The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (420874) Flight Sergeant Henry John Gill, No. 460 Squadron, Royal Australian Air Force, Second World War.

Places
Accession Number AWM2018.1.1.212
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 31 July 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 Greg Kimball, the story for this day was on (420874) Flight Sergeant Henry John Gill, No. 460 Squadron, Royal Australian Air Force, Second World War.

Speech transcript

420874 Flight Sergeant Henry John Gill, No. 460 Squadron, Royal Australian Air Force
Killed in flying battle 2 January 1944
Story delivered 31 July 2018


Today we remember and pay tribute to Flight Sergeant Henry John Gill.

Born on 1 October 1912 in the Sydney suburb of Epping, Henry Gill was the son of Samuel and Bridget Gill.

Gill enlisted in the Royal Australian Air Force on 6 December 1941 in Sydney when he was 29 years old. Prior to his enlistment, he had been working as a dispatch clerk while living in Wentworthville in Sydney’s west.

Gill began training as a wireless operator and air gunner. Following his initial training in Australia he soon 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 he completed further specialist training before being 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.

On the night of 2 January 1942, the Lancaster in which Gill was the wireless operator and air gunner took off from RAF Binbrook to take part in a large raid on Berlin. Just after take-off, Gill’s Lancaster – fully laden with bombs for the mission ahead – banked sharply and dived uncontrollably into the ground, exploding on impact.

Gill and all six of his fellow crewmates were killed. The Australian members of the crew were buried side by side in the RAF plot at Cambridge cemetery.

Henry Gill was 31 years old.

His name is listed here on the Roll of Honour on my left, among almost 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 Henry John Gill, 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 (420874) Flight Sergeant Henry John Gill, No. 460 Squadron, Royal Australian Air Force, Second World War. (video)