Born in Ballarat

No. 1 Wireless Air Gunner School Ballarat 1940-1945

Of the 1,182 names on the Memorial Roll the following trainees Born in Ballarat completed their training at 1 WAGS and were KILLED in Action or on Active Service during WW2.

 Posters of these airmen have been commissioned by Integra, Lucas Ballarat, as part of Heritage Week 2023.

Born In Ballarat - 1 Wags


Click on the LINKS below to access their full story.


Flight Sergeant Lloyd George FREEMAN, 408647

D.O.B:  24/12/1918 Ballarat

1 WAGS Course 15,17

Killed: 17/01/1944. Aircraft accident

Flight Sergeant Freeman was on a night navigation exercise with No. 6 Operational Training Unit when his Bristol Beaufort aircraft crashed near Jervis Bay N.S.W. He was 25 years old.

LINK: Flight Sergeant Lloyd George FREEMAN 408647

Flight Sergeant Lloyd George FREEMAN 408647

Flight Sergeant Stanley Charles KITCHEN, 410347

D.O.B: 05/07/1923 Ballarat

1 WAGS Course 24

Killed: 22/10/1943. Flying battle

Flight Sergeant Kitchen, Gunner, was on a bombing raid over Kassel Germany when his Lancaster of the RAF No. 57 Squadron was shot down and exploded in mid-air. He was 20 years old.

LINK: Flight Sergeant Stanley Charles KITCHEN, 410347

Flight Sergeant Stanley Charles KITCHEN 410347

Sergeant John McNEILL, 400259

D.O.B:  15/08/1918 Ballarat

1 WAGS Course 4

Killed: 18/01/1942. Flying Battle

Sergeant John McNeill of RAAF No. 8 Squadron flying Hudson aircraft was killed in a flying battle with Japanese Zeros over Singapore on January 18 1942. He was 23 years old.

LINK: Sergeant John McNEILL 400259

Sergeant John McNEILL 400259

Warrant Officer Herbert Gordon PARKER, 408591

D.O.B: 13/02/1920 Ballarat

1 WAGS Course 14

Killed: 23/03/1945. Aircraft accident.

Warrant Officer Herbert Gordon Parker of RAAF No. 24 Squadron was killed when his Liberator aircraft ditched into Vansittart Bay Western Australia. He was one of twelve airmen who were killed. He was 25 years old. The loss is the highest ever loss of life in an Australian military aircraft accident in Western Australia. Five of the twelve killed trained at 1 WAGS Ballarat.

LINK: Warrant Officer Herbert Gordon PARKER, 408591

Warrant Officer Herbert Gordon PARKER 408591

Sergeant Maurice Bert PROVEN, 401050

D.O.B: 29/06/1917 Ballarat

1 WAGS Course 9

Killed: 26/01/1942. Flying battle.

Sergeant Maurice Bert Proven of No. 100 Squadron RAF was killed when his Vickers Vildebeest K6386 was shot down near Endau, Malaya. He was 25 years old. Two crew were killed, and one became a POW at the hands of the Japanese.

LINK: Sergeant Maurice Bert PROVEN, 401050

Sergeant Maurice Bert PROVEN 401050

Flight Sergeant Patrick Fraser STANLEY, 430846

D.O.B: 03/11/1921 Ballarat

1 WAGS Course 46, 48

Killed: 05/07/1945. Flying battle.

Flight Sergeant STANLEY was killed in action on 5 July 1945 in a Flying Battle over Borneo. Aircraft was a B24 Liberator of the RAAF No. 24 Squadron which was hit by enemy anti-aircraft fire. He is buried in foreign soil at Labuan War Cemetery, Malaysia. He was 23 years old.

LINK: Flight Sergeant Patrick Fraser STANLEY, 430846

Flight Sergeant Patrick Fraser STANLEY 430846

Sergeant Donald Thomas THOMSON, 408601

D.O.B: 06/09/1921 Ballarat

1 WAGS Course 14

Killed: 14/04/1942. Flying battle.

Sergeant Thomson of RAAF No. 13 Squadron was killed when his Hudson aircraft A16-137 failed to return after a bombing raid on Koepang East Timor. He was 20 years old.

