The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (436545) Flight Sergeant Alan Cryer, No. 12 Squadron, Royal Air Force, Second World War.

Accession Number AWM2017.1.295
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 22 October 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 Copy provided for personal non-commercial use

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 (436545) Flight Sergeant Alan Cryer, No. 12 Squadron, Royal Air Force, Second World War.

Speech transcript

436545 Flight Sergeant Alan Cryer, No. 12 Squadron, Royal Air Force
Killed in flying battle 4 March 1945

Story delivered 22 October 2017

Today we pay tribute to Flight Sergeant Alan Cryer.

Alan Cryer was born on 26 March 1923, in the Perth suburb of Subiaco, to Walter and Lily Cryer.

He attended Perth Boys School, where he was a keen sportsman, playing football and cricket, and enjoying swimming. Following his schooling he worked as a shipping clerk for R.G. Lynn Limited in Fremantle.

Cryer enlisted in the Royal Australian Air Force on 5 February 1943, at the age of 19, and began training as an air gunner.

After his initial training in Australia, in August 1943 he left Melbourne 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.

Cryer’s journey took him first to Canada, where he arrived in mid-September 1943. After ten months of training in Canada, he travelled to Britain, where he undertook further specialist training before he was posted to No. 12 Squadron, Royal Air Force, in late February 1945.

As part of the Royal Air Force’s Bomber Command, No. 12 Squadron was equipped with four-engined Avro Lancaster heavy bombers.

On the night of 3 March 1945, the Lancaster in which Cryer was the mid upper gunner was undertaking a training flight and was shot down near Stockwith, Lincolnshire. Cryer and all six of his fellow crewmates – Australian Flight Sergeants Ronald Horstmann, Walter Pridmore, George Davis and Alexander Weston; and British crewmates Pilot Officer Arthur Thomas and Flight Sergeant Thomas McCaffrey – were killed.

The bodies of the crew were recovered from the crash and Cryer and his Australian crewmates were buried side by side in the RAF plot at Cambridge city cemetery.

Alan Cryer had been with the squadron for less than a week. He was 21 years old.

His name is 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 Flight Sergeant Alan Cryer, 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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