On Thursday, 23 September 1943, (a part of) the aircraft of the 467 squadron (RAAF), took off for a mission to Mannheim in Germany from a station (airfield) in or near Bottesford.
One of the crew members was Pilot Officer W T Farmer RAAF. He departed for his mission at 19:04.
He flew with a Avro Lancaster (type III, with serial DV233 and code PO-). His mission and of the other crew members was planned for Friday, 24 September 1943. Information about aircraft who did not return from this mission can be found here. Information about the other crew members on this flight can be found at this website (Aircrew Remembered). This website also provides the flight information for this record.
This record can also be found on the maps of Back to Normandy with Google coordinates. You can find the maps by clicking on this link on this location.
John Darvill: My great uncle Tom, Sgt T W Darvill was the Wireless Operator on this mission bombing Mannheim aboard Lancaster III DV 233 (RAAF 467 Sqd) The plane was shot down on 23/24 Sept 1943. He and another crew member survived and were POW's in a camp in Russia. The pilot (PO Farmer) told Tom to bail out, but Tom's parachute was all in his arms as it had snagged on sections of the plane. Apparently there was a large hole at the back of the aircraft, Tom monkey swung across the wires across the large hole caused by flak. He went to check on the rear gunner, unfortunately he was killed. It was whilst swinging back across that Tom snagged his parachute. Tom managed to bail out, he had a bad landing and damaged his leg. Tom said many German locals were out hunting for him by tourch light. He lay still in a dyke until they had gone. The next day a very old dodgery German policeman found him. The policeman waited until dark to take Tom to the police station, as he said the locals would want to kill Tom if they saw him. I still have Tom's Catapillar Club gold badge and medals. Also, a curious RAAF 18ct gold badge given to him by the Australians.
Tom was a British RAF personnel assigned to the RAAF 467 Squadron as a signaller and part of the Article XV set up, which I think the gold badge relates to. It has a "S" above and XV below. I'm not sure if this relates to "Signaller" or if it means he flew on S-Sugar? I believe he was the only Brit on board. The pilot was apparently good friends with the rear gunner, that's why Tom went to see if he was okay. The pilot told Tom to jump as he was going to stay at the controls. Tom bailed with his parachute in his arms. He ended up in a German POW camp in Russia when the Russians began their push, Tom was caught up in the great march back to Germany. I believe that many thousands of POW's died on that journey. When he was taken prisoner he was a healthy 13 stone, upon his return to Britain he was down to six stone. In May 1945 Tom was promoted to a Warrant Officer. He left the RAF around 1953. He also said laughing, although very serious at the time. That a German troop carriers rear Axel sank into one of the unfinished escape tunnels, the Germans were very annoyed and filled it full of excrement to prevent its use. Fantastic site, thank you for keeping Tom's memory alive. Best to you all. John Darvill (Great Nephew)
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