No. 460 Squadron RAAF

No. 460 Squadron is a Royal Australian Air Force intelligence unit active within the Defence Imagery and Geospatial Organisation (DIGO). It was first formed as a heavy bomber squadron during World War II on 15 November 1941 and disbanded on 10 October 1945 after seeing extensive combat over Europe. The squadron was a multinational unit, but most personnel were Australian. No. 460 Squadron was reformed on 2 July 2010 and is currently located in Canberra.

No. 460 Squadron RAAF
460 Sqn RAAF ground crew G-George 1944.jpg
Some of No. 460 Squadron RAAF's ground crew posing in front of the Avro Lancaster bomber G for George at RAF Binbrook, May 1944
Active15 November 1941 – 10 October 1945
2 July 2010–current
CountryUnited Kingdom United Kingdom
AllegianceAustralia Australia
BranchAir Force Ensign of Australia.svg Royal Australian Air Force
RoleBomber squadron (1941–45)
Imagery and geographic intelligence (2010–current)
Part ofNo. 8 Group RAF, Bomber Command
(Nov 41 – Dec 41)[1]
No. 1 Group RAF, Bomber Command
(Jan 42 – Oct 45)[2]
Defence Imagery and Geospatial Organisation (July 2010–current)
Motto(s)"Strike and Return"[1][3]
Battle honours
  • Fortress Europe, 1940–1944
  • France and Germany, 1944–1945
  • Ruhr, 1940–1945
  • Berlin, 1940–1945
  • German Ports, 1940–1945
  • Normandy, 1944
  • Italy, 1943–1945.
Squadron badge heraldryIn front of a boomerang in base a kangaroo salient.[3]
The kangaroo is a fast and powerful animal indigenous to Australia, and the boomerang is a weapon peculiar to that country.[1]
Squadron codesUV (Nov 1941 – Nov 1943)[4][5]
AR (Nov 1943 – Oct 1945)[6][7]
Aircraft flown
BomberVickers Wellington
Avro Lancaster


World War IIEdit

460 Squadron Halifax UV-G aircrew at RAF Breighton circa September–October 1942

No. 460 Squadron RAAF was formed from 'C' Flight of No. 458 Squadron RAAF at RAF Molesworth, Huntingdonshire on 15 November 1941,[3] as a bomber squadron equipped with Wellington Mk.IV aircraft. Originally part of No. 8 Group RAF, Bomber Command, the squadron moved to RAF Breighton, Yorkshire and joined No. 1 Group RAF. The squadron made its first raid, against the German city of Emden, on 12 March 1942.[8] The following night, five crews from the squadron participated in a raid on harbour facilities around Dunkirk, during which the squadron suffered its first losses of the war when one Wellington was shot down.[9] A six-week "apprenticeship" period followed until the end of April 1942, during which the squadron was assigned mainly to attack less heavily defended targets on the French Channel coast; nevertheless, the squadron also undertook several attacks against targets in Germany during this time also.[9] The squadron's first three months of operations saw it carry out 34 raids. For each raid, at least two aircraft were contributed, with some raids seeing as many as 10 aircraft taking part; a 30 May 1942 raid on Cologne saw 18 aircraft from No. 460 Squadron assigned. A total of six crews were lost during these raids.[10]

Losses between June and August amounted to 20 aircraft,[11] and at the end of the period the squadron began to convert to Halifax Mk.IIs,[3] but in October the squadron was re-equipped with Lancaster Mks. I and III.[1] The following May, No. 460 Squadron relocated to RAF Binbrook, Lincolnshire, from where it participated in the strategic bombing of Germany.[12]

In late 1943 and early 1944, the squadron flew sorties in the Battle of Berlin.[13] During the spring and summer of 1944, the squadron flew many missions in support of the D-Day landings. Its final raid was an attack on Adolf Hitler's mountain retreat of Berchtesgaden on Anzac Day, 1945. In May, No. 460 Squadron joined Operation Manna, the transportation of relief supplies to starving Dutch civilians. The squadron moved to RAF East Kirkby, Lincolnshire, in preparation for re-location to the Pacific theatre, as part of a proposed Commonwealth strategic air force known as Tiger Force, for the invasion of Japan. The move became unnecessary following the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and No. 460 Squadron disbanded on 10 October 1945.[1][3]

The squadron flew the most sorties of any Australian bomber squadron and dropped more bomb tonnage than any squadron in the whole of Bomber Command—24,856 tons, which it dropped over 6,262 sorties. In doing that it lost 188 aircraft and suffered 1,018 combat deaths (589 of whom were Australian).[14] This was the most of any Australian squadron during the war,[12] with No. 460 Squadron effectively wiped out five times over its existence. RAF Bomber Command represented only two percent of total Australian enlistments during World War II, but accounted for almost 20 percent of personnel killed in action.[15] Total Bomber Command losses were 55,573 for all nationalities.[16]

Members of 460 Squadron and the Lancaster bomber "G" for George in August 1943.

