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Subject:     Francis Randall
Date:              Tue, 22 Jun 1999 22:18:59 -0400
From:             Brian Thompson <>

Mr. Dunn

I have been asked by the sister of Francis Archibald Randall, a flying officer with the RAAF who died in action over England, for information on his burial site in England. I hope you might be able to provide information or suggest other sources of information.

Mr. Randall was born 15/6/22 and was killed on Dec. 16/43. He was awarded the DFC.

I do not have much more information on Mr. Randall except that he was trained in the RCAF facilities in Winnipeg, Edmonton and Calgary and was a member of the Caterpillar Club and flew in a Lancaster.

His sister would like to visit his grave when she visits England in a few weeks and thinks that it is in or near Cambridge.

Thank you for any information you can provide.

Brian Thompson
Toronto, Ontario,


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Subject:      further info re Francis Randall
Date:               Tue, 22 Jun 1999 23:29:16 -0400
From:             Brian Thompson <>

Mr. Dunn

Further to my earlier email - the following site

indicates F-O Randall Francis Archibald # 413896 was a member of 460 squadron, RAAF and the date of award of DFC was 23 Nov 1943.

Thank you again for any information

Brian Thompson
Toronto, Ontario,


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Subject:     Re: further info re Francis Randall
Date:              Wed, 23 Jun 1999 22:53:29 -0400
From:            Brian Thompson <>

Hello Peter

Thank you for looking into the historical records over the net - by chance I bumped into the site you refer to after my first email and through that to a Mr. Rob Davis ( in the UK who located much information about my 2nd cousin's last flight which went down on the way home from Berlin. All seven were lost and are buried in Cambridgeshire Cemetery. Their average age was 23.

Thank you again for your response - it's a testament to the power of the internet, but more so to people's kindness, that within half a day this important information travelled across the oceans and will help to bring a sister closer to the memory of her brother.

All the best



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NOTE:- I received a phone call from Max and Nell Johnson, of Roma, Queensland, on 3 August 1999. They had not long returned from their overseas holiday to Canada and United Kingdom where they visited the grave of Francis Randall at Cambridgeshire. I was able to tell them more about Francis Randall as he was mentioned on pages 108-110 and 118 and 122 of the book Strike and Return. He had been shot down once on 3 September 1943. He was rescued and eventually returned to the Squadron.

By Peter Firkins

Page 109
Of the crews shot down, Flying Officer Randall gave a vivid account of his crew's experiences on this raid when he said: "Having dropped our bombs we were coned by searchlights, hit by flak, and attacked by three fighters. I gave orders to prepare to abandon the aircraft, and the bomb aimer either jumped or fell out. I am certain that he had his parachute on. I regained control and the crew resumed normal positions. I made for Sweden with the aircraft very badly damaged. This was at about midnight. As I expected all engines to fail within a few minutes, I ordered three of the crew to bale out. I ordered the next two to bale out a few minutes later so as to disperse the crew. I had instructed them, if they should land in Sweden, to destroy their kit, make for the coast, and give themselves up as escapers from Denmark. I jumped about one minute after the last two of my crew.

"I landed in the water east of Helsingborg, on the Danish side of the Sound, shortly after midnight 3rd04th September. I disengaged my parachute, inflated my mae west, and started to swim towards the lights of Helsingborg, but drifted southwards. About half an hour later I saw the lights of a boat and shouted. About 15 minutes later I was picked up. After a short time we picked up Sgt. Bell,my mid-upper gunner. The boat was a small coastal vessel with a crew of about four, trading concrete between Denmark and the island of Hven. We were landed at Hven and handed over to a Swedish Army escort at about 0700 hours on 4th September. The escort took us across the island, and we were taken by naval cutter to Landskrona where we were interrogated by a Swedish naval officer about British planes flying over Sweden on the previous night. They also asked us if we had laid mines in Swedish waters. We denied this and said that we had definite orders not to fly over Sweden.

