ID number PR04522
Title Gourlay, William Albert (Flying Officer)
Record type Collection
Item count 2
Collection Private Record
Object types
  • Log book;
  • Map;
Maker Gourlay, William Albert
Date made 1944
Measurement Oversize Material
Access Open

Description

Collection relating to the Second World War service of 408370 Flying Officer William Albert Gourlay, Royal Australian Air Force. Collection consists of two items relating to the night raid over Nuremberg, Germany, 30 March 1944: two pages from Navigator's Log (RAF Form 441), which includes route and navigational observations; and a map, with hand-drawn navigation plotting and markings, depicting the outward journey from RAF Base Binbrook, over Belgium and Germany in a southward direction over Nuremberg, and return journey west from Nuremberg, over France.

Biographical information: Gourlay enlisted 30 January 1942; Embarked 15 January 1943 for overseas service, arrived United Kingdom 17 March 1943; Joined 460 Squadron RAAF in February 1944; Returned to Australia, April 1945, and discharged 8 September 1945; Gourlay was awarded Distinguished Flying Cross, 19 September 1944.

Summary

Gourlay, a Flight Sergeant at the time, was navigator of the Lancaster bomber 'G for George', 460 Squadron RAAF. Gourlay was initially to navigate another Lancaster bomber, though, finding it unserviceable, his aircrew eventually found 'G for George' to use for the raid. 795 aircraft were despatched as part of the Nuremberg raid, including 572 Lancasters, 214 Halifaxes and 9 Mosquitos. The bombers met resistance at the Belgian border from German fighters. In total, 95 bombers were lost, making it the largest Bomber Command loss of the Second World War. Reconnaissance following the raid found that the mission had in fact been a failure: little damage was caused to the city of Nuremberg, and most of the bombing occurred, incorrectly, at Schweinfurt, 50 miles to the north-west of Nuremberg, and even there the bombing caused little damage.