Featured Story

Featured Story

The FEATURED STORY pays tribute to a person, and or event, connected to 1 W.A.G.S Ballarat.

The story commemorates the valiant RAAF 1 W.A.G.S trainees who served in WW2 in all theatres of war – those who lost their lives and those who returned.


The FEATURED STORY honours  - 



Lancaster ME663 of 460 Squadron RAAF based at Binbrook UK was shot down on the 10th April 1944 by a German night-fighter and anti-aircraft fire and crashed near the town of Aale in Denmark. The aircraft was homeward bound after an operation to lay mines in the Baltic.



Five of the seven crewmen were killed in the crash and are buried in Esbjerg [Fourfelt] Cemetery in Denmark. Two became PoW with one dying of his injuries 10 months after the crash. This is the remarkable story of resiliance and survival and the generosity and bravery of the Danish community of Aale. The crew and families of ME663 have never been forgotten for the sacrifice they made on that fateful operation.

CHAPMAN, Leslie Harold [Flight Sergeant] 410641 RAAF Wireless Operator/Air Gunner. Born Stawell, Victoria. KILLED Age 20

CROSBY, Peter Alan [Flight Lieutenant] DFC 416656 RAAF Pilot. Born Brighton South Australia. KILLED Age 20

BILLETT, Clive [Flight Sergeant] 414191 RAAF Bomb /Aimer. Born Darwin, Northern Territory. KILLED Age 25

ROBB, Laurence William [Flying Officer] 418879 RAAF Air Gunner. Born Alexandra, Victoria. Trained at 1 WAGS Ballarat Course 29. KILLED Age 33

BENDER, Milton Harold [Pilot Officer] DFC 173405 RAF Engineer KILLED Age 20

HODGE, Frederick Stanley [Flight Sergeant] DFM 426100 RAAF Rear Gunner. Born Melbourne, Victoria. Taken prisoner by German captors and survived the war.  PoW  Discharged 28th November 1945

SUFFREN, Charles Edward [Flying Officer] DFC 409280 RAAF Navigator. Born Ballarat, Victoria. Survived but with severe injuries. He passed away in a LUFTWAFFE Military hospital in Germany 10 months after the crash and is buried in Durnbach Cemetery in Germany. PoW

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National Archives of AustraliaUBC Web DesignCity of BallaratDepartment of Veterans+39 AffairsAustralian War MemorialRSL Virtual War Memorial