The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (416735) Flying Officer Charles Beatty Anderson DFC, No. 460 Squadron, Royal Australian Air Force, Second World War.

Accession Number AWM2017.1.75
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 16 March 2017
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 Copyright restrictions apply. Only personal, non-commercial, research and study use permitted. Permission of copyright holder required for any commercial use and/or reproduction.

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 Craig Berelle , the story for this day was on (416735) Flying Officer Charles Beatty Anderson DFC, No. 460 Squadron, Royal Australian Air Force, Second World War.

Film order form
Speech transcript

416735 Flying Officer Charles Beatty Anderson DFC, No. 460 Squadron, Royal Australian Air Force
KIA 30 July 1943
No photograph in collection

Story delivered 16 March 2017

Today we pay tribute to Flying Officer Charles Anderson.

Born in Port Adelaide, South Australia, on 1 June 1916, Charles Beatty Anderson was the son of Emil and Mary Anderson. He was working as a clerk for the South Australian Railways at Port Lincoln when the Second World War began, and enlisted in the Royal Australian Air Force on 11 September 1941.

Anderson’s brother Alfred also served in the Royal Australian Air Force, and was awarded a Distinguished Flying Cross for his service in Bomber Command with No. 158 Squadron, Royal Air Force. He survived the war.

Charles Anderson commenced training with the RAAF as a navigator, and embarked for overseas service in August 1942. On arriving in Britain he was posted to No. 460 Squadron, Royal Australian Air Force. As part of the Empire Air Training Scheme, Anderson was one of almost 27,500 RAAF pilots, navigators, wireless operators, gunners, and engineers, who joined Royal Air Force squadrons or Australian squadrons based in Britain throughout the course of the war.

No. 460 Squadron would become the most highly decorated Australian squadron in Bomber Command, and the one that suffered the highest number of casualties. Flying twin-engine Vickers Wellington medium bombers, and then four-engine Avro Lancaster heavy bombers, the squadron lost more than 1,000 men, including almost 600 Australians.

During a bombing raid on Stettin, Germany, in April 1943, the Lancaster in which Anderson was navigator was severely damaged. For his actions during this mission, Anderson was awarded a Distinguished Flying Cross. His citation, shared with pilot Herbert Leonard Furhmann, who was awarded the Distinguished Flying Medal, read:
the aircraft was repeatedly hit by fire from an armed ship. One engine was put out of action, the tail unit was damaged, restricting practically all rudder movements, while a shell penetrated the bomb bay, exploding amongst the incendiaries. Flying Officer Anderson was wounded in the thigh and buttock by splinters of shrapnel which entered his cabin. The situation was perilous but Sergeant Fuhrman decided to attempt to fly the damaged bomber home. Displaying superb airmanship and great endurance he eventually accomplished his purpose, flying the damaged bomber to an airfield in this country where he effected a masterly landing before collapsing at the controls. During the return flight, Flying Officer Anderson, despite his injuries, refused to leave his post and continued his navigational duties, rendering great assistance to his pilot. Both these members of the crew displayed exceptional courage, skill and fortitude in the face of a trying ordeal.
Anderson spent a short period of recovery at the York Military Hospital before returning to duties.

On the night of 29 July 1943, 24 Lancasters from No. 460 Squadron were taking part in large bombing raid as part of an offensive by the Royal Air Force and United States Army Air Force, known as Operation Gomorrah. During the raid Anderson’s Lancaster was shot down over Germany and crashed in the Hamburg area.

Anderson and all six of his crewmates were killed. They included Australians Pilot Officer Herbert Furhmann and Pilot Officer Stuart Scott, Flight Sergeant Arthur Gliddon, and Flight Sergeant Thomas Bent, and British crewmates Sergeant Donald Woods and Sergeant John Doyle.

Only Doyle’s body was recovered from the crash site. He was buried in the British and Commonwealth War Cemetery in Becklingen, Germany.

Charles Anderson was 27 years old. Today he is commemorated upon the Air Forces Memorial overlooking the River Thames. He is also listed here 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 Flying Officer Charles Beatty Anderson, who gave his life for us, for our freedoms, and in the hope of a better world.

Dr Lachlan Grant
Historian, Military History Section

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