Crew Listing

Crew Listing – 460 squadron – by John Watson (–1mb, Microsoft Word .DOC format)    

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Foreword By S/Ldr R B Osborn, DSO DFC

No one who flew as aircrew in RAF Bomber Command during the Second World War could possibly have been unaware of the ground crew who looked after the plane that he flew in – "their" plane they used to consider it to be because, if anything, they took even more pride in "their" plane than did the aircrew who normally flew in it, despite the fact that the aircrew always considered the plane they normally flew in to be the best plane in the flight. But as for those devoted ground crew…they always seemed to be out there, be it dawn or dusk, rain or shine, whenever we aircrew "went out at dispersal". No doubt the compelling requirements of RAF Form 500 required this constant attention from the ground crew to the plane, but they always seemed to put more than just the minimum into their duties. We aircrew soon learned that we could rely on the ground crew to keep us flying without mishap.

Flight Lieutenant R.D. Osborn, DFC, an Australian serving in the RAF was posted to take command of "A" Flight, on the 15th May, 1942.

"It aroused considerable emotion in me recently when I was invited to write the foreword to this remarkable labour of devotion by a one–time member of the ground crew. This volume has been completed by Sergeant John Watson, a one–time member of ground–crew (not of aircrew), who was a Fitter 11e in A flight, 460 Squadron (RAAF), from mid 1942 to the end of 1944 – his unexpected role is therefore as remarkable as it is meritorious. As a result of his labours, John has been able to identify every single flight on operations made by every single member of aircrew in the Squadron – an invaluable reference book for any future historian.

John's information is most carefully arranged and cross–indexed, so that it is easy to identify each member of aircrew, be he pilot or wireless operator, navigator or rear gunner, and to follow his entire operational flying career in the squadron. I have put the book to the acid test: I have traced my own flying career in the squadron, from May 1942 until we were shot down over Holland in January 1943, without any mistake. John's book confirms exactly the details of the crew and the flight that we had made together as I had entered them into my own pilot's log book the morning after each operational sortie".

A raid on Düsseldorf, on 23rd January, 1943, when the squadron dispatched 11 aircraft out of a total of 83 was unfortunate for the very popular Squadron Leader Osborn "A" Flight Commander, and his crew, who were attacked by two Ju–88s over the Zuider Zee and shot down. Squadron Leader Osborn had undertaken as many of the more difficult operations as possible, and had been awarded the DSO, just before being shot down. During his final battle he had been seriously wounded, and he was eventually repatriated from Germany before the end of the war as he was considered of no further use to the allied cause.

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