The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (415079) Pilot Officer Herbert Leonard Fuhrmann, No. 460 Squadron, Royal Australian Air Force, Second World War.

Accession Number AWM2017.1.188
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 07 July 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 (415079) Pilot Officer Herbert Leonard Fuhrmann, No. 460 Squadron, Royal Australian Air Force, Second World War.

Film order form
Speech transcript

415079 Pilot Officer Herbert Leonard Fuhrmann, No. 460 Squadron, Royal Australian Air Force
Killed in flying battle 30 July 194
Photograph UK0079

Story delivered 7 July 2017

Today we pay tribute to Pilot Officer Herbert Fuhrmann.

Herbert Leonard Fuhrmann was born on 27 November 1917 in Collie, a township in the south-west region of Western Australia, to Frederick and Margeret Furhmann.

Prior to enlisting in the Royal Australian Air Force on 23 June 1941, Furhmann was employed at the Midland Railway Workshops, which were the main workshops for the Western Australian Government Railways.
After enlisting, Fuhrmann commenced training as a pilot. Following his initial training in Australia, 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.
After his arrival in Britain, Fuhrmann 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-engine Vickers Wellington medium bombers and then four-engine 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 Furhmann was pilot was severely damaged. For their actions
during this mission, Furhmann and his navigator, Flying Officer Charles Anderson, were awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross. Their citation reads:
One night in April 1943, Flying Officer Anderson and Sergeant Fuhrman were navigator and pilot respectively of an aircraft detailed to attack Stettin. Whilst over the Baltic Sea, 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.

Having recovered from this episode, Furhmann returned to duties.

A few months later, on the night of 29 July 1943, 24 Lancasters from No. 460 Squadron were taking part in large bombing raid. The raid was part of bombing offensive – known as Operation Gomorrah –by the Royal Air Force and United States Army Air Force targeting the German city of Hamburg.
Furhmann’s Lancaster was shot down and crashed in the Hamburg area. All seven of Furhmann’s crewmates – fellow Australians Flying Officer Anderson, Pilot Officer Stuart Scott, and Flight Sergeants Arthur Gliddon and Thomas Bent; and British crewmates Sergeants Donald Woods and John Doyle – were killed.

Herbert Fuhrmann was 25 years old.

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

Having no known grave, Furhmann is commemorated upon the Air Forces Memorial overlooking the River Thames; the Runnymede memorial, which lists 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 Pilot Officer Herbert Leonard Fuhrmann, who gave his life for us, for our freedoms, and in the hope of a better world.

Lachlan Grant
Historian, Military History Section

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