About

Born in Townsville. Went to primary school Townsville and completed my high schooling at Toowoomba Grammar School. Joined the Commonwealth Bank of Australia in 1941. Volunteered for the RAAF in June 1942. Returned from the war in January 1946 where I was awarded the DFC. Married an English girl Anne Brooke-Wright in February 1947 who I had met on the 460 squadron base. I have 6 children, 23 grandchildren and 7 surviving great-grandchildren. I retired from CBA in 1980 but worked as business manager for AOG College until 1987. I joined the Gideon’s in 1964 and was the Australian President 1976-78. I helped found the AOG church in Coopers Plains in 1957 and was the Parklands Christian College business manager for 6 years finishing in 2007. I am now writing my memoirs.

Reflections on a journey from school yard games to piloting the Lancaster bombers of 460 squadron over Europe during WWII (1943-45)
It is a common theme amongst us World War II war veterans, to imbibe the adage that “The older I get … the braver I was”. This series of reflections that I have prepared is not intended to give credence to that adage, but rather to simply give my account of a unique time in European and Australian history where a squadron of volunteer Australian air-force personal were recruited, trained and shipped to England to assist the then British Empire in its struggle with Nazi Germany.

Sadly, of the few thousand aircrew that were to serve on 460 Squadron, 1,018 of them lost their lives including 589 of my fellow countrymen. It is my hope that this series keeps alive in some small way the memory of those young men and their supreme sacrifice that was made in the service of their country. Here is my story ….

Introduction 460 Squadron

“Strike and Return”
This photo, which is only part of a larger one compassing the whole squadron, was taken in Lincolnshire, England in early December 1944. It is a group portrait of air and ground crew members of Lancaster No. 460 Squadron RAAF operating from RAF Station Binbrook.
Group Captain Parsons, the Station Commander, is in the centre front row (gloveless, holding a pipe). On either side of him are Wing Commander(Wing Cdr) J. Clarke DFC AFC, of Sydney, NSW (left), the CO of the Squadron, and Sqn Ldr J. R. Henderson DFC, of Mosman, NSW, Flight Commander of ‘B’ Flight.
I am centre right of the photo wearing a flying officers cap (just under the right wing propeller) and my crew members are to the left and right of me on the same row. This photo is in the public domain.


17 Responses to About

  1. Sarah says:

    Hi, I wonder if you would be so kind as to send me an email. I have just come across your site/blog whilst doing some research for a short story and I would be interested in talking to you. I am currently working for a company on the old RAF base at Binbrook in one of the old hangars and I have been looking into the history of the place. I would love your permission to use some of your experiences and stories as background for my (fictional) story. I also have some up to date pictures of the site as it is now if you would be interested. Many thanks and thank you for sharing your story and pictures. Email Sarah on sjg1973@aol.com

  2. Mkichael Stonehewer says:

    Hello
    I am rearching my family history & currently trying to find out more about my cousin – Seargeant Air Gunner Wilfrd George Potter KIA 02/02/1945 (RAF but membeer of 460 RAAF Squadron – I wonder if you have any record of him. I am an es RAF pilot poat WWII.
    Best regards
    Michael Stonehewer

    • I will ask my dad to see what he can find out from his records. Peter (son)

    • Here is what my dad said:
      “I have spent time trying to find out what the ‘460 Squadron Pilots and Crews’ Record has to say concerning this man. The ‘Musterings and Crews’ Record reports that he flew for 25 ops and was killed on 2/2/45. But then when I try to find the crews that he flew with, I can find only one an ‘H.Hendrick, who had his ‘second Dicky’ on 12/8/44, I had mine on 26/8/44, and W.G.Potter flew only one trip with him, as a Mid-Upper Gunner. I cannot find the details of the other 24 ops. Did he fly them on 460?
      As for the trips flown on 2/2/45, they were flown after I had finished my ops on 27/12/44. and might have been WIESBADEN (495 Lancasters (including 1 Group) and 3 of them crashed in France; WANNE-Eickel 323 (277 Halifaxes, 27 Lancasters, 19 Mosquitoes) (no 1 Group) 4 Halifaxes lost; KARLSRUHE (250 Lancasters,11 Mosquitoes (14 Lancasters lost; 189 Squadron from Fulbrck, lost 4 of its 19 aircraft on the raid).
      This detail came from ‘The Bomber Command War Diaries’ and all 2/2/45 losses must have come from one of these. It is unlikely that a Mid-Upper gunner from 460 Squadron would be a sole casualty from any one of these losses.”

