The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (421050) Flying Officer Alan Frank Reid, No. 467 Squadron, Royal Australian Air Force, Second World War.

Accession Number AWM2019.1.1.65
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 6 March 2019
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 (421050) Flying Officer Alan Frank Reid, No. 467 Squadron, Royal Australian Air Force, Second World War.

Speech transcript

421050 Flying Officer Alan Frank Reid, No. 467 Squadron, Royal Australian Air Force
Killed in flying battle 3 March 1945

Today we pay tribute to Flying Officer Alan Frank Reid.
Born in Ballarat on 11 November 1915, Alan Frank Reid was the son of William and Alice Reid.

Little is known of his early life. In November 1939 he married Myrtle Mortimer and together they lived in the Sydney suburb of Canterbury.

On 7 December 1941, Reid enlisted in the Royal Australian Air Force and began training as a navigator.

In May 1942 he left Sydney for overseas service, first travelling to Canada where he undertook further training, and then to Britain. As part of the Empire Air Training Scheme, Reid 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.

Following his arrival in England in November 1942, Reid undertook further specialist training. On one training flight, the plane in which he was a crewmember crashed into the sea. Reid suffered from exposure but returned to duty within days of the incident.

On 7 June 1943, Reid was posted to No. 460 Squadron. As part of the RAFs Bomber Command, No. 460 Squadron was equipped with four-engined Avro Lancaster heavy bombers.

By September 1943, Reid had completed a full tour of duty with 460 Squadron, flying on 28 operational missions over occupied Europe. He was transferred to 27 Operational Training Unit, where he served as a navigational instructor.

After a short stint at another training unit, in May 1944 Reid commenced a short period working for a base headquarters unit before he requested a return to combat operational duties.

He joined the crew of Squadron Leader Eric Le Page Langlois who was pieced together an experienced crew for his second tour, and together they commenced training to fly the four-engined Avro Lancaster heavy bomber.

In August 1944, Reid and his crew were posted to No. 463 Squadron, an Australian heavy bomber squadron serving in Bomber Command.
Reid flew 10 operations with 463 Squadron, before he and his crew was transferred to No. 467 Squadron in October 1944. Langlois became the commanding officer of the squadron in February the following year.

On 2 March 1945, Reid was awarded the Distinguished Flying Medal, awarded for numerous operations during which he “displayed the utmost fortitude, courage and devotion to duty.”

The following day, Reid was flying on his sixth operation over Europe with 467 Squadron, his 44th in total. He was navigator in a Lancaster piloted by Langlois, taking part in a large raid on the Dortmund-Ems Canal at Ladbergen, Germany.

When the aircraft was shot down by an enemy Messerschmidt ME 110 night fighter, Reid, Langlois, Flying Officer Charles Cameron, Flying Officer Evan Patten, and Flight Sergeant John Scott, were killed. The two survivors, Flying Officer Joseph Willmott and Flying Officer Ray Taylor – who spent the rest of the war as prisoners of war – later reported that all of the crew had managed to bail out and land safely. It is believed that the five who were killed had been murdered by SS troops. Their place of burial is unknown.

Alan Reid was 29 years old.

His name is commemorated upon the Air Forces Memorial overlooking the River Thames. The Runnymede memorial lists all the missing British and Commonwealth airmen with no known grave.

His name appears 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 Alan Frank Reid, 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 (421050) Flying Officer Alan Frank Reid, No. 467 Squadron, Royal Australian Air Force, Second World War. (video)

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