.

2. 10 April 1945 – Halifax PN426 Z5-O, Frazer Crew 56; as 8th member of crew to operate the "Special Equipment"; Protective Patrol with Main Force; target Leipzig.

3. 22 April 1945 – Halifax PN426 Z5-O, Frazer Crew 56; as 8th member of crew to operate the "Special Equipment"; Spoof Raid; target Heligoland.

4. 02 May 1945 – Halifax MZ308 Z5-S, Anderson Crew 45; as 8th member of crew to operate the "Special Equipment"; Protective Patrol and Carpet Jamming with WINDOW Force; target Flensburg.
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Name: Leonard James FLETCHER
Service: Royal Air Force
Service Number: 55652

02 June 1944 – Commission, as Pilot Officer (from Warrant Officer, 520147)
02 December 1944 – Promotion to Flying Officer (Navigator)

Posted TO 462 Squadron: Not recorded in ORB
Rank at Arrival: ? (!st Op, Flying Officer)
Posting FROM 462 Squadron: August 1945
Rank at Departure: Flying Officer

4 Ops as SDO for RCM at 462 Squadron

1. 15 March 1945 – Halifax MZ308 Z5-S, Boyd Crew 40; as 9th member of crew to operate the "Special Equipment"; Spoof Raid; 8th crewman S E Tills to dispense WINDOW; target Münster & Hagen.

2. 04 April 1945 – Halifax PN426 Z5-O, Smith Crew 51; as 8th member of crew to operate the "Special Equipment"; Spoof Raid; target Berlin.

3. 14 April 1945 – Halifax MZ308 Z5-S, Boyd Crew 40; as 8th member of crew to operate the "Special Equipment"; Protective Patrol with Main Force; target Potsdam.

4. 02 May 1945 – Halifax PN430 Z5-W, Cairns Crew 69; as 8th member of crew to operate the "Special Equipment"; Protective Patrol and Carpet Jamming with WINDOW Force; target Flensburg.
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John Edward Geehman, 435052 RAAF, Special Duties, Radio Counter Measures, 462 Squadron, Foulsham.
Photo from the National Archives of Australia: A9301, 435052

Above: John Edward GEEHMAN, 435052 RAAF, undated but probably at enlistment on 11 March 1943, at 1 Recruiting Centre, Melbourne; single, aged 19 years 11 months. 2 Ops as SDO for RCM at 462 Squadron, 10 hours 50 m Operational Flying.

1. 16 April 1945 – Halifax MZ308 Z5-S, Cairns Crew 69; as 8th member of crew to operate the "Special Equipment"; Protective Patrol with Main Force, target Schwandorf. (Geehman's Service Number and task for RCM but named in error as Fink, who was a SDO-WINDOW.)

2. 25 April 1945 – Halifax PN426 Z5-O, Paull Crew 53; as 8th member of crew to operate the "Special Equipment"; daylight Carpet Jamming, target Wangerlooge (sic, Wangerooge), Heligoland (Frisian Islands).

He seems to have been the only Australian (RAAF) in the role of Special Duties – Radio Counter Measures, at 462 Squadron.

 

Name: John Edward GEEHMAN (Jack)
Service: Royal Australian Air Force
Service Number: 435052
Date of Birth: 09 April 1923
Place of Birth: Hepburn Springs, Victoria
Date of Enlistment: 11 March 1943
Place of Enlistment: Melbourne, Victoria
Previous Service: Private V310561, No 2 Platoon, H Q Coy,
58th Aust Inf. Batt'n, from 21 January 1942, discharged to join RAAF
Next of Kin: Mrs Josephine GEEHMAN (mother)

Trained as Wireless Operator / Air Gunner in Australia and Canada
13 March 1944 – Promoted to Sergeant
13 September 1944 – Promoted to Flight Sergeant
03 October 1944 – Posted to 10 (O) AFU, Dumfries, Scotland
27 March 1945 – Posted TO 462 Squadron (from 10 (O) AFU
April 945 – 2 Ops as Flight Sergeant
13 September 1945 – Promoted to Warrant Officer
19 September 1945 – Posting FROM 462 Squadron, to 9 ACHU
Date of Discharge from RAAF: 26 February 1946
Rank at Discharge: Warrant Officer
Posting at Discharge: 9 Aircrew Holding Unit (Gamston)

In his Application for Air Crew, RAAF, he recorded that he had studied German and French with first-class Passes for his Intermediate Certificate; French for his Leaving Certificate; and French for his Public Service Examination. His German would have assisted in his role of Special Duties RCM, however his RAAF Service File does not mention where he received training in that role – maybe it was during his posting to 10 (O) AFU.
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John Heggarty, 179888 (previously 1238295) RAFVR, Special Duties, Radio Counter Measures, 462 Squadron, Foulsham.
(Cropped from the photo of the crew of Halifax DK188 MP-J).

