Title: 467-463 Squadrons R.A.A.F.

Author: Blundell, H M (Nobby)

Condition: Very Good +

Edition: 1st Edition

Publication Date: 1995

ISBN: 0646149911

Cover: Hard Cover with Dust Jacket  – 190 pages

Comments: The history of No. 463 and 467 Squadrons RAAF during World War II.

No. 463 Squadron, Royal Australian Air Force was formed from C Flight of 467 Squadron RAAF at Waddington in the United Kingdom on 25 November 1943, in accordance with Article XV of the Empire Air Training Scheme. Like 467 Squadron, 463 was equipped with Lancaster heavy bombers and formed part of 5 Group of RAF Bomber Command. Its first commanding officer was Wing Commander Rollo Kingsford-Smith, the nephew of the famous Australian aviator Sir Charles Kingsford-Smith.

The squadron began operations the night after its formation with an attack on Berlin. Night raids on Germany became a focus of the squadron’s activities and it was heavily engaged during the battles of Berlin and the Ruhr. It also took part in numerous raids on the sites used to assemble and launch V1 flying bombs and V2 rockets against Britain.

Prior to the Allied invasion of occupied Europe, the emphasis of Bomber Command’s operations switched to military targets in and around Normandy. On D-Day, 6 June 1944, 467 Squadron attacked the German artillery batteries on Pointe du Hoc, which covered “Omaha” beach, but with little success. Raids in support of the ground campaign continued throughout June and into July, with an increasing number being conducted in daylight – but the focus of Bomber Command’s operations progressively returned to the strategic bombing campaign against Germany. 463 Squadron also operated three specially-modified Lancasters for the RAF film unit which were used to record bombing raids and their results. One of these aircraft took part in the attack on the German battleship Tirpitz on 15 September 1944.463 Squadron continued to mount raids against Germany until the war’s end. The declining effectiveness of the German defences meant that by this time some raids, even against major German cities, such as Hamburg on 9 April 1945, were being flown in daylight. During this raid the squadron had its first encounter with German jet fighters. The squadron flew its last raid on the night of ANZAC Day 1945.

In 17 months of operations, 463 Squadron flew 2,525 sorties, dropped 11,430 tons of bombs, and its gunners destroyed six enemy aircraft. As was the case throughout Bomber Command, these results came at considerable cost – the squadron lost 546 aircrew, 225 of whom were Australian, and 78 aircraft. In proportion to its size – 463 Squadron operated throughout the war with only two flights instead of the usual three – it sustained the highest loss rate of any of the Australian bomber squadrons.

The squadron had begun ferrying liberated Allied prisoners of war to Britain even before the war ended, and it continued in this role after the cessation of hostilities. It relocated to Skellingthorpe on 3 July 1945 and was one of the squadrons identified to form part of “Tiger Force”, Bomber Command’s intended contribution to the strategic bombing of Japan. The war in the Pacific ended before the force could be deployed and 463 Squadron disbanded on 25 September 1945.

No. 467 Squadron, Royal Australian Air Force was formed at Scampton in the United Kingdom on 7 November 1942. Although intended as an Australian squadron under Article XV of the Empire Air Training Scheme, the majority of its personnel were originally British. The replacement of these men with Australians was a gradual process and it was only towards the end of the war that the squadron gained a dominant Australian character.

The squadron relocated to Bottesford on 23 November 1942 and commenced operations on 2 January 1943. A year later it moved to Waddington, which remained the squadron’s home until the end of the war. Equipped with Avro Lancaster heavy bombers, and forming part of 5 Group, RAF Bomber Command, the squadron’s operational focus for much of the war was the strategic bombing offensive against Germany. Bombing almost entirely by night, it participated in all of the major campaigns of the offensive including the battles of the Ruhr, Berlin and Hamburg. In addition to Germany, the squadron also attacked targets in France, Italy, Norway and Czechoslovakia. On 20 June 1943, 467 was the first Bomber Command squadron to participate in the “shuttle service” where aircraft would leave the United Kingdom, bomb a European target, and then fly on to an airfield in North Africa. There they would refuel and rearm and then bomb another target on their return flight to Britain. The German port of Friederichshafen was the outbound target, and the Italian port of Spezia the inbound one.

In addition to the strategic bombing offensive, 467 Squadron was also employed in support of ground operations prior to, and during the D-Day landings, during the drive out of the Normandy beachhead in mid-1944, and during the crossing of the Rhine in March 1945. The squadron also participated in the offensive to remove the threat posed by Germany’s terror weapons and participated in raids on the weapons research facility at Peenemünde, and on V1 flying bomb and V2 rocket assembly and launch sites in France.

467 Squadron’s last bombing raid of the war was an attack on the oil refinery and tankerage at Vallo in Norway. Even before the cessation of hostilities, the squadron was employed to ferry liberated Allied prisoners of war from Europe to Britain and it continued in this role after VE Day. The squadron was one of several identified to form “Tiger Force”, Bomber Command’s contribution to the strategic bombing campaign against Japan. It relocated to Metheringham to prepare for this role, but the war against Japan ended before “Tiger Force” was deployed. 467 Squadron disbanded on 30 September 1945.

Between January 1942 and April 1945, 467 Squadron flew 3,833 sorties and dropped 17,578 tons of bombs. It suffered heavily in the course of its operations – 760 personnel were killed, of whom 284 were Australian, and 118 aircraft were lost.

Numbered Limited Edition and a small print run. This is copy No 302.

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