LINK: Sergeant Donald Thomas THOMSON, 408601

Sergeant Donald Thomas THOMSON 408601

Sergeant Robert Gordon TYLER, 408892

D.O.B: 11/09/1921 Ballarat

1 WAGS Course 16

Killed: 18/02/1943. Flying battle.

Plane was a North American B-25D Mitchell B5-144 of No. 18 Squadron NEI [Netherlands East Indies] which was engaged in a bombing operation over Dili. The aircraft was attacked by Japanese Mitsubishi zeros. Two crew were killed including the pilot B.J. Grummels and Sgt Robert Gordon Tyler, Wireless Operator and Air Gunner. Tyler was 21 years old. Four crew members were rescued from the Timor Sea by an Australian destroyer.

LINK: Sergeant Robert Gordon TYLER, 408892

Sergeant Robert Gordon TYLER 408892

Sergeant Robert William WESTCOTT, 401557

D.O.B: 03/11/1915 Ballarat

1 WAGS Course 12

Killed: 17/01/1942. Aircraft accident.

Sergeant Wescott was killed on a ferry flight from Laverton Victoria to Pearce Western Australia via Ceduna South Australia. Plane a Hudson A 16-144. All six-crew perished. Lockheed Hudson aircraft A16-144 crashed on take-off at Ceduna South Australia while on delivery to No. 14 Squadron at RAAF Station Pearce Western Australia. Westcott was 26 years old.

LINK: Sergeant Robert William WESTCOTT, 401557

Sergeant Robert William WESTCOTT 401557

No. 1 Wireless Air Gunner School Ballarat, 1940-1945

Of the 6,000+ trainees who passed through 1 WAGS the following trainees born in Ballarat completed their training at 1 WAGS and were DISCHARGED after serving in the RAAF during WW2.

These are but a few and further research would be needed to discover more names.


Born in Ballarat - 1WAGS Ballarat


Warrant Officer David Maxwell GRIBBLE, 431621

D.O.B: 22/05/1925 Ballarat

1 WAGS Course 42, 43

Discharged: 10/01/1946.

Warrant Officer David Gribble was the Mid-Upper Gunner of No. 462 Squadron, Foulsham, Norfork U.K. He completed 8 sorties with the 462 Heavy Bomber Halifax squadron and was part of the 100 Group, a specialist formation tasked with disrupting the German air defence system through the employment of diversionary raids and various radio countermeasures.

LINK: Warrant Officer David Maxwell GRIBBLE, 431621

Warrant Officer David Maxwell GRIBBLE 431621

Squadron Leader Merrick Sadlier HOLGATE DFC, 400117

D.O.B: 12/07/1911 Ballarat

1 WAGS Course 2 and 3

Discharged: 08/05/1945.

Squadron Leader Merrick Holgate was educated at Ballarat Grammar and completed his RAAF training in Canada and England. "Flying Officer Holgate was awarded the DFC because he took over duties from the ill Navigator and by his assistance enabled his captain to fly the aircraft safely back to base. He completed 32 sorties over Europe and became an excellent Ground Instructor in 1944."

LINK: Squadron Leader Merrick Sadlier HOLGATE DFC, 400117

Squadron Leader Merrick Sadlier HOLGATE 400117

Flying Officer Francis Noel Miller PETCH, 419537

D.O.B: 24/12/1921 Ballarat

1 WAGS Course 34, 35

Discharged: 28/11/1945.

Flying Officer Frank Petch did a tour of 30 operations and then volunteered for and completed 6 extra. He served with the 550 and 150 Squadrons RAF with operations over Germany. After his tour of operations Frank became an instructor at Litchfield OTU. On returning to Australia, he became a prominent administrator for the Ballarat Base Hospital, the Queen Elizabeth Home and the Ballarat Orphanage. He was made a Life Governor of these institutions, and a Life Member of the Bomber Command Association in England. He also won the Les Blackburn Award for services to sport.

LINK: Flying Officer Francis Noel Miller PETCH, 419537

Flying Officer Francis Noel Miller PETCH 419537


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