Above: Flight Sergeant John HEGGARTY, 1238295, RAFVR, just prior to take-off on 27 July 1943, in Halifax DK188 MP-J, while posted to 76 Squadron RAF, Holme-on-Spalding Moor, Yorkshire. His age at that time was 20 years and 11 months, just a few weeks before his 21st birthday (birth date 13/08/1922). His crew position was Rear Gunner. Within hours of this photo being taken, the aircraft had been attacked by night fighters, taking out one port engine; one of the crew had been killed, another injured, and John seriously injured; the Halifax crash-landed at Shipdham on return.
(Source of photo: To See The Dawn Breaking, by W.R. Chorley, page 105. Permission to use was received from W.R.Chorley by email 12 November 2012.)

2 Ops as SDO for RCM at 462 Squadron

1. 24 March 1945 – Halifax MZ308 Z5-S, Ball Crew 59; John as 9th member of crew to operate the "Special Equipment"; 8th man Ronald George Irminger 437308 RAAF, to dispense WINDOW; Target Ruhr. When in the OPLADEN area, the aircraft was attacked by an Enemy fighter aircraft, identified by the rear-gunner as a FW.190. The enemy fighter closed in to 400 yards to attack; the rear-gunner opened fire; hits were observed in the neighbourhood of the engine; and the FW.190 was claimed as damaged by R/AG M J Hibberd.

2. 10 April 1945 – Halifax NA240 Z5-V, Ball Crew 59, as 8th member of crew. Target Leipzig. KIA (Links for further information at right.)

 

Name: John HEGGARTY
Service: Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Service Number: 179888 (previously 1238295)
Date of Birth: 13 August 1922
Place of Birth: Wallasey, Cheshire
Date and Place of Enlistment: April 1940, Cardington
(RAF service numbers 1150001 to 1250000 were issued
during April 1940 at Cardington; from website http:/www.ab-ix.co.uk/tfr_raf.pdf)

Next of Kin: Mrs Louisa May LEDGER (Aunt)

Mentioned in Despatches: 14 January 1944
Commissioned to rank of Pilot Officer: 21 July 1944 (Air Gunner)
Promotion to Flying Officer: 21 January 1945 (Air Gunner)

Posted TO 462 Squadron: 15 February 1945
Rank at Arrival: Flying Officer

Date of Death: 10 April 1945
Rank at Death: Flying Officer
Posting at Death: 462 Squadron, Foulsham
Grave Reference: Grave 4.Z.12, Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery

John was the SDO-RCM for the Ball Crew 59, in Halifax NA240 Z5-V, which failed to return from a Protective Patrol with the Main Force to the target Leipzig, on the night of 10 April 1945. The aircraft crashed at Zaasch, near Delitzsch. Seven of the crew, including John, were killed in the crash. The sole survivor was Rear Gunner M J Hibberd.

Links to the following relevant pages:
John Heggarty – photos, personal information; service and operational details; injury on Op on 27 July 1943 (76 Squadron, Elder Crew, Halifax DK188 MP-J), and "Mention in Despatches"; family genealogy.
Ball Crew 59 with links to each member of the crew;
Crash site of Halifax III NA240 Z5-V at Zaasch
;
Communal Grave at Zaasch – for 7 members of crew, initial burial in April 1945;
Graves at Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery – for 7 members of crew, after exhumation, and re-burial in 1947;
Loss of Aircraft File for Halifax III NA240, Z5-V;
Crash Investigation Report for Halifax III NA240, Z5-V;
Disposal of wreckage of Halifax III NA240 Z5-V;
Zaasch Memorial – Memorial Plaque for Crew, permanently displayed in St. Ursula Evangelische Kirche;
St Clement Danes – Book of Remembrance.
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Name: H GOODWIN
Service: Royal Canadian Air Force
Service Number: J.45521 (with variations)