"Sgt. Bell was taken to hospital with an injured neck, and I was taken to the citadel. Here I was given a bedroom, but kept under guard. At about 1900 hours the British Consul from Helsingborg arrived with Lieutenant Jakobi, of the Swedish Air Force. The Consul put me through a questionnaire, and then left me with Jakobi who stayed for a couple of hours. He visited me again on the following two days, being very insistent on asking questions and I formed the impression that he was not entirely 'above board'.

"On September 6th we were taken to the internment camp at Falun where I remained till 29th September, when I was brought back to Stockholm and flown back to England by the secret courier service."

A month after being shot down he was back on the squadron again, crewed up with a new crew, and fully operational once more.

Randall and all his crew were killed on 16 December 1943 after crashing in the UK after being badly hit during a raid on Berlin. They lost the drome in bad fog and crashed near Binbrook. Amongst those killed in this crash were:-

Flight Sergeant Bill K. Halstead (Navigator)
Sgt. Reg A. Moynagh (Rear gunner)
Sgt. J. McKenzie (Engineer, known as "Mad Mac")

They had been part of the regular crew for my father-in-law, Jan "John" Goulevitch, DFC.

Bill Halstead was John's regular navigator. Bill Halstead's father was the manager of the State Government Insurance Office in Townsville.

They are all buried at Cambridge Cemetery, UK.  John Goulevitch also visited these same graves in Cambridge in 1993.

By Peter Firkins

Page 122
Flying Officer F.A. Randall, it will be remembered, was badly shot up over Berlin in the attack of 3rd September and flew his crippled Lancaster towards Sweden baling his crew out along the way. He subsequently rejoined the squadron and continued his operational tour, but on returning to base this night (16 Dec 1943) he circled for over three-quarters of an hour awaiting an opportunity to land, on one occasion coming down so low he hit a tree. At 2348 he called up the control at Binbrook to say he could not see the aerodrome and that he was firing off Very cartridges. This was the last message received from him, and a short while later he crashed on to an ammunition dump at Market Stanton, killing the whole crew.


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Subject:    F/O Francis Randall DFC
Date:             Mon, 16 Aug 1999 20:35:46 +0100
From:           Euan Taylor <>



I read your e-mail regarding F/O Randall on Peter Dunn's website. Just in case you haven't found out already, the Commonwealth War Graves Commission have a site ( which holds the following commemoration:


Flying Officer
Royal Australian Air Force
who died on
Thursday, 16th December 1943. Age 21.

Additional Information:    Son of Francis George and Agnes Mell Randall, of Forrest Lodge, New South Wales, Australia. B.Sc., (Sydney). Bronze Life Saving Medal.

Cemetery:       CAMBRIDGE CITY CEMETERY, Cambridgeshire, United Kingdom

Grave Reference/Panel Number:    Grave 13916.

Historical Information:  This cemetery, formerly known as Cambridge Borough Cemetery, was opened in 1903 and covers 25 acres of land. The cemetery contains war graves of both world wars. The 1914-1918 War burials number nearly 200 and are mostly in two war plots, one in the southern part of the burial ground, known as the Dominion Plot, and the other on the northern boundary. On the western border of the Dominion Plot stands the Cross of Sacrifice, while in the centre of the other is a memorial cross of Portland stone which was erected by private subscription. The 1939-1945 War graves, too, are mainly in two War Graves Plots, but there are 57 graves scattered in other parts of the cemetery. These plots comprise a Service plot established in 1940 and an Air Force plot set aside by the Corporation in 1942 to accommodate casualties from the Air Force stations set up in Eastern Counties during the war. These included Bomber Command bases in Lincolnshire and Fighter Stations in Norfolk and Suffolk. The Air Force plot, of level mown turf, is surrounded by a yew hedge and in the spring daffodils cover the headstone borders, whilst red polyantha roses bloom throughout the rest of the year. The Stone of Remembrance, bearing the words "Their Name Liveth for Evermore", taken from the Book of Ecclesiasticus, which was unveiled by Marshal of the Royal Air Force Lord Tedder in July 1951, stands near the centre of the plot on a lawn flanked by trees of flowering cherry and silver birch. The other plot containing the 1939-1945 War burials is considerably smaller, the graves being in level lawns with headstone flower borders.


Euan Taylor


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