The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (415135) Flight Sergeant Arthur William Howard Gliddon, No. 460 Squadron, Royal Australian Air Force, Second world War.

Places
Accession Number AWM2018.1.1.360
Collection type Film
Object type Last Post film
Physical description 16:9
Maker Australian War Memorial
Place made Australia: Australian Capital Territory, Canberra, Campbell
Date made 27 December 2018
Access Open
Conflict Second World War, 1939-1945
Copyright Item copyright: © Australian War Memorial
Creative Commons License This item is licensed under CC BY-NC
Copying Provisions Copy provided for personal non-commercial use
Description

The Last Post Ceremony is presented in the Commemorative area of the Australian War Memorial each day. The ceremony commemorates more than 102,000 Australians who have given their lives in war and other operations and whose names are recorded on the Roll of Honour. At each ceremony the story behind one of the names on the Roll of Honour is told. Hosted by Richard Cruise, the story for this day was on (415135) Flight Sergeant Arthur William Howard Gliddon, No. 460 Squadron, Royal Australian Air Force, Second world War.

Speech transcript

415135 Flight Sergeant Arthur William Howard Gliddon, No. 460 Squadron, Royal Australian Air Force
Killed in flying battle 30 July 1943
Story delivered 27 December 2018

Today we pay tribute to Flight Sergeant Arthur William Howard Gliddon.

Born in Northam, Western Australia, Arthur Gliddon – commonly known as “Bill” – was the son of May and Arthur Gliddon senior.

The family was living in the Perth suburb of Mount Hawthorn when Arthur Gliddon enlisted in the Royal Australian Air Force on 21 July 1941.

Gliddon began training as a wireless operator and air gunner. After his initial training, he embarked for overseas service.

As part of the Empire Air Training Scheme, he was one of almost 27,500 RAAF pilots, navigators, wireless operators, gunners, and engineers, who, throughout the course of the war, joined Royal Air Force squadrons or Australian squadrons based in Britain.

Arriving in Britain, Gliddon underwent further specialist training, before he was posted to No. 460 Squadron, Royal Australian Air Force.

No. 460 Squadron would become the most highly decorated Australian squadron in Bomber Command, and the squadron that suffered the highest casualties. Flying twin-engined Vickers Wellingtons medium bombers and then four-engined Avro Lancaster heavy bombers, the squadron lost over 1,000 men: Australian, British, Canadians, New Zealanders and South Africans. Almost 600 Australians from 460 Squadron are listed here on the Roll of Honour.

During a bombing raid on Stettin, Germany, in April 1943, the Lancaster in which Gliddon was wireless operator and airgunner was repeatedly hit by fire from an armed ship while over the Baltic Sea. One engine was put out of action, the tail damaged, and a shell penetrated the bomb bay, exploding amongst the incendiaries. Despite the severe damage, the pilot and navigator managed to get the Lancaster back to England for a safe landing, after which the pilot collapsed at the controls. Remarkably, only the navigator, Gliddon’s close friend, Flying Officer Charles Anderson, was wounded, but he soon returned to duty with the rest of the crew.

On the night of 29/30 July 1943, Gliddon was far less lucky. On that night 24 Lancasters from No. 460 Squadron were taking part in large bombing raid. Part of the Battle of Hamburg, known as Operation Gomorrah, the raid was part of bombing offensive on the German city by the Royal Air Force and United States Army Air Force that had commenced on 24 July and lasted eight days and seven nights.

Shot down over Germany, the aircraft crashed in Hamburg, killing all aboard.

Arthur Gliddon was 26 years old.

With no known grave, Gliddon is commemorated upon the Air Forces Memorial overlooking the River Thames. The Runnymede memorial lists all the missing British and Commonwealth airmen.
His name is listed on the Roll of Honour on my left, among some 40,000 Australians who died while serving in the Second World War.

This is but one of the many stories of service and sacrifice told here at the Australian War Memorial. We now remember Flight Sergeant Arthur William Howard Gliddon, who gave his life for us, for our freedoms, and in the hope of a better world.

Lachlan Grant
Historian, Military History Section

  • Video of The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (415135) Flight Sergeant Arthur William Howard Gliddon, No. 460 Squadron, Royal Australian Air Force, Second world War. (video)