|visits since 2 March 2004|
I received the following letter from Elva Dimsey on 17 November 1998:-
DATE: 15 November 1998
RE: 460 Squadron
I have recently visited your web page on 460 Squadron, RAAF, and I thought you might be interested to know that my brother, Flight Sergeant Ronald GOODING, flew in "G" for George with this squadron several times, until he was killed on the night of 4th April, 1943, on a mission over Kiel, Germany.
I was in England at the beginning of last year, and whilst there came across a book in one of the libraries called "Bomber Command Losses". In this book it said that a plane from 460 Squadron - W4310 - UV Bar - took off from Breighton at 2052 hrs. on 4th April, 1943, to Kiel. This plane was hit by Kriegsmarine flak and crashed at 2325 hrs. near Bordesholm, midway between Neumunster and Kiel, where all crew are buried in the War Cemetery -
|F/O K. Moore, DFC||RAAF|
|Sgt. H. Lloyd||RAF|
|F/O B.K. Rust||RAAF|
|F/Sgt. J.G. Lee||RAAF|
|F/Sgt. R. Gooding||RAAF|
|F/Sgt. W.B. Ranclaud||RAAF|
|F/Sgt. R.F. Cooksey||RAF|
I have been to Germany and visited the War Cemetery at Kiel where these men are buried, and I have photos of this cemetery if you are interested.
I also have a copy of the book "Strike and Return" written by Peter C. Firkins, but I assume that you have already seen this.
I also have my brother's log book from which it would seem that my brother flew in "G" for George at least 8 times between 26 February 1943 and 27 March 1943.
I hope all this is of some interest to you.
If you wish to reply to me, my e-mail address is:-
I received another letter from Elva on 26 November 1998 as follows:-
DATE: 23 November 1998
RE: 460 Squadron
Herewith the photos regarding my brother and 460 Squadron.
---- One newspaper cutting from Brisbane Sunday Mail dated 25th May, 1996.
---- Two copies of newspaper cuttings from my mother's scrapbook
- one regarding a raid on Kiel Navy Yards.
- one called "G for George Signs Off"
---- One photograph of my brother in full flying kit
---- One photograph of 460 Squadron taken probably late 1942 or early 1943 (my brother died in April, 1943)
Four long coloured photographs of Kiel War Cemetery. ---- One War Graves Commission photograph of my brother's grave.
There were only 36 Australians in this cemetery, 148 Canadian, 6 Polish, 33 New Zealanders, 768 British. It is a very beautiful and peaceful spot, as you can see from the photographs, and maintained in excellent order as all War Graves Cemeteries are.
It would please me a great deal if you were able to use any of this material.
Date: Thu, 18 Feb 1999 07:14:08 +1000
From: "E Dimsey" <email@example.com>
I would like to congratulate you on the additions to your web page for 'G for George'. The big photo of the squadron which I sent you - and which I have never been able to see properly - came up wonderfully well with whatever you did to it. My son tells me it was probably digital intensifying, and for the first time I was able to identify my brother accurately.
I am sure you will be interested to know that I have been contacted by a man named Mike NELMES who works at the War Memorial in Canberra. He tells me that he has written a manuscript for a book on the history of 'G for George', and asked permission to use some of the photos which appear on your web page, to include in this manuscript. He also wants copies of my brother's log book, and any information I can give him of recollections of Ron's time with 'G for George' before he was killed. I realise that he may have contacted you about this already. (Yes - he has - Peter) It is interesting to me how information on the Internet gets spread around.
I hope that 1999 is proving to be a good year for you and your family.
Supplement to THE ARGUS
"G" for George Signs Off
Personal Story of a War-worn Lancaster That Has
By a Special Correspondent
THIS IS THE STORY of the famous British Lancaster bomber G for George, veteran of 90 operational flights over enemy territory. and who (please note the personal pronoun, for George - as his crews will tell you - is very much a person) has been touring Australia to persuade people to buy more bonds in the Third Victory War Loan.
