Halifax DT546 damaged by flak, returned to Melbourne airfield



Halifax DT546 damaged by flak, returned to Melbourne airfield


Records an incident to Squadron Leader Debenham's crew, Ronald Carpenter was the Bomb Aimer, flying 10 Squadron Halifax DT546 on 13/14 October 1942, when the aircraft was damaged by anti-aircraft fire and the flight engineer injured. It includes a brief history of the then crew members. It also contains a copy of the Gazette entry for Ronald's DFM.

Additional information about this item has been kindly provided by the donor.

Temporal Coverage



Three typewritten pages


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MCarpenterRB149832-201102-010001, MCarpenterRB149832-201102-010002, MCarpenterRB149832-201102-010003


Halifax DT546 damaged by flak, returned to Melbourne airfield.
On the night of 13th I 14th October 1942 the crew of this aircraft were tasked with flying an
operational flight to bomb Kiel and left their base of Melboume at 18.44hrs. The released
their bombs from 12,ooOft at 21.23hrs and encountered heavy and accurate flak over. the
target. The flight engineer's compartment was hit and the flight engineer sustained injuries
to his hands, left shoulder and thigh. The crew were able to make a safe retum and landed
at Melboume at oo.48hrs where upon the flight engineer was taken to hospital. The flight
engineer's full identity is not yet known.
Pilot - S/Ldr Archibald lan Scott Debenham RAFVR (70167),
Flight Engineer - S9t A J Wilkinson RAF (962732). Injured.
Second Pilot – P/O James Wilfred Murphy RCAF (J/9664), of Ottawa, Canada.
Navigator – P/O Norman Hugh Walker RAFVR (116419).
Bomb Aimer - Sgt Ronald Bertram Carpenter RAFVR (1291451).
Wireless Operator - PlO Paul Sidney Warren RCAF, mother of Mt. Clemens, Michigan, USA
Air Gunner - Sgt Kenneth John Patterson Holmes RAAF (405736).
Air Gunner - Sgt Victor Gardner RAF (627184), of Harrogate, North Yorkshire.
Archibald Debenham received his commission to the rank of P/O on 16th March 1937. He
was promoted to F/O (on probation) on 3rd September 1940 and to F/Lt on 3rd September
1941 but with seniority of 3rd September 1940. He was posted to 10 Squadron from 102
Squadron in July 1942 and as Acting S/Ldr he was promoted to command B-Flight of 10
Squadron in September 1942. He Mentioned in Despatches on 2nd June 1943 and was
awarded the DFC for service with 10 Squadron Gazetted on 12th November 1943. He
received promotion to S/Ldr (temp) on 1st January 1943 and later to S/Ldr (war subs) on
10th April 1944. He was Mentioned in Despatches again on 1 st January 1945.
James Murphy was made a PoW two days after this flak incident when on the night of
15th/16th October 1942 he was flying as second pilot in Halifax W1058 on Ops to Cologne,
the aircraft appears to have been badly damaged over Germany and the pilot instructed the
crew abandon the aircraft. F/O Murphy was one of five who survived to become PoWs while
the pilot and two others were killed.
James Warren was also posted to 10 Squadron from 102 Squadron in July 1942, the 10
Squadron ORB stated that he was posted to 466 Squadron on 7th November 1942 which
would have been just after it formed at Driffield but the 466 Squadron ORB does not list him
arriving there nor did he fly with them during the first few months after becoming
operational. He was certainly posted to 35 PFF Squadron in 1943. On 4th October 1943 he
was flying on board Halifax HZ148 when it was badly shot up by flak over Germany, the pilot
was able to bring the aircraft back to England but it crashed near Biggin Hill and he was
seriously injured.

[page break]

Norman Walker was also posted from 102 Squadron to 10 Squadron in July 1942. He
received his commission on 4th April 1942 and was promoted to FIO on 4th October 1942.
He was awarded the DFC for service with 10 Squadron while in the rank of Acting SILdr,
Gazetted on 11th February 1944 and was Mentioned in Despatches on 1st January 1945.
He must have been promoted to FlU on 4th April 1944 but the entry in the London Gazette
has not been located. Post-war he remained in the RAF and finally relinquished his
commission on 8th April 1954.

