Home' Air Force News : June 9th 2011 Contents 27
June 9, 2011
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THE reformation of 460SQN last year has struck
a chord with the WWII veterans of the former fa-
mous Lancaster squadron, according to squadron CO
WGCDR Rob Elliott.
Since then, they and their families have returned to
re-establish their links with the squadron.
"I regularly receive calls from former members or
family connections of the squadron and it has been
my honour to meet them, speak with them, and hear
their remarkable stories," WGCDR Elliott said.
"They are special men. They faced grim odds of
survival with extraordinary courage and determina-
tion. The squadron effectively died five times over
with a total of 1018 fatalities [and 169 aircraft lost] by
the end of the war.
"I can't imagine the courage these men had to
muster to strap into a Lancaster each evening with
those kinds of odds."
WGCDR Elliott first met the 460SQN veterans at
the reformation dining-in night last year.
"While these men are in their 80s and 90s, their
youthful exuberance has not diminished, and they feel
in their element when back among fellow airmen and
airwomen," he said.
Since that night, Maurie O'Keefe, a Lancaster
radio operator, has presented the squadron with a
working Lancaster radio, while Bob Newman joined
460SQN's celebration of the Air Force's 90th anni-
versary recently, during which he presented a photo-
graphic montage featuring the first CO [WGCDR A.
Hubbard], A Flight Commander and FLGOFF James
Saint-Smith DFC DFM -- the first pilot of the famous
'G for George' Lancaster, which is now on display at
the Australian War Memorial.
On Anzac Day in Adelaide this year, former
460SQN members Frank Gubbins and Graham Berry
were invited to tour RAAF Base Edinburgh follow-
ing a chance meeting with members of Aerospace
Operational Support Group and Information Warfare
Wing (IWWG). Their visit to the base on May 13
included an inspection of an F/A-18 and the opportu-
nity to watch a Hornet conducting circuits.
CO IWWG WGCDR Ian Gibson said that they
were remarkable men.
"It was an honour to share their company and host
them at Edinburgh," he said.
Mr Berry was in the first Lancaster shot down and
subsequently became a prisoner of war [at the infa-
mous Stalag Luft III].
Because of his poor German language skills, he
was not considered for the escape party of 'the Great
Meanwhile, Mr Gubbins survived 30 missions
when the average survival rate in the Lancaster was
When asked of their greatest memories, both
replied: "The mateship, the camaraderie. They are
life-long friendships that go beyond."
WGCDR Elliott said it was this mateship that
brought the men back to the squadron.
"We take every opportunity to embrace these
opportunities and honour their service and sacrifice.
Their courage and perseverance is inspirational and
drives the current squadron to strive to continue this
rich history of distinguished service," he said.
SPECIAL CONNECTIONS: Left, CO JEWOSU
WGCDR Pete Mitchell explains the finer details of
flying an F/A-18 to former 460SQN members Frank
Gubbins, left, and Graham Berry during their recent
visit to RAAF Base Edinburgh. Above, 460SQN
veteran Bob Newman presents CO 460SQN WGCDR
Robert Elliott with a commemorative montage in
Canberra. Photos: CPL Rodney Welch and LAC Al Bencke
'I can't imagine the
courage these men
had to muster to strap
into a Lancaster each
evening with those
kinds of odds.
-- WGCDR Rob Elliott
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