HAROLD TAUBMAN
460 SQUADRON RAAF

Richard Taubman supplied the following story on his uncle Harold Taubman of 460 Squadron RAAF

 

My uncle, Harold Taubman, who lives in North Sydney, was in 460 Squadron in the early days of the war. He was trained in Canada, as I suppose many were, and flew in Wellingtons (Whimpys) before they converted to the Lancs. Of his flight of 35 men who trained in Canada only 3 survived of which he was one of course, but he was badly wounded over Duisberg "Happy Valley" on 6th Sept 1942 in 'S' Sugar, where as he put it, "a JU 88 was not showing any signs of welcoming hospitality and was in fact acting in a highly unfriendly manner." The crew in "S" Sugar was:- 

Pilot - Peter Jackson
Tail gunner - Jack Stainstreet
Wireless Operator - Dave Lindsay
Navigator - Stewart Wood
Nose Gunner/Bomb-aimer - Harold Taubman

The plane itself was so badly shot up it was considered an impossibility to fly at all, let alone make it all the way home for two hours on one engine, virtually all instruments shot out, at night and in cloud. It was an unbelievable feat of flying by the skipper, Peter Jackson for which he was awarded an immediate D.F.M. They made it just onto the coast of the UK, out of fuel and no hydraulics to get the gear down they made a belly landing and were able to scramble out the hatch over the pilots seat. The mechanics told Harold later they were unable to make use of any of "S" Sugar it was so bad. Peter and Stewart were both to die later in the war flying Mosquitoes in Pathfinders.

Harold was to become one of Archie McIndoe's "Guinea Pigs" and he is still a keen member but all that is another story and full of typical Harold Taubman humour . This is the point I am trying to get to in my long winded way, and the reason for this quick note which is turning into a flaming book, but this can't be helped, there is so much vital history in the stories of 460. The point is the humour that so many of these fellows displayed during these terrible times. It was a great asset for moral I am sure to help keep spirits up. 

One of Harold's many stories I want to tell you about was when they were on a mission over Bremen. They took off at night from an airfield in England, I don't know which plane, it could have been "S" Sugar but for what ever reason the skipper made a blue and flew West instead of East on the compass bearing for 5 minutes before the navigator said they should now be over the Channel. They turned around and headed off but they were now 10 minutes behind the rest of their flight. They ended up heading in over the target by themselves as the rest of the flight was heading home. The enemy guns and search lights were ready for them. They went in at 24,000 ft and were immediately coned by 3 search lights and the only way out was to dive vertically down the light and Harold in the nose, was to shoot it out. With the crew screaming to release pressure in their ears, which often bled from pressure, the lights were taken out and they pulled out at 6,000 ft. They were soon coned again, so down the lights again, and this time after shooting them out they pulled out at 1,500ft. Harold said it was something he would never forget as from the nose he could see people running around on the streets as well as fire trucks and other vehicles and the whole town was ablaze from the attack. They dropped their bombs and somehow managed to stagger back up to 6,000 ft and headed for home. As soon as they were underway and heading for home it was Harold's job to go back in the plane and check the bomb bay for any "hangups" being bombs that failed to release. On doing this he found that half the load of bombs had not released and were still on board, probably from the aerobatics that had been performed. He then got on the intercom and in typical Harold Taubman humour said "Sorry Fellas, we've still got a heap of bombs on board. We'll have to go back and drop the rest!" Basically the whole crew answered "Like -------- hell we're going back drop 'em in the channel!!!!" which they did.

        That is one story from Uncle Harold, I hope it is of interest to some of you.

                            Regards Richard Taubman

 

The following is from John Watson's Crew List showing the crews which flew with F.R. Jackson, including Harold Taubman.

 

J01 Jackson F R - 1942/43 -                                (See G01) 29 Ops
5/9/42 Severe damage by flak and fighter attack.
---------------        (Wellington A/C)
(P2)Isaacson P    -------       Solomans S
(B) Wertzler E    Wertzler E    Keys S R
(N) Neilson R S   Neilson R S   Morant A R
(W) Copley E M    Copley E M    Brander H S
(G) Swain J K     Swain J K     Sutton J T
             4            1             1
            -----------------------------
(B) Nix T         Nix T         Taubman H M * (6/9 Wounded seriously).
(N) Nugent F J    Wood S        Wood S
(W) Keys S R      Jevons C S    Lindsay D J
(G) Daft R        Daft R        Stanistreet J
          5               1              1
              ----------------------------------
                      (Lancaster A/C)
(E) Fox S F       Fox S F       Fox S F      Fox S F         Fox S F
(B) Appleton R A  Appleton R A  Wood S       Ricketts S      Ricketts S
(N) Wood R W      Wood S        Atherton A   Mc Cullagh S M  Morgan R W
(W) Mould R M     Mould R M     Mould R M    Mould R M       Mould R M
(G) Prentice C    Prentice C    Prentice C   Prentice C      Prentice C
(G) Witney R C    Witney R C    Witney R C   Petersen J H    Petersen J
            1            1            1             1              2

 

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This page first produced 26 August 2003

This page last updated 04 February 2015