Posted TO 462 Squadron: Not recorded in ORB
Rank at Arrival: ? (1st Op, Pilot Officer)
Posting FROM 462 Squadron: June 1945
Rank at Departure: Pilot Officer

3 Ops as SDO for RCM at 462 Squadron

1. 18 March 1945 – Halifax MZ308 Z5-S, Uther Crew 26; as 9th member of crew to operate the "Special Equipment"; Spoof Raid; 8th crewman G Fink to dispense WINDOW; target Kassal (sic. Kassel).

2. 08 April 1945 – Halifax NA240 Z5-V, Sherren Crew 50; as 8th member of crew to operate the "Special Equipment"; Spoof Raid; target Schönebeck. Landed at Wickenby.

3. 02 May 1945 – Halifax PN442 Z5-H, O'Sullivan Crew 43; as 8th member of crew to operate the "Special Equipment"; Protective Patrol with WINDOW Force; target Flensburg.

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Name: J HOSIE
Service: Royal Canadian Air Force
Service Number: J.44681

Posted TO 462 Squadron: Not recorded in ORB
Rank at Arrival: ? (1st Op, Flying Officer)
Posting FROM 462 Squadron: June 1945
Rank at Departure: Flying Officer

4 Ops as SDO for RCM at 462 Squadron

1. 27 March 1945 – Halifax NA240 Z5-V, Grant Crew 62; as 9th member of crew to operate the "Special Equipment"; Spoof Raid; 8th crewman J F Wall to dispense WINDOW; target Bremerhaven.

2. 13 April 1945 – Halifax PN426 Z5-O, Sherren Crew 50; as 8th member of crew to operate the "Special Equipment"; Protective Patrol with Main Force; target Kiel.

3. 16 April 1945 – Halifax PN426 Z5-O, Grant Crew 62; as 8th member of crew to operate the "Special Equipment"; Protective Patrol with Main Force; target Schwandorf.

4. 23 April 1945 – Halifax PN426 Z5-O, Frazer Crew 56; as 8th member of crew to operate the "Special Equipment"; Carpet Jamming with WINDOW Force; target Lübeck.
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Name: W F KEEHN
Service: Royal Canadian Air Force
Service Number: R.164364 (with variations)

Posted TO 462 Squadron: Not recorded in ORB
Rank at Arrival: ? (All Ops, Flight Sergeant)
Posting FROM 462 Squadron: June 1945
Rank at Departure: Warrant Officer

4 Ops as SDO for RCM at 462 Squadron

1. 22 March 1945 – Halifax NA240 Z5-V, Cookson Crew 23; as 9th member of crew to operate the "Special Equipment"; Spoof Raid; 8th crewman R R S Sharpe to dispense WINDOW; target Bremen. (This was a very early morning flight, up at 0138hrs, down at 063hrs; the 1st of 2 flights for this aircraft on this day – see Reinke, below.)

2. 08 April 1945 – Halifax PN426 Z5-O, Frazer Crew 56; as 8th member of crew to operate the "Special Equipment"; Protective Patrol with Main Force; target Hamburg.

3. 10 April 1945 – Halifax MZ457 Z5-Y, Cairns Crew 69; as 8th member of crew to operate the "Special Equipment"; Protective Patrol with WINDOW Force; target Plauem (sic, Plauen).

4. 14 April 1945 – Halifax MZ457 Z5-Y, Scott Crew 64; as 8th member of crew to operate the "Special Equipment"; Protective Patrol with Main Force; target Potsdam.

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Name: Leslie PUGH
Service: Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Service Number: 165109

Promotion to Flying Officer – 05 November 1944 (Navigator)
Posted TO 462 Squadron: Not recorded in ORB
Rank at Arrival: ? (1st Op, Flying Officer)
Posting FROM 462 Squadron: August 1945
Rank at Departure: Flying Officer

Commissioned to rank of Pilot Officer,
from the rank of Leading Aircraftman, previous Sce No 1583712

4 Ops as SDO for RCM at 462 Squadron

1. 16 March 1945 – Halifax NA240 Z5-V, Ball Crew 59; as 9th member of crew to operate the "Special Equipment"; Spoof Raid; 8th crewman S E Tills to dispense WINDOW; target Hanua (sic, Hanau); landed away at Watton.