No. 460 Squadron is commemorated at the Australian War Memorial by a display featuring its only surviving aircraft, G for George.[17] This aircraft made 90 operational sorties between late 1942 and mid-1944.[18] There is a memorial to the squadron on the site of the former RAF Binbrook, in Lincolnshire, UK, consisting of a plaque, trees and various memorial benches. There are also memorials in a number of other countries including Denmark, France, the Netherlands (Grafhorst) and Germany, marking the sites of where squadron aircraft crashed or individual crew members were killed.[19]

Current roleEdit

On 1 April 2010, then Chief of Air Force Air Marshal Mark Binskin announced that No. 460 Squadron was to be reformed as a non-flying squadron within the Defence Imagery and Geospatial Organisation (DIGO).[20] The squadron was subsequently re-established on 2 July at a ceremony held in front of G for George at the Australian War Memorial.[21][22]

No. 460 Squadron is currently located in Canberra. Its roles include analysing photos and other imagery to help plan strike missions.[22]

Aircraft operatedEdit

Aircraft operated by no. 460 Squadron RAAF, data from[1][3][23]
From To Aircraft Version
November 1941 September 1942 Vickers Wellington Mk.IV
August 1942 October 1942 Handley Page Halifax B.Mk.II (not used operationally)
August 1942 October 1942 Avro Manchester Mk.I (not used operationally)[24]
October 1942 October 1945 Avro Lancaster Mks.I, III

Squadron basesEdit

Binbrook, United Kingdom, April 1944: Mr John Curtin, Prime Minister of Australia, getting out of the veteran Lancaster "G" for George, during his visit to 460 Squadron RAAF.
Bases and airfields used by no. 460 Squadron RAAF, data from[1][3][23]
From To Base
15 November 1941 4 January 1942 RAF Molesworth, Huntingdonshire
4 January 1942 14 May 1942 RAF Breighton, Yorkshire
14 May 1942 20 July 1945 RAF Binbrook, Lincolnshire
20 July 1945 10 October 1945 RAF East Kirkby, Lincolnshire

Commanding officersEdit

460 Squadron is remembered as part of the 2007 Anzac Day Parade in Brisbane.
Officers commanding no. 460 Squadron RAAF, data from[12][25][26]
From To Name
November 1941 September 1942 Wing Commander A.L.G Hubbard, DSO, DFC
September 1942 December 1942 Wing Commander K.W. Kaufman, DFC
December 1942 February 1943 Wing Commander J.F. Dilworth, DFC
February 1943 September 1943 Wing Commander C.E. Martin, DSO, DFC
September 1943 8 October 1943 (POW) Wing Commander R.A. Norman, DSO, DFC
October 1943 January 1944 Wing Commander F.A. Arthur, DFC
January 1944 May 1944 Wing Commander H.D. Marsh, DFC
May 1944 October 1944 Wing Commander J.K. Douglas, DFC
October 1944 November 1944 Wing Commander K.R.J. Parsons, DSO, DFC
November 1944 13 December 1944 (KIA) Squadron Leader J. Clark, DFC
December 1944 January 1945 Wing Commander W.E. Roberts, DFC
January 1945 July 1945 Wing Commander M.G. Cowan, DSO
July 1945 October 1945 Wing Commander P.H. Swan, DSO, DFC
July 2010 December 2010 Wing Commander P.D. Wooding, MNZM
January 2011 January 2014 Wing Commander R.J.EIdiott
January 2014 July 2016 Wing Commander N.Klohs
July 2016 January 2019 Wing Commander C. Harrison
January 2019 Present Wing Commander A. Hoffmann

