F/SGT. HARRY TICKLE
460 SQUADRON RAAF
Ground F/SGT Harry Tickle never lost an aircraft in 460 Squadron. He serviced "G" Wellington, Halifax and Lancaster.
The following is an excerpt from the book "Strike and Return" by Peter Firkins:-
In the raid on Cologne on the 19th in which 4,500 tons of bombs were dropped, to be the heaviest raid of the war to date, a veteran of 460 Squadron was retired. It was none other than G for "George" which had completed its 90th raid on this Cologne operation, and was not only the squadron's veteran, but also Bomber Command's most "operational" bomber. Today it stands proudly in the Australian War Memorial in Canberra with its 90 small yellow bombs painted on the side of the fuselage, a symbol of the courage and sacrifice of the squadron it so nobly served.
"George" was flown back to Australia in October 1944 by Flight Lieutenant Eddie Hudson, D.F.C. & Bar, who had completed two tours of operations with the squadron, and before leaving he received a message from the Duke of Gloucester, Governor-Designate, which said: "I wish you and your crew a safe and speedy journey to Australia. I hope that when your veteran Lancaster arrives in Australia, it will soon be joined by many Australian-built Lancasters which will help to bring the war against Japan to a rapid and successful conclusion"
During the whole of its period on 460 there was one man who held an important place in its life. He was Flight Sergeant Harry Tickle who was in charge of "George's" maintenance flight, and he set such an example of hard work and reliability that he became quite famous outside of the squadron. Workers in the south of England who tested parts for aircraft heard of the "partnership" and asked for photographs of the bomber and Harry Tickle, which were hung on the factory walls.
There were some exciting passages in Tickle's log book, one dated October 22, 1943, when "George" was on its 67th trip with Flight Sergeant Watson at the controls recorded: "Ran into a violent electrical storm. Lightning and balls of fire played around the bomber and blue flames glowed on the propellers. George stood up to everything. Once there was a flash and a lump of ice whizzed in and bruised the engineer's head!!"
The Australian Prime Minister, Mr. Curtin, during his visit to Britain, inspected several R.A.A.F. squadrons, and also met Australians serving with the R.A.F. He is seen talking with Flt. Sgt. Harry Tickle, the ground staff engineer responsible for the maintenance of the famous Lancaster bomber "G" for George, which had Australian pilots on most of its 90 missions over Germany and was later flown to Australia for housing in the Australian War Memorial in Canberra.
Pictorial History of Australia at War 1939-45 by Charles Meeking, Volum IV
The old war horse "G" for George with its crew at the time, P-O CHERRY CARTER, the Pilot standing in the middle, with Sgt. HARRY TICKLE (fourth from the left) who was responsible for the bomber's maintenance, and its ground crew.
Strike and Return by Peter Firkins
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© Peter Dunn 2015
This page first produced 29 December 1997
This page last updated 15 September 2018