Flying Officer Neville Edward BUTLER

Service No: 14734
Born: Tenterfield NSW, 6 August 1917
Enlisted in the RAAF: 29 April 1940
Unit: No. 460 Squadron, RAF Binbrook, Lincolnshire
Died: Air Operations (No. 460 Squadron Lancaster aircraft PB459), Germany, 29 November 1944, Aged 27 Years
Buried: Reichswald Forest War Cemetery, Kleve, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Edward and Beatrice Mabel Butler, of Tenterfield, New South Wales, Australia.
Roll of Honour: Tenterfield NSW
Remembered: Panel 107, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT
Remembered: Weddin Shire and Grenfell War Memorials, Grenfell NSW

Date: 29 November 1944
Target: Dortmund
Total Force: Dispatched – 311, Attacking – 291
RAAF Force: No. 460 Dispatched – 23, Attacking – 23
Tons of Bombs Dropped: 1,594
Total Aircraft Lost: 6
RAAF Aircraft Lost: No. 460 – 1

As in previous years the Rhineland and Ruhr cities were given special priority, and in fact two-thirds of this early winter campaign were devoted to 29 raids against 15 cities in this area. Appropriately the first target on 6th-7th October was Dortmund, the largest city in the Ruhr. No
RAAF squadron operated on this occasion but No. 460 joined in a later daylight attack on 29th November. Both attacks laid waste large areas of the city and caused heavy damage to steelworks, smaller engineering factories and railway facilities.

Extracts from Herington, J. (John) (406545) Air War Over Europe 1944-1945, Australian War Memorial, Canberra, 1963 – Pages 301-3

Lancaster PB459 took off from RAF Binbrook at 1216 hours on 29 November 1944 to bomb Dortmund, Germany. Bomb load 1 x 4000 lb (pound) (1,800 kg), 4 x 1000 lb (450 kg) and 6 x 500 lb (225 kg) bombs, 4 x 14 clusters and 36 x 4 lb (2 kg) incendiaries. Nothing was heard from the aircraft after take off and it failed to return to base. Twenty three aircraft from the squadron took part in the raid and PB 459 failed to return. Post war it was established that the aircraft crashed in the target area.

The crew members of PB459 were:

Flight Sergeant Herbert Barnard Armstrong (426447) (Bomb Aimer)
Flying Officer Neville Edward Butler (14734) (Navigator)
Flying Officer Maurice Claude Norfolk Gray (428772) (Pilot)
Warrant Officer Richard Wilson Lett (412983) (Rear Gunner)
Flight Sergeant Ernest Arthur Parry (436658) (Wireless Operator Air Gunner)
Sergeant Ronald Arthur Smith (1866711) (RAFVR) (Flight Engineer)
Warrant Officer William John Latchford Whale (405511) (Mid Upper Gunner)


Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour On-Line Records (RAAF Casualty Information compiled by Alan Storr (409804))
Commonwealth War Graves Commission On-Line Records
Department of Veteran’s Affairs On-Line WWII Nominal Roll
National Archives of Australia On-Line Record A705, 166/6/823
Register of War Memorials in New South Wales On-Line


Firkins, P. C. (Peter Charles) (441386) Strike and Return, Westward Ho Publishing City Beach WA, 1985

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