Many records have been kept of G for George's career. There is one in the archives of the Air Ministry - very official - and one - very personal - in the pocket-book of Flight-Sgt Tickle, mechanical nurse of the bomber since it was commissioned in 1942. Between these there is a veritable library of log-books giving G. George's life story, but who is more suited to tell it than G. George himself?
This is the story of G for George, told as only an old bomber can tell it - cryptic phrases drawing shadow pictures of night raids over Germany, of the sky ablaze with tearing flak, of the swift menace of fighters, of destruction and the loneliness of death.
Yet through it the camaraderie of the air, the dogged determination of crews working in perfect unison, their lives the spirit of youth with its frivolity in the face of death and its willingness to sacrifice life so that the British Empire may live in freedom, honour, and security.
DIARY OF "G" GEORGE
SEPTEMBER 5, 1944: An aerodrome in England.
I have a new name. Of course, I am still G for George - I'll always be that to the boys - but officially I am called A66-2. This is because I am now an Australian citizen, and we are due to leave England for the Antipodes next week.
I came into being two and a half years ago. Production of the thousands of parts which go into the construction of a bomber as big and complicated as I am had been going on all over the country for many months. Then they had to be despatched to the assembly plant - wings from here, petrol tanks from there, nuts and bolts from a garage geared for manufacturing, hydraulic systems from a plant specialising in their intricacies, tyres from a rubber factory, crystalline perspex from a glassmaker's - they all come rolling in by road and rail, and sometimes even floating down the canal waterways through the English countryside. Then at this great parent factory each part is fitted or riveted into its appropriate place. So at last a bomber is born.
I was known as W4783, and under that name I left my dispersal point home, nicely shaded and hidden by trees on the big Midlands factory aerodrome, to be flown off to join my squadron. I was ferried half across England by an Air Transport Auxiliary pilot who had only flown one Lancaster before, but he treated me gently and efficiently, so I responded, behaving myself admirably.
I say "my" squadron because I have been with it for so long now that I take a proprietary interest. It is the famous No. 460 Squadron, commanded by Group-Captain Hughie Edwards, VC, DSO, DFC, who is another Australian.
But turn back the pages and read for yourself of the events which led to my being chosen to go to Australia.
OCTOBER 22, 1942: Today I arrive at X aerodrome to join my squadron. I use the mystic symbol so that in the unlikely event of my being shot down over enemy territory I shall not disclose secret information.
X is a fine base from which to operate, the runaways are broad and smooth and of ample length. With a heavy bomb load up it is good to have plenty of room for an easy take-off. I am satisfied with my new home, also with my new masters. My pilot, Flight-Sgt Saint-Smith, and all his crew are Australians, and seem a wizard crowd. He and my personal attendant, Flight-Sgt Harry Tickle, were down at dispersal this afternoon giving me the once over.
Tomorrow work starts in earnest to train me up to fighting trim for our first ops trip. The squadron has converted from Manchesters, so we Lancs have a fine record to live up to - but we'll show the Jerry how to lay eggs.
DECEMBER 6, 1942: Back from first operational flight. We bombed Mannheim. Flight-Sgt Saint-Smith painted a little figure with a halo on his head on my fuselage also my first bomb showing one ops trip. There will be many more. Harry Tickle said I did "o'right for a new chum."
MARCH 14, 1943: Nothing of interest to report. The usual missions, bags of flak, but we were spot on the target, and the result was better than Guy Fawkes night. I miss the "Saint" now that he has left the squadron, but his 13 little images are safe in my keeping.
JUNE 16, 1943: Back from Cologne with flak holes - 17 of them - in my wings, tailplane. fuselage, and midupper turret. Propellers and under-carriage caught it too. More work for Harry, but he will have me right in no time.
AUGUST 31, 1943: After all Harry's work patching me up, some silly blighter up above dropped incendiaries through my tail, I'm not averse from a little flak coming up, but incendiaries coming down are a little unnecessary. Pilot-Officer Carter thought so, too.