2. 04 April 1945 – Halifax NA240 Z5-V, Frazer Crew 56; as 8th member of crew to operate the "Special Equipment"; Protective Patrol with Main Force; target Hamburg.

3. 18 April 1945 – Halifax PN426 Z5-O, Scharer Crew 54; as 8th member of crew to operate the "Special Equipment"; daylight Carpet Jamming Patrol with Main Force; target Heligoland.

4. 25 April 1945 – Halifax PN423 Z5-I, Langworthy Crew 34; as 8th member of crew to operate the "Special Equipment"; daylight Carpet Jamming, target Wangerlooge (sic, Wangerooge); 9th crew member Group Captain C V D Willis DSO, DFC, 33354 RAF as 2nd Pilot (Station Commander of RAF Foulsham).
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Name: E C REINKE
Service: Royal Canadian Air Force
Service Number: R.218397 (with variations)

Posted TO 462 Squadron: Not recorded in ORB
Rank at Arrival: ? (all Ops, Flight Sergeant)
Posting FROM 462 Squadron: June 1945
Rank at Departure: Warrant Officer

4 Ops as SDO for RCM at 462 Squadron

1. 22 March 1945 – Halifax NA240 Z5-V, Fleming Crew 60; as 9th member of crew to operate the "Special Equipment"; Spoof Raid; 8th crewman R G Irminger to dispense WINDOW; target Ruhr. (This was an evening/night flight, up at 1946hrs, the 2nd flight for this aircraft on this day – the first flight was very early morning, see Keehn, above.)

2. 08 April 1945 – Halifax NA148 Z5-Z, Grant Crew 62; as 9th member of crew to operate the "Special Equipment"; Spoof Raid; 8th crewman G P Farrell to dispense WINDOW; target Schönebeck.

3. 09 April 1945 – Halifax MZ457 Z5-Y, Cairns Crew 69; as 8th member of crew to operate the "Special Equipment"; Protective Patrol with Main Force; target Kiel.

4. 14 April 1945 – Halifax RG432 Z5-A (sic, error, this aircraft had been written off, 04 April 1945, replacement was PN427 Z5-A); Anderson Crew 45; as 8th member of crew to operate the "Special Equipment"; Protective Patrol with Main Force; target Potsdam. Hit by FLAK, forced landing at Liege, France, Pilot injured, aircraft total loss.
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Name: P SAWATZKY (with variations)
Service: Royal Canadian Air Force
Service Number: J.47915

Posted TO 462 Squadron: Not recorded in ORB
Rank at Arrival: ? (1st Op, Pilot Officer)
Posting FROM 462 Squadron: May 1945
Rank at Departure: Pilot Officer

(variations SATWETZKY or SAWATSKY)

4 Ops as SDO for RCM at 462 Squadron

1. 27 March 1945 – Halifax MZ308 Z5-S, Boyd Crew 40; as 9th member of crew to operate the "Special Equipment"; Spoof Raid; 8th crewman L G Edwards to dispense WINDOW; target Bremerhaven.

2. 13 April 1945 – Halifax RG432 Z5-A (sic, error, this aircraft had been written off, 04 April 1945, replacement was PN427 Z5-A); Grant Crew 62; as 8th member of crew to operate the "Special Equipment"; Protective Patrol with Main Force; target Kiel.

3. 16 April 1945 – Halifax PN430 Z5-W, Boyd Crew 40; as 8th member of crew to operate the "Special Equipment"; Protective Patrol; target Pilson (sic. Pilsen).

4. 22 April 1945 – Halifax PN430 Z5-W, Boyd Crew 40; as 8th member of crew to operate the "Special Equipment"; Spoof Raid; target Heligoland.
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Second Group of 10 SDOs for RCM – No Ops located in ORB
(Walker and Cooper may not have been SDOs?)

 

 

Name: C D RUPPEL
Service: Royal Canadian Air Force
Service Number: J.43554

Previously served at 101 Squadron as ABC Operator for RCM.