Ronald Carpenter was also posted from 102 Squadron to 10 Squadron in July 1942 and he
was awarded the DFM for service with 10 Squadron, Gazetted on 14th September 1943. He
received his commission on 12th July 1943 to the rank of PlO on probation (149832) and
later received promotion to FIO on 12th January 1944 and FlU on 12th July 1945. He
remained in the RAFVR at least until 1951 when he extended his period of service.
Victor Gardner was also posted to 10 Squadron from 102 Squadron in July 1943. He was
also awarded the DFM for service with 10 Squadron, Gazetted on 10th August 1943. He was
later posted to 156 Squadron and killed on 31st March 1944 flying on board Lancaster
ND466 on Ops to Nurnberg when the aircraft was shot down by a night-fighter and crashed
in Germany. WO Gardner is buried in Berlin War Cemetery and was thirty years old.
Kenneth Holmes was born on 3rd January 1916 in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia .. He was
living and working in Amberley, Queensland when he enlisted for RMF service on 25th May
1941 in Brisbane. On arrival in the UK he completed his training and was posted to 10
Squadron on 2nd August 1942. he briefly served with 77 Squadron from 24th April 1943 but
returned to 10 Squadron on 27th May 1943 until 31st August 1943. He was awarded the
DFM for service with 10 Squadron, Gazetted on 12th November 1943 and the citation
mentions the incident in October 1942 in which Sgt Wilkinson was injured, the citation
reads .. "F/Sgt Holmes has, throughout his tour of operations, displayed a fine fighting spirit
and although he has had many harassing experiences, he eagerness to participate in
operational flying remains undiminished. On several occasions his aircraft has been
damaged by anti-aircraft fire and attacked by enemy night-fighters and on one occasion the
flight engineer was severely wounded. When during an attack on Le Creusot, his aircraft
was attacked by night fighters, F/Sgt Holmes played a large part in the destruction of one of
the hostile aircraft. A skilful air gunner, his cheerful confidence and efficiency have alwats
been highly commendable." He received his commission to the rank of P/O on 6th August
1943 and was later promoted to F/O on 6th February 1944 and F/Lt on 6th August 1945.
After his time with 10 Squadron spent the rest of the war as a gunnery instructor in
Australia. He left the RAAF on 9th January 1946.

CARPENTER Ronald Bertram 1291451 Sergeant No: 10 Squadron
London Gazette-14 September 1943 Sorties: 27, Flying Hours 157, Air Bomber,
Sgt Carpenter was posted to No: 10 Squadron in July 1942 and has now completed
27 sorties, comprising 157 operational hours. He is a member of an outstanding crew
and is a first-class air bomber. On one occasion the aircraft in which he was flying
developed engine trouble over the sea and although flying on three engines, the
target was successfully bombed. His aircraft has been damaged by flak on many
occasions and during an attack on Kiel on 13 October 1942, when the flight
engineer was badly wounded, Sgt Carpenter rendered first aid. He has throughout
his tour shown himself to possess the ideal temperament for operations and his
extraordinary qualities of cheerful confidence has many times proved invaluable
when under fire over the target. His inspiring morale alone made him a very
valuable and appreciated member of his squadron and it would give me very great
pleasure to have him receive a well earned Distinguished Flying Medal.
Remarks by Station Commander:
This NCO has displayed outstanding ability as an air bomber and has inspired great
confidence in the members of his crew he possesses corners and has always shown
exceptional fearlessness in the face of danger. I recommend that his good work be
recognised by the award of the DFM.



“Halifax DT546 damaged by flak, returned to Melbourne airfield,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed April 14, 2024, https://ibccdigitalarchive.lincoln.ac.uk/omeka/collections/document/30950.

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