      • Michael Stonehewer says:

        Hello Peter

        Please than your father for all his help – I do appreciate it.

        As it happens, my cousin was buried at Durnbach War Cemetery which is some 10 miles or so south of Munich. As this quite some distance south of the sites mentioned by your father it seems likely that he was flying with a different squadron that day, or just that is where they flew to – south with a damaged aircraft for? – perhaps we will never know!

        With kind regards and thanks again

        Michael

      • Other comments from my dad
        “I have spent time this morning to do some further research. As well as being a a member of the ‘H.Hendrick’ crew Potter was also a member of a crew on 460 piloted by ‘J.Maguire’. This plane was lost on 2/2/45 and all crew members, except the Bomb Aimer ‘ R.H.Whiticar ‘ who became a prisoner of war, were killed. The crew were J Maguire (P), R.B.Newton (E), N.W.Everett (N), D.B.May ( W ), W.G.Potter (G), D.G.Russell (G), R.H.Whiticar (B). Of these, Newton,Potter, Russell, were listed as being killed on 2/2/45 and Everett,Maguire and May were listed as being killed on 3/2/45. The total ops flown by ‘ W.G.Potter is recorded as 25.I hope this is of value.”

      • Michael Stonehewer says:

        Hello Peter

        I thank you for your research & thank you for the details.

        Should I find out any more I will let you know.

        My thanks again to you & your father – it is much appreciated.

        Kind regards

        Michael

  3. Michael Stonehewer says:

    Hello Peter

    Many thanks for your help! – I have also just been reading the book ‘Journeys End’ by Kevin Wilson – in which 460 Squadron is mentioned several times plus some names – has your father read this book by any chance? (Out of interest, I believe the author lives not far from us). Do let me know if your father would like a copy & / or details of personalities from 460 RAAF squadron mentioned in it.
    Thanks again – kind regards
    Michael Stonehewer (My mother nee Potter & sister to Wilfrd Potter’s father, so Wilfred my cousin).

  4. Thorsten Wuebber says:

    Hello, I´m working on a book and Film documentry about the Berlin raid in the night 2./3. December 1943 and the Stories of the 5 War Correspondents on board.

    The australian Journalist Norman Stockton and the norwegian correspondent Nordahl Grieg were flying with the 460. Squadron RAAF from Binbrook and came never back.

    I´m interested in the daily live in Binbrook and the impressions on a Berlin Ops.

    I tried to find the relatives of the Mitchell Crew LM316 and found only the family Mitchell and Phelan, if you have any idea, it would be wonderful.

    I found one of the last german Nightfighter pilots of this raid and made an interview with him, it would be the last missing peace for the documentry to find one of the last 460. survivors of this night. Is Norman Leslie Ginn still alive?

    Thank you for sharing this insight with the younger generation for remembrance.

    Thorsten
    Berlin/Germany

  5. Renee says:

    My grAnd father worked at the raaf townville I believe around 1950-1060’s
    He was squadron leader #10
    His name wilfred earnest storm
    Any heard of him?

  6. David Lackner says:

    Hi Peter,

    I’m researching the WW2 history of Reg Barrington. Reg was at 460 SQN July – Nov 44, arriving just before your father. Looks like Reg did two dickie trips, one with Hughie Edwards and one with JC Holmes (who I assume was a Flight Commander given that he did not seem to have a permanent crew). Any info or recollections would be appreciated. Email me at davlackner@hotmail.com

    In anticipation, thanks.

    David Lackner

  7. John Bartle says:

    Hi, my mother was engaged to Ray Cole who was the navigator of the 460 SQN Lancaster LM316 that was lost on a raid to Berlin on the 02 Dec 1943. This was the aircraft that had the Norwegian poet and journalist Nordahl Grieg on board as a passenger. She donated his flight log to the RAAF museum several years ago.

    John Bartle

    • thorsten Wübber says:

      Hello Mr. Bartle, I have only a picture of Raymond Cole, have you more information about him and his Family? thanks

  8. John Bartle says:

    Hi Thorsten,
    Ray was an only child and his parents Aurthur and Mattie Cole died in the early 1960’s. Is it possible to get a digital copy of the picture?

    Regards
    John Bartle

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