Posted TO 462 Squadron: April 1945
Rank at Arrival: Flying Officer
Posted FROM 462 Squadron: June 1945
Rank at Departure: Flying Officer
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Name: J W ENGLER
Service: Royal Canadian Air Force
Service Number: R.213843

Previously served at 101 Squadron as ABC Operator for RCM.

Posted TO 462 Squadron: April 1945
Rank at Arrival: Sergeant
Posting FROM 462 Squadron: June 1945
Rank at Departure: Warrant Officer
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Name: I S SCHAEFER (with variations)
Service: Royal Canadian Air Force
Service Number: J.42681

Previously served at 101 Squadron as ABC Operator for RCM.

Posted TO 462 Squadron: April 1945
Rank at Arrival: Pilot Officer
Posting FROM 462 Squadron: June 1945
Rank at Departure: Flying Officer
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Name: H L WALKER
Service: Royal Canadian Air Force
Service Number: J.43571

Posted TO 462 Squadron: April 1945
Rank at Arrival: Pilot Officer
Posting FROM 462 Squadron: June 1945
Rank at Departure: Flying Officer
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Name: Richard BLITZ
Service: Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Service Number: 196263

13 March 1945 – Commission, as Pilot Officer
(from Flight Sergeant, 1379295, Navigator)
13 September 1945 – Promotion to Flying Officer


Posted TO 462 Squadron: April 1945
Rank at Arrival: Pilot Officer
Posting FROM 462 Squadron: May 1945
Rank at Departure: Pilot Officer

13 March 1945 – Received a Commission to rank of Pilot Officer,
from former rank of Flight Sergeant, Service No. 1379295.
13 September 1945 – promoted to rank of Flying Officer.
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Name: Guenter John GOMAN (John)
Service: Royal Canadian Air Force
Service Number: J.46564

Previously served at 101 Squadron as ABC Operator for RCM. He had also been recorded as GORMAN in 101 Sqdn ORB, and with initials G I in 462 Squadron ORB.

Posted TO 462 Squadron: April 1945, at Rank of Pilot Officer
Posted FROM 462 Squadron: June 1945, at Rank of Flying Officer

From the Montreal Gazette, 03 February 1994, "Seniors" page D4 –
The article details the tennis (and other) achievements of (then) 77 year-old John Goman, who was about to represent Canada in a tennis tournament in California, USA. He had previously competed internationally. The article also mentions personal and WW2 details – he was born in Petawawa, Ontario, the son of a Clergyman. He enlisted the RCAF, and married Dorothy during New Year's leave in Canada in 1943. His WW2 service in the RCAF overseas was initially as a Navigator. In England, the RAF was looking for people with German background who spoke German, so John then served in a "special squadron which set up diversionary raids and attempted to interrupt German broadcast to their fighters." [101 Squadron]. Post-war he trained and worked as a Teacher, and gained further tertiary qualifications to continue his career in Education.

Information from an Obituary on the "Erb & Good Family Funeral Home" website, Waterloo, Canada – John, aged 98 years, passed away in Kitchener on 12 March 2015, funeral service on 17 March 2015. His wife Dorothy predeceased him. He was the father of 2, Grandfather of 5, and Great-grandfather of 7, with numerous extended family. After WW2 back in Canada, his career was in education, with life focus on family, tennis, community and church.

Thanks go to David Champion, researcher of 101 Squadron, for sending the newspaper article and Obituary.
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Robert Hofstetter R.217154 RCAF, later Special Duties, Radio Counter Measures at 462 Squadron, Foulsham, previously 101 Squadron.
Photo from Library and Archives, Canada, via David Champion

Above: Robert HOFSTETTER, R.217154 RCAF

 

 

 

Name: Robert HOFSTETTER
Service: Royal Canadian Air Force
Service Number: R.217154

Posted TO 462 Squadron: April 1945, at Rank of Flight Sergeant
Posting FROM 462 Squadron: June 1945 at Rank of Warrant Officer

Photo, and Information below kindly supplied by David Champion, Researcher of 101 Sqdn:-