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Moyes 1976, p. 254.
  2. ^ Moyes 1976, pp. 302, 304, 306.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Halley 1988, p. 480.
  4. ^ Bowyer & Rawlings 1979, p. 103.
  5. ^ Flintham & Thomas 2003, p. 114.
  6. ^ Bowyer & Rawlings 1979, p. 17.
  7. ^ Flintham & Thomas 2003, p. 63.
  8. ^ Firkins 2000, pp. 1–2.
  9. ^ a b Firkins 2000, p. 9.
  10. ^ Firkins 2000, p. 15.
  11. ^ Firkins 2000, p. 21.
  12. ^ a b c "No. 460 Squadron RAAF". Second World War, 1939–1945 units. Australian War Memorial. Retrieved 19 October 2013.
  13. ^ Oakman, Daniel. "The Battle of Berlin". Wartime Magazine. Australian War Memorial (25).
  14. ^ Barnes 2000, p. 299.
  15. ^ Stephens 2006, p. 96.
  16. ^ Bungay 2010, p. 64.
  17. ^ "No 460 Squadron". RAAF Museum. Retrieved 20 October 2013.
  18. ^ "G for George". Australian War Memorial. Retrieved 20 October 2013.
  19. ^ "460 Squadron: Memorials". Retrieved 20 October 2013.
  20. ^ "RAAF Celebrates 89 Years". Media release. Australian Department of Defence. 1 April 2010. Retrieved 1 April 2010.
  21. ^ "No. 460 Squadron RAAF reformation ceremony". Media gallaries. Department of Defence. Retrieved 2 July 2010.
  22. ^ a b Harrison, Dan (3 July 2010). "The motto of No. 460 lives on, as legendary squadron returns". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 3 July 2010.
  23. ^ a b Jefford 2001, p. 95.
  24. ^ Cowan, Brendan. "Avro Manchester". ADF Serials. Retrieved 28 February 2019.
  25. ^ Firkins, Peter. "History of 460 Squadron". Gordon Stooke's 460 Squadron Website. Retrieved 19 October 2013.
  26. ^ "460 Squadron recognises extraordinary legacy". Air Force. Retrieved 1 March 2020.


  • Barnes, Norman (2000). The RAAF and the Flying Squadrons. St Leonards, New South Wales, Australia: Allen & Unwin. ISBN 1-86508-130-2.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
  • Bowyer, Michael J.F.; Rawlings, John D.R. (1979). Squadron Codes, 1937–56. Cambridge, UK: Patrick Stephens. ISBN 0-85059-364-6.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
  • Bungay, Stephen (2010). The Most Dangerous Enemy: An Illustrated History of the Battle of Britain. MBI Publishing. ISBN 9780760339367.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
  • Firkins, Peter C. (2000) [1964]. Strike and Return: 460 RAAF Heavy Bomber Squadron, RAF Bomber Command in the World War (3rd ed.). Loftus, New South Wales: Australian Military History Publications. ISBN 1-876439-84-X.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
  • Flintham, Vic; Thomas, Andrew (2003). Combat Codes: A Full Explanation and Listing of British, Commonwealth and Allied Air Force Unit Codes Since 1938. Shrewsbury, Shropshire, UK: Airlife Publishing. ISBN 1-84037-281-8.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
  • Halley, James J. (1988). The Squadrons of the Royal Air Force & Commonwealth 1918–1988. Tonbridge, Kent, UK: Air Britain (Historians). ISBN 0-85130-164-9.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
  • Hoyle, Arthur R. (2012). David Vernon (ed.). Into the Darkness – One Young Australian's Journey from Sydney to the Deadly Skies Over Germany 1939–1945. Canberra, Australian Capital Territory: Stringybark Publishing. ISBN 978-0-9870922-7-4.
  • Jefford, C.G. (2001) [1988]. RAF Squadrons: A Comprehensive Record of the Movement and Equipment of all RAF Squadrons and Their Antecedents Since 1912 (2nd ed.). Shrewsbury, Shropshire, UK: Airlife Publishing. ISBN 1-85310-053-6.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
  • Moyes, Philip J.R. (1976). Bomber Squadrons of the RAF and their Aircraft (2nd ed.). London: Macdonald and Jane's (Publishers). ISBN 0-354-01027-1.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
  • Nelmes, Michael V.; Jenkins, Ian (2000). G-for-George: A Memorial to RAAF Bomber Crews, 1939–45. Maryborough, Queensland: Banner Books. ISBN 1-875593-21-7.
  • Stephens, Alan (2006) [2001]. The Royal Australian Air Force: A History. London: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-555541-4.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
  • Stooke, Gordon (2005). Flak and Barbed Wire: In the Wake of Wuppertal. An Australian's Story of Escape and Betrayal. Loftus, New South Wales: Australian Military History Publications. ISBN 0-9586693-2-5.
  • Taylor, Assheton F. (2000). One Way Flight to Munich: Memoirs of a 460 Squadron (RAAF) Navigator. Loftus, New South Wales: Australian Military History Publications. ISBN 1-876439-37-8.
  • Woods, Laurie (2003). Flying into the Mouth of Hell. Canberra, Australian Capital Territory: Boolarong Press. ISBN 0-646-33267-8.

External linksEdit