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Binbrook R.A.F. flying base, Lincolnshire, early in 1944 the crew of a Lancaster bomber were posing in their spare time for Australian artist Stella Bowen.

As opportunity offered, the six Australians and one Englishman would don their flying kits and look "businesslike" for an hour or so while the artist worked on a painting intended to portray a typical crew of the giant bombers which were so successfully pounding targets in Europe, paying the way for an Allied invasion. 

It was a slow job though, with not much more than a framework completed by 27 April.

Shortly after nine o'clock that night the bomb laden planes of 460 Squadron waddled down the dimly lit runway and roared away into the darkness.

460 Squadron achieved many milestones in Australian military history. It sent more Lancasters on operations and dropped a greater tonnage of bombs than any other squadron in Bomber Command. G for George, the 460 squadron's most famous Lancaster, has been in the collection of the Australian War Memorial since the mid 1950s.

The target was Friedrichshafen - vital industrial centre on the shores of Lake Constance. There was nothing to make the operation any more exciting or spectacular for the crews: it was just another night raid.

RAF Station Binbrook. A Bomber Crew of No. 460 (Lancaster) Squadron, RAAF. Identified personnel are: 1874746 Sergeant Douglas George Champkin, Engineer (RAF) (1); 408034 Flying Officer Marmion Wilfred Carroll, DFC, Navigator (2); 414807 Flying Officer T J Lynch, Rear Gunner (3); 404467 Flying Officer Hector Ronald Harrison, Wireless Operator (4); 404507 Squadron Leader Eric George Delancy Jarman, DFC, Pilot (5); 411227 Flying Officer Ronald Leslie Neal, Mid-Upper Gunner (6); 404503 Flying Officer Francis Gordon Jackson, DFC, Bomb Aimer (7).

But, by morning, the subjects in the unfinished painting had been reported missing. Nothing more was known. Hope of the aircraft limping home gradually waned and then died.

Stella Bowen continued work on her picture and eventually completed it with the aid of photographs of the airmen and an artist's facility for remembering detail.  

404507 Squadron Leader (Sqn Ldr) Eric Gordon Delancy Jarman, DFC, No. 460 (Lancaster) Squadron, RAAF, pilot, of Yeppoon, QLD.  404467 Flying Officer (FO) Hector Ronald Harrison, 460 Squadron, RAAF, of Lismore, NSW. Flying Officer (FO) Marmion Wilfred Carroll, DFC, 460 Squadron, RAAF, of Brighton, Vic.
411227 Flying Officer Ronald Leslie Neal, 460 Squadron, RAAF, of Greenthorpe, NSW. 404503 Flying Officer (FO) Francis Gordon Jackson, DFC, 460 Squadron, RAAF. Sergeant D.G. Champkin, (RAF) serving with a bomber crew, 460 Squadron, RAAF.
In September of that same year came the 1st news of the fate of the crew. The parents of Flying-Officer T. J. Lynch of Queensland - the rear gunner-received a small postcard from Dulag Luft camp in Germany.  

<< 414807 Flying Officer (FO) T J Lynch, 460 Squadron, RAAF. FO Lynch and the other members of the crew posed in their spare time for Australian Official War Artist Stella Bowen who painted 'Bomber Crew'. 

Before this painting was completed, the crew had been posted missing. 

Eventually it was learned that FO Lynch was the only survivor of a crash on 28 April 1944 in which he was badly injured, his right leg eventually being amputated.


It was in the unmistakable handwriting of their son - he was alive and a prisoner of war. He was subsequently repatriated in the fifth exchange of prisoners arranged between the Allies and Germany, and arrived back in England at Liverpool on 5 February 1945.

Their aircraft, he said, was shot down in the vicinity of Lahr, near the Swiss border that night in April. 

Lynch was unable to remember whether or not he had jumped from the plane. In fact, he remained unconscious until 4 May, when he awoke as a patient in a German air-force hospital at Baden-Baden.  

A German doctor answered his anxious inquiries concerning the fate of his comrades and told him that all had been killed.  

Lynch himself was badly injured and spent many weary weeks in various hospitals. 

Following amputation of his right leg, he was sent to another large hospital at Nemmingen near Frankfurt, after which he was posted to Stalag IXC to await repatriation.  


Portrait of Squadron Leader Eric G D Jarman, DFC, Bomber Command, 'C' Flight, 460 Squadron, RAAF, wearing C-type flying helmet, flying goggles and oxygen mask. This is a study for the painting 'Bomber crew'.

Information regarding the other crew members is still vague and sketchy; but even before the war ended it became evident that Flying-Officer Lynch was the sole survivor. The Air Ministry's Research and Inquiry Service are, however, still expertly and systematically combing Europe and the final resting-place of these gallant airmen may yet be found. 

  • The crew in addition to Lynch was: 

    • Squadron-Leader E. G. D. Jarman, DFC, 

    • Flying Officer M. W. Carroll, DFC,

    • Flying Officer R. L. Neal,

    • Flying Officer H. R. Harrison,

    • Flying Officer F. G. Jackson, DFC and

    • Sergeant D. G. Champkin, of the R.A.F.


M. H. S.

Lest We Forget


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