Robert HOFSTETTER born 19 September 1918, Oxford, Ontario;
Son of Orval and Myrtle (nee Otto) Hofstetter;
Robert married Dorothy Irene KOFFMAN at Toronto 21 March 1942;
Trade: air gunner;
13 October 1944 – Posted from No. 1 "Y" Depot, Halifax, Nova Scotia TO No. 3 PRC, Bournemouth, UK;
9 November 1944 – From No. 3 PRC TO No. 11 Base (1659 HCU);
26 November 1944 – Posted from No. 11 Base to 101 Squadron for duties as ABC Operator for Radio Counter Measures (RCM); 89 hours flying time at No. 101 Squadron; (In 101 Sqdn records as Robert/Bob, also Daniel, also HOFFSTETTER).
23 April 1945 – Posted from 101 Squadron TO 462 Squadron;
27 June 1945
– posted from No. 462 Squadron TO No. 62 Base;
30 November 1945 – Repatriated to Canada
02 May 1992 – Deceased, Scarborough, Ontario, Canada
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Lloyd William Lemke, R287988, RCAF, Special Duties, Radio Counter Measures, 462 Squadron, Foulsham.
Photo from Library and Archives, Canada, via David Champion

Above: Lloyd William LEMKE, R.287988, RCAF

 

Name: Lloyd William LEMKE (with variations)
Service: Royal Canadian Air Force
Service Number: R.287988

Previously served at 101 Squadron as ABC Operator for RCM.

Posted TO 462 Squadron: 23 April 1945
Rank at Arrival: Sergeant
Posting FROM 462 Squadron: June 1945 (in ORB)
Rank at Departure: Flight Sergeant

Also recorded in ORB as LEMPKE

Information and photo from David Champion, Researcher of 101 Sqdn:-
Lloyd William Lemke was known as Bill Lemke;
he was from Morris, Manitoba, Canada;
his previous role was Air Gunner;

Posted FROM 462 Sqdn TO 424 Sqdn on 15 July 1945;
Posted TO 427 Sqdn on 2 Oct 1945; repatriated to Canada late 1945;
he retired from the RCAF in 1947;
he passed away in 1983.

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Name: C COOPER
Service: Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Service Number: 1595367

Posted TO 462 Squadron: April 1945
Rank at Arrival: Sergeant
Posting FROM 462 Squadron: May 1945
Rank at Departure: Sergeant
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Name: Henry O'Connell Jacques VAN GEFFEN
Service: Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Service Number: 1896587 / 199910

Posted TO 462 Squadron: April 1945
Rank at Arrival: Sergeant
Posting FROM 462 Squadron: May 1945
Rank at Departure: Sergeant
Photos below

 

Sgt Henry O'Connell Jacques van Geffen, 1896587 RAFVR 1943, later Officer 199910.
Photo supplied by Colin van Geffen

Sergeant Henry O'Connell Jacques VAN GEFFEN, 1896587 RAFVR 1943 (later 199910).

 

F/O Henry O'Connell Jacques van Geffen, 199910 RAFVR 1946, previously 1896587.
Photo supplied by Colin van Geffen

Flying Officer Henry O'Connell Jacques VAN GEFFEN, 199910 RAFVR 1946, wearing his WW2 Ribbon Bar.

 

Henry O'Connell Jacques VAN GEFFEN – information from 462 Squadron Operational Record Book, London Gazette, and his son Colin van Geffen's family history records.

April 1945 – ORB Form 540, Postings TO 462 Squadron – Sgt H O VAN GEFFER 1896587 (sic, incorrect surname). Based on service information available for two others posted in the same group from 101 Squadron (Hofstetter and Lemke), the date was probably 23 April.

23 April 1945 – Commissioned, to the rank of Pilot Officer, from the rank of Sergeant.

London Gazette, Issue 37269, Tuesday 18 September 1945, page 4626
Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, General Duties Branch – Appointments to Commission as Pilot Officers
Sgt 1896587 Henry O'Connell Jacques VAN GEFFEN (199910) 23 April 1945

April/May 1945 – No record of any Ops at 462 Squadron (see later extract from his personal notes)

May 1945 – ORB Form 540, Postings FROM 462 Squadron – Sgt H VAN GEFFEN 1896589 (sic, incorrect service number).
His Commission and promotion was not published in the London Gazette until September, which is possibly why he was still recorded as Sergeant by 462 Squadron.

September 1945 – Duties at 57 Maintenance Unit (57 MU), RAF Wig Bay, County of Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland, where he received notification of his Commission, and promotion to Pilot Officer back-dated to April 1945.

