|Object type||Last Post film|
Australian War Memorial
|Place made||Australia: Australian Capital Territory, Canberra, Campbell|
|Date made||20 April 2021|
Second World War, 1939-1945
Item copyright: © Australian War Memorial
This item is licensed under CC BY-NC
|Copying Provisions||Copy provided for personal non-commercial use|
The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (427445) Flight Sergeant George Martin Dann, No. 463 Squadron, Royal Australian Air Force, Second World War.
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 (427445) Flight Sergeant George Martin Dann, No. 463 Squadron, Royal Australian Air Force, Second World War.
427445 Flight Sergeant George Martin Dann, No. 463 Squadron, Royal Australian Air Force
KIA 10 May 1944
Today we remember and pay tribute to Flight Sergeant George Martin Dann.
George Dann was born on 17 March 1914 in Perth, the son of George and Sarah Dann. He had four brothers – Victor, Claude, Edward, and Robert – and a sister, Elwyn. When George was ten years old his parents separated, and his father later remarried.
George attended Fremantle Boys’ School until he was 15, and then began working as a weighbridge clerk and a butcher.
Around 1938 Dann married Mavis Cook. The following year they had a son, Graeme. George served for 12 months with the Militia’s 16th Battalion, but was discharged in 1939.
On 14 July 1942 George Dann enlisted in the Royal Australian Air Force and trained as an air gunner. In April 1943 he was made sergeant, and the following month he embarked for overseas service from Sydney. As part of the Empire Air Training Scheme he was one of almost 27,000 RAAF pilots, navigators, wireless operators, gunners, and engineers, who joined Australian and British squadrons in Britain throughout the course of the war.
Arriving in the United Kingdom in July 1943, Dann underwent thorough training. He was promoted to flight sergeant in October, and the following March joined No. 463 Squadron, RAAF.
On the night of 10 May, 31 Lancaster bombers from 463 and 467 Squadrons departed as part of a major Royal Air Force raid from Waddington, England. Their target was the heavily defended railway yards at Lille in France. Flight Sergeant Dann was the air gunner of Lancaster bomber “JO-E”, one of the squadron’s few aircraft carrying an all-Australian crew.
Twelve Lancasters were lost on the raid altogether, and 50 airmen were recorded as casualties of the mission. Among those killed was Flight Sergeant George Dann. His Lancaster failed to return to base and was presumed to have been shot down by enemy action. After the war it was determined that the aircraft had exploded, with the bulk of the wreckage falling onto a factory south of the target. Also on board were Flight Sergeants John Brown, Colin Eastgate, and George Jones, Pilot Officer William Lewis, Warrant Officer Lloyd McKenzie, and Flying Officer Dudley Ward.
The airmen who died in the raid were buried in the surrounding area. After the war the remains of Commonwealth servicemen buried in Europe were examined and identified where possible. Dann’s remains were identified by his badges of rank, in a common grave at the Forest-sur-Marque Communal Cemetery, about nine kilometres east of Lille. He was reinterred there under the inscription: “Beloved memories of our darling husband and daddy.”
Dann was dearly missed by his family and friends in Australia, who posted in memoriam notices in the newspapers after his death. One, inserted by his wife and infant son, read: “To have you back in the same old way, would be our dearest wish today.” Another, from his friends, recalled “a smile that a pal couldn’t forget”.
George’s brothers served in the Second World War: Victor in the Royal Australian Navy; Claude, Robert, and Eddie in the Australian Imperial Force. Robert Dann died in Crete while serving with the 2/11th Battalion. The others returned home safely.
Flight Sergeant George Dann’s name is listed on the Roll of Honour on my left, along with some 40,000 others from 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 George Martin Dann, and all those Australians who have given their lives in service of our nation.
Editor, Military History Section
Video of The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (427445) Flight Sergeant George Martin Dann, No. 463 Squadron, Royal Australian Air Force, Second World War. (video)