460 Squadron unofficial history



460 Squadron unofficial history


Produced by 'Registration Research', it uses information from the squadron's operational record books. It records the major operations, gives periodic reviews, lists the changes in Officer Commanding and records events in the Squadron's history.

Temporal Coverage




Two typewritten pages


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MLeavissED1818433-151116-380001, MLeavissED1818433-151116-380002


[underlined] 4d. [/underlined]
[underlined] A Brief History of No. 460 Squadron. Royal Australian Air Force. [/underlined]
“460”, the first squadron of the R.A.A.F. in England to be equipped with four engine bombers, was formed at Molesworth on Nov. 15th, 1941, and commenced “ops” on “Wellingtons”. It moved to Breighton in the spring of 1942 and opened the “Operation Record Book” with an attack on Emden in March. Active service conditions soon became normal routine and they formed part of the force which attacked Gennevillier, the “Gnome-Rhone” aircraft engine factory, on May 29th and took part in the three 1,000 bomber raids in May and June, 1942.
The squadron’s routine was interrupted in the summer of this year for conversion to “Halifaxes” but these were withdrawn and replaced with “Lancs”. Operations then again became the order of the day and in September W/C. A.L.G. Hubbard handed over command to K.W. Kaufman. By the end of the year the list of honours and awards carried the names of seven Officers and nine N.C.O’s.
1943 opened in fine style and Berlin, on which they dropped 8,000 pounders was amongst the targets they visited. In February they flew 270 sorties and dropped 1,000 tons of H.E. and incendiary on targets which included Spezia and Stettin. St. Nazaire and two trips to Berlin were included in the March programme, and Kiel and Mannheim were amongst the targets in April. May brought a special reference to their determination when, on the night of May 25th, they pressed on in spite of adverse weather to bomb the target at Dusseldorf. In June No. 1 Group handed Breighton over to No. 4 Group and “460” brought into use a glider service (Horsa’s) to transport its stores, etc., to their new home at Binbrook. Disaster very nearly overtook the squadron on July 3rd when, as the airmen sat down to tea after preparing 26 “Lancs” for a raid on Cologne, the whole station was rocked by a heavy explosion. The bombload of one of the “Lancs” had been accidentally released and as the "crash” crews dived for their vehicles a second aircraft went up and a third caught fire. As the “erks” poured out of the dining halls W/C. C.E. Martin, who had taken over from J.F. Dilworth, was already on the job, and with the aid of F/S. Kan he fought the fire in the third aircraft from the top of the fuselage. Due to his disregards for personal safety, initiative, and direction of the fire fighting operations, seventeen of the twenty-six “Lancs” took off on time and joined the bomber stream. Turin and Hamburg also figured in the squadrons list of targets in this month and in August they took part in attacks on Mannheim, Nuremburg, Milan and Peenemunde, the latter being a special effort carried out by a force of 597 aircraft which dropped 1,500 tons of H.E. and incendiaries. In the 146 raids which they had now participated in, five were directed against Berlin and sixteen against Hamburg.
Berlin was again attacked by “460’s” aircraft on the night of August 23rd and at the controls of one of the “Lancs” was the Station Commander, G/C. Edwards V.C., with P/O. R.C. Dunstan in the rear turret. P/O. Dunstan, the only A.G. in the R.A.A.F. to be awarded the D.S.O., had already seen active service in the Australian Army. He was badly wounded near Tobruk in January 1941, as a result of which he lost a leg. Invalided out of the Army he managed to re-enlist in the R.A.A.F. as an A.G. and after training was posted to No. 460 in May, 1943, and completed his first tour in November. Operations were pretty frequent in the year 1943.
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[underlined] No. 460 Sqdn. RAAF. [/underlined]
W/C. R.A. Norman, who had completed his first tour on “Whitleys” and “Halifaxes”, took over from W/C. Martin on Sept. 1st and led the squadron on several raids which included Mannheim, Hanover and Bochum. Hanover was as again the target on the night of October 8th and the “Wingco’s” aircraft was so badly damaged that the crew had to hit the silk and he was taken prisoner. The command of the squadron was taken over by H. D. Marsh and as the year drew to a close they took part in the many attacks laid on by Bommber [sic] Command against Berlin.
With a total of over 2,000 sorties completed “460” opened the year 1944 with a record of 619 tons of bombs dropped in the first month, 80 tons more than any other squadron in the “Group”, on targets which included Berlin, Magdeburg and Brunswick. Berlin, attacked six times in January, received further attention from the squadron in February as they went out into the night to live up to their motto – “Strike and Return” -. They had, by this date, taken part in 196 attacks on 52 targets and dropped over 8,600 tons of bombs. The tempo of the attacks increased as Bomber Command began to play its part in preparation for “D” Day and in April, as the aircraft returned from a raid on Cologne on the 20th, the “erks” of “460” waited and watched “G” George make its 90th, and last, landing from “ops”. “George”, “460’s” oldest “Lanc”, arrived on the squadron on October 22nd, 1942, and was flown on on [sic] its first “op” by F/S. Saint-Smith to Mannheim on December 6th. It returned from Kassel on 22/10/43 with slight damage, from Cologne on 16/6/43 with seventeen “flak” holes, but under the care of F/S. H. Tickle it was quickly serviced and back on “ops”. “George is, today, a museum piece in Australia. Mailly and Essen were amongst the many targets attacked in May and in June, on the 6th and 7th, they took part in the attacks on coastal batteries as the invasion got under way. By the end of June they had passed a total of 3,000,000 miles flown on over 3,000 sorties during which 11,000 tons of bombs had been dropped
W/C. Marsh handed over to J.K. Douglas and they took part in the close support bombing attacks to assist the Army and also in the bombing of the “V” sites in the Pas-de-Calais area. In August, in attacks by day and night, they dropped a total of 1,867 bombs and set up a record which was never surpassed. As the last year of the war approached W/C. F.A. Arthur took command and the squadron continued to add its weight to most of the major attacks carried out by Bomber Command in the last few months of the war. Cleve, Dresden and Chemnitz, were entered in many log books and in April, on the 9th, twelve of “460’s” aircraft joined the bomber stream which attacked Kiel and capsized and sank the “Admiral Scheer”.
The war record of No. 460 Squadron, now under W/C. M.G. Cowan, was brought to a close on the morning of April 25th when twenty “Lancs” took part in an attack on Berchtesgaden. They had flown over 5,000 sorties and dropped close on 24,000 tons of bombs.
The main task completed they began to fly food into Holland and fly released P.O.W’s back home, then, having done all that was asked of them, they turned homewards. Thought they left behind forever many of their gallant comreades, they could always point with pride to the squadrons achievements and to its list of “Honours and Awards” which include’s [sic] 8 D.S.O’s, 244 D.F.C’s and 9 Bars, a C.G.M. and over 100 D.F.M’s.
[underlined] Codes and Serials by R. Sturtivant. [/underlined]
Wellington B.3. (1942). UV.T. 2. 1400. UV.F Z1462. Lancaster B.1 and B.3. (1942 to 1945) H.K. 616 AR.D. RE210 AR.E. ND351 AR.F. W4783 AR. G RE191 AR. J NN799 AR. M RA251 AR. S Lancaster B.1/FE and B.7/FE (1945/46) PA275 AR.A. NX605 AR.B NX588 AR.C NX604 AR.D NX606. R.G NX608 AR.H PA301 AR.K NX607 AR.N NX589 AR.T. NX568 AR. U.



Registration Research, “460 Squadron unofficial history,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed December 7, 2023, https://ibccdigitalarchive.lincoln.ac.uk/omeka/collections/document/32274.

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