The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (418790) Flight Sergeant Stanley Kevin Black, No. 106 Squadron, Royal Air Force, Second World War

Place Europe: France, Normandy
Accession Number PAFU2015/291.01
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 1 July 2015
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 (418790) Flight Sergeant Stanley Kevin Black, No. 106 Squadron, Royal Air Force, Second World War.

Speech transcript

418790 Flight Sergeant Stanley Kevin Black, No. 106 Squadron, Royal Air Force
KIA 11 June 1944
No photograph in collection – from family

Story delivered 1 July 2015

Today we pay tribute to Flight Sergeant Stanley Kevin Black, who was killed on active service with the Royal Air Force in 1944.

Born in the Melbourne suburb of North Fitzroy on 12 March 1923, Stanley Kevin Black was the son of George and Lillian Eliza Black. One of four children, the young Stanley Black attended North Fitzroy Central School before attending University High School.

A keen sportsman, Black played cricket, football, and tennis, and was also into dancing. After school he worked as an insurance clerk at the Australian Insurance Institute in Market Street, Melbourne.

Following the outbreak of the Second World War, Black enlisted as a reservist before volunteering for the Royal Australian Air Force on 19 June 1942. He began training as a navigator, then as an air bomber.
In May 1943 Black embarked in Brisbane for overseas service. As part of the Empire Air Training Scheme, Ward was one of almost 27,500 RAAF pilots, navigators, wireless operators, gunners, and engineers who joined squadrons based in Britain throughout the course of the war.

After further training in England, Black was posted in May 1944 to No. 106 Squadron of the Royal Air Force. As part of Bomber Command, the squadron flew the four-engine Avro Lancaster heavy bomber. Black joined a crew of British airman, as an air bomber.

On his fifth mission with the squadron, on the night of 7 June 1944, Black and his crew were bombing targets near the city of Caen in Normandy, in support of the D-Day landings. Black’s Lancaster was shot down by heavy flak, and he managed to bail out, but four of his British crewmates were killed in the crash. Only the pilot would survive the war.

Having made it safely to ground near the village of St Jean de Daye, Black was assisted by a local Frenchman and managed to join up with a group of 180 American paratroopers of the US 82nd Airborne Division who had occupied the neighbouring village of Graignes.

On 10 June the German 17th SS Panzergrenadier Division launched an attack on Graignes. Outnumbered by as many as ten to one, the Americans inflicted heavy casualties on the attackers before they were overwhelmed and forced to withdraw. On entering the town the Germans rounded up the executed each of the American wounded, and in reprisal attacks also murdered two French priests and more than 40 local villagers accused of assisting the Allies. They also set fire to the town, razing much of Graignes to the ground.

At some point during the fighting for Graignes Flight Sergeant Black was killed. His remains were buried in the Bayeux War Cemetery. He was 21 years old.

In a letter home to his parents, the commander of No. 106 Squadron wrote that all in the squadron were greatly appreciative of the motives that had brought Flight Sergeant Black so far from home “to help us in our great fight”. His loss would never “be forgotten”.

Black’s name is listed on the Roll of Honour on my left, along with some 40,000 other Australians who died in the Second World War. His photograph is displayed today beside the Pool of Reflection.

This is but one of the many stories of service and sacrifice told here at the Australian War Memorial. We now remember Flight Sergeant Stanley Kevin Black, and all of those Australians – as well as our Allies and brothers in arms – who gave their lives for their nation.

Dr Lachlan Grant
Historian, Military History Section

  • Video of The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (418790) Flight Sergeant Stanley Kevin Black, No. 106 Squadron, Royal Air Force, Second World War (video)