Remembering Bomber Command’s Aussies


Bomber Command veteran Flight Lieutenant (retd) Herbert ‘Bert’ Adams will be a cherished living link to keep the memories of brave aviators alive when he joins modern-day Air Force Squadrons for commemorations in June.

The efforts and sacrifices of the 10,000 Royal Australian Air Force aircrew and ground staff that served in the Royal Air Force’s Bomber Command during World War 2 will be commemorated at the annual wreath-laying ceremony on June 2 at the Australian War Memorial.

Flight Lieutenant Adams said the sacrifices and achievements of RAAF members for Bomber Command have risked fading from the minds of Australians, but was proud to meet modern-day representatives of 460 Squadron, 462 Squadron and 464 Squadron who are keeping the memories of his mates alive.

“It’s important to take the time to reflect on RAAF members’ contribution to Bomber Command because it has been neglected for so long,” he said.

“We had more casualties than the Battle of Britain and were really the only ones to take the war to Germany in the first few years following Dunkirk, but the Bomber Command clasp has only been awarded recently.”

Bomber Command was responsible for maximising the tactical surprise achieved by the D-Day Allied landings and limiting the enemy’s ability to respond.

‘It’s important we honour our heritage and remember those brave aviators who fought in the darkest days of World War 2.’

They mounted offensives against 10 coastal batteries, flew remote diversionary raids to the eastern flank, and contributed to radar countermeasures by simulating a diversion ship convoy approach and providing a VHF jamming screen.

A record-setting 1211 sorties were flown and 5200 tons of bombs were dropped over June 5 to 6, 1944, securing their place in history books as being instrumental in the success of the Allied landings in Normandy.

These countermeasures were so successful that the crossing of the landing fleet reported to have an air of unreality about it due to the complete absence of any sign that the enemy was aware of what was happening.

Telephone logs indicate enemy forces had not fully realised the scope or definitive location of the assault even by the end of the first day of fighting.

Commanding Officer 464 Squadron Wing Commander Pete Croce said the spirit of these members of Bomber Command continued to inspire the current generation of aviators.

“It’s important we honour our heritage and remember those brave aviators who fought in the darkest days of World War 2, and honour their sacrifice through our own work into the future,” Wing Commander Croce said.

“Members of Bomber Command showed immense courage, determination and selflessness to fly missions far into enemy territory with only a 40 per cent chance of survival. One in five Australian combat deaths during World War 2 were sustained as part of Bomber Command and it’s a great honour for us to lay wreaths in their honour, commemorating their sacrifice and keeping their memories alive.

“I am really looking forward to meeting Bert and hearing his stories almost 80 years to the day of the Allied landings and explaining to him how the aviators of today continue to honour the proud heritage of Bomber Command squadrons from World War 2.”

All are welcome and encouraged to attend the wreath-laying ceremony on June 2 to remember the members of Bomber Command and hear Flight Lieutenant Adams provide an address.

A tribute will be paid to the members at the Australian War Memorial’s Last Post the day prior. For more details on the events, visit

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