SEPTEMBER 6, 1943: Fuel feed-pipe cut on starboard outer engine tonight. Homing boost on the other three engines all the way back from the target - but home we came. That is the best of having Merlin engines - if one fades the others take over.
OCTOBER 22, 1943: My first anniversary with the squadron and my 67th ops trip. Went to Kassel with Flight-Sgt Watson, who balls from Clarence River, NSW, where he says "the weather was never like this." The elements were all against us tonight. There were electrical storms the whole way, lightning and balls of flame all round us, and St Elmo's fire licking every airscrew.
They iced up once, and I shook it off, but a great lump shattered the perspex and whizzed into the cockpit. It hit the engineer on the head, but only bruised him. I'm stiff in every longeron tonight.
DECEMBER 16, 1943: A hot trip to Berlin collected a large hole in the fuselage. One impudent fighter came in close, read the letter "G" and left hurriedly. Harry and I have worked hard to set an example of hard work and reliability, and it seems now we are quite well known, even outside the station and the Air Force. Some workers in the South of England who make small aeroplane parts have asked for our photograph to hang on the wall of their factory.
DECEMBER 23, 1943: Back from my 19th trip with Pilot-Officer Carter. These Australian crews are good.
JANUARY 29, 1944: Another trip to Berlin. We were first away, but dillydallied over the target - the bomb aimer wasn't satisfied with the first run-up, so we did it again. The others beat us home. Harry was hopping with impatience, but all the best people arrive late.
APRIL 20, 1944: Tonight was my last operational sortie. Went to Cologne with Flying-Officer J. A. Critchley, who comes from Melbourne, and on this, my 90th mission, I was pleased to have yet another Australian crew. I've now had 29 Aussie crews, and could not have wanted any better. Harry Tickle is proud of me, and I am proud to have had his careful attention throughout my long tour.
I am what they call a veteran now - an oldtimer. But the war isn't over for all we've plastered Jerry. Sixteen trips to Berlin, five to Hanover and Essen, four to Cologne and Mannheim and Frankfurt - and the rest. It's been tough going at times, but I'm not done yet. Even if I am to be retired from ops - perhaps there is some other way I can help.
OCTOBER 12, 1944: After this long flight across the Atlantic, first to land in Canada; over the rich eastern states, the towering mountains, and rolling prairies of America to the Pacific seaboard; then through dirty weather across thousands of miles of water, at last I have come to Australia. I have always liked my Aussie crews, and I think their country is fine. too.
MARCH 13, 1945: Off on the Third Victory Loan campaign with the same crew which flew me out to Australia -
Flight-Lieut E. A. Hudson, DFC and Bar, as pilot;
Flying-Officer F. P. Smith, DFC, second pilot;
Flying-Officer W. C. Gordon, DFC, navigator;
Flying-Officer T. V. McCarthy, DFC and Bar, air bomber;
Flying-Officer C. H. Tindale, DFM, wireless operator;
Flying-Officer G. B. Young, DFM, air gunner;
Flight-Sgt Harry Tickle,
and Sgt Ower.
There are some passengers, too:-
Flying-Officer Robert Dunstan, DSO, who was in the AIF and
lost a leg in action in the Middle East',
First-Officer Mardi Gaining, Air Transport Auxiliary, who ferried planes in England (now she is our publicity officer);
and Captain T. Steele, MC, who is representing the Commonwealth War Loans Organisation.
APRIL 28, 1945: Back in Melbourne again after a most successful tour for Australia's Third Victory Loan, during which I have landed at every town with an airstrip big enough to hold me in Victoria, New South Wales Queensland, and South Australia. I have taken hundreds of loan subscribers up on a short flip, and many hundreds of others have inspected all the marvels of which I am composed. Today and tomorrow I will be at Essendon aerodrome from 2 - 4 pm, during which time anybody who subscribes 100 Pounds to the Third Victory Loan at the aerodrome will be able to go aloft in me, and anybody who subscribes at least 10 pounds will be able to inspect me.
This is G for George signing off - Over.
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© Peter Dunn 2004
This page first produced 17 November 1998
This page last updated 03 March 2004