23 October 1945 – Flying Officer

London Gazette, Issue 37398, Friday 21 December 1945, page 6202
Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, General Duties Branch – Promotions to Flying Officers
H. O'C. J. VAN GEFFEN (199910) 23 October 1945

By 1946 – Service at No 1 Satellite Landing Ground (1 SLG), RAF Slades Farm, Oxfordshire (part of Maintenance Command) where it is believed by family that he served as Adjutant, whilst awaiting demob. He applied for an extension to his RAF service but it was declined – probably due to the surplus of officers at the time (1946) and maybe also because he was about 5 years older than his contemporaries.

Before his posting to 462 Squadron Henry (who preferred to be called Van) had previously served at 101 Squadron as an ABC Operator for RCM. From some RAF files in the family records, the bulk of his operational service was at 101 Squadron, however he never spoke of his RAF war service time to his son. As a Special Operator, he was fluent in German, French and English, so eminently suitable for the role of SDO. Van was subject to the 50 year secrecy clause in the Official Secrets Act (OSA).
As a SDO he was not allowed to keep his Ops Flying Log Book, but he did make a copy. In this he detailed all of his ops with 101 Squadron, and also kept copies of all of 101 Squadron's Battle Orders; but not from later postings.

Van wrote some of his service anecdotes which have been published in ‘Bomber Squadron’ and one of the ‘Lancaster at War’ series of books, as well as 101 Squadron’s own publication.
Following is an extract from Van's personal notes, forwarded by his son Colin, with a comment from Colin:- "Although Dad’s memory of Foulsham does not seem complimentary, I believe it was because he & his colleagues had moved from a highly intensive life at 101 Sqn to a suddenly very sedentary existence at Foulsham to which they seem to have found difficulty in adjusting." [Comment from Editor – he may have been happier at Foulsham if there had not been a 4 month delay in advising him of his Commission and Promotion, which had occurred on or about the same date as the disliked posting – 23 April.]

(Van's notes) .......... “In late March or early April, all of the Special Duty Operators on 101 Squadron were posted at short notice to 100 (R.C.M.) Group, in Norfolk. Of the seven lads who had arrived at Ludford Magna with me the previous September, four were by this time dead. All we had been told was that we were going to Foulsham, where there were already some ABC Operators; no Squadron No. was mentioned, and when we all arrived there we found that there were two Squadrons operating, neither of which showed the slightest interest in our arrival. Neither our presence nor our services appeared to be required – for us, the war was over. We appeared to be 'Surplus to Establishment', and, apart from a two-week refresher course on A.B.C. at nearby Swanton Morley, we spent most of our days in the Mess. The meals there were terrible and seldom eaten, always leaving us hungry and ready for the next one, which would be equally distasteful. With the cessation of hostilities on V-E Day in May 1945, compulsory parades became a regular feature for all air-crew; after attending several of these, three of us were subsequently charged by the Adjutant of the other Squadron with being 'Absent on Parade', but the charge was dismissed; at last somebody was taking an interest in us, and the question of which Squadron we had been posted to was sorted out as a result, by which time we were all past caring, and yearned for "Mudford Magna". We did have one day away from the place we all hated; we procured a crew-bus and drove to Cromer for a day on the beach... but this was marred by tragedy when a Halifax flown by a 'Sprog' crew flew into the cliff face two hundred yards away, and blew up.
It was not until 4th July, some two months after V-E Day, that we became airborne at Foulsham, this was an aerial exercise over Flensburg N. Germany in order to test the German Radar counter-measures, now in the hands of the Allies. Shortly afterwards, we were all told we were going on indefinite leave, and to take all our kit with us as we would not be returning to Foulsham; we would receive further instructions re posting in due course.
I feel certain that there are many who have as many happy memories of Foulsham as I have of Ludford Magna and 101 Squadron; for my part, I was not sorry to leave there.” .......... (end of Van's note)

The two Squadrons in 100 Group at Foulsham were 462 Squadron and 192 Squadron. The Adjutant who charged them would have been from 192 Squadron.
Van's comments regarding Flensburg aerial exercise may refer to "Exercise Post Mortem", in which 462 Squadron participated in early July 1945. According to the ORB, he had already been posted from 462 Squadron sometime in May, but may have been involved at his subsequent posting. However some flights to Flensburg and Schleswig in north-west Germany by crews of 462 Squadron did take place during May, after the War was over. Names of crew members or passengers on these flights were not recorded in the ORB, so information is usually only available from Log Books or Memoirs.
(See Al Oakes page, Britt Crew, Drinkwater Crew, De Leacy page, and Sharp Crew)

Some family history from Colin van Geffen –
There are many variations in the surname, however the correct format is VAN GEFFEN in upper-case, but "van Geffen" in usual lower case format. The origins of his name are – 'Henry' from his Dutch father Henri; and 'O'Connell' from his Anglo-Irish mother Violet Redmond, a descendant of Daniel O’Connell (the Irish Emancipationist). The origin of ‘Jacques’ is not known to his family, but as he did not like that name it was never used, or discussed. ‘Henri’ is the Dutch spelling, the British ‘Henry’ was for official use, but he was known as Van by family, friends and acquantances.
Van passed away on 02 April 2001, and his wife in July 2020. They married on 02 November 1947, so this year would have been their 73rd wedding anniversary.
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Table of Radio Counter Measure (RCM) Ops, by Date and RCM Aircraft Serial Number.

 
Date NA240 MZ308 PN426 NA148 MZ457 PN430 PN423 PN442 PN427
13/03/1945 Cohen (9)                
15/03/1945   Fletcher (9)              
16/03/1945 Pugh (9)                
18/03/1945   Goodwin (9)              
22/03/1945
(early a.m.)
Keehn (9)                
22/03/1945
(late p.m.)
Reinke (9)                
23/03/1945 Eppler (9)                
24/03/1945   Heggarty (9)              
27/03/1945 Hosie (9) Sawatzky (9)              
30/03/1945 Cohen (9)                
04/04/1945 Pugh (8)   Fletcher (8)            
08/04/1945 Goodwin (8)   Keehn (8) Reinke (9)          
09/04/1945         Reinke (8)        
10/04/1945 Heggarty (8)   Eppler (8)   Keehn (8)        
13/04/1945     Hosie (8)           Sawatzky (8)
(error as RG432)
14/04/1945   Fletcher (8) Cohen (8)
(error as MZ426)
  Keehn (8)       Reinke (8)
(error as RG432)
16/04/1945   Geehman (8) Hosie (8)     Sawatzky (8)      
18/04/1945     Pugh (8)            
22/04/1945     Eppler (8)     Sawatzky (8)      
23/04/1945     Hosie (8)            
25/04/1945     Geehman (8)       Pugh (8)    
02/05/1945   Eppler (8)       Fletcher (8) Cleyn (8) Goodwin (8)  
RCM Flights (39)
10
7
10
1
3
3
2
1
2

 

Names are those of the Special Duties Operators (RCM) as detailed in previous section.
(9) = crew of 9 (i.e. the usual 7, plus SDO-RCM, plus SDO-WINDOW)
(8) = crew of 8 (i.e. usual 7, plus SDO-RCM)
Entry in bold red indicates loss of aircraft, and death of SDO.

Note that this Table only records the RCM flights by the listed aircraft.
It does not include Ops where the those aircraft were used for "WINDOW" Ops; or for bombing; or other flights.
It does not include Training flights. e.g. 03/03/45 – Sqdn ORB, Form 540 – "During the afternoon ONE training cross country flight was carried out by P/O A.D.Ball. This flight was also the first training flight for the A.B.C. Special Duty Operators, and the first time that A.B.C. aircraft had flown in this Squadron." Rear Gunner M J Hibberd's Log Book – "Halifax III Z5-S, Pilot F/O Ball, Day cross country training exercise; Flight time 4 hrs 25 minutes". Neither the ORB or the Log Book has the name of the SDO for that training flight.

MZ308 Z5-S was the first RCM aircraft in use by 462 Squadron.
NA240 and MZ308 were the first in use for RCM Ops.
NA240 and PN426 were the most often for RCM Ops (10 each).
13 and 14 April – errors in recording of aircraft in use.

Please refer also to the Halifax page for a photo of NA148 Z5-Z, and a painting of PN426 Z5-O. However neither show the extra aerials fitted to RCM aircraft, so are depicted before conversion to RCM usage.
That page also has details of the 10 Ops for NA240 Z5-V.
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