Francis 'Frank' Oswald Raymond, Warrant Officer 405057

Francis 'Frank' Raymond was born 22/4/1919 in Boonah, Queensland. He enlisted 6/1/1941 and was taken POW 25/3/43 (after being shot down in Wellington LB172, Mk VIII, 'U'). He was interned in the famous Stalag Luft 3 and was a member of the Australian team in an Ashes test match and helped bowl England out for a narrow win. He was a prisoner of war in Stalag Luft 3, 6 and 357 and was released on 18/4/45, and discharged from the RAAF on 1/10/1945

Frank's wartime service record is available for viewing at the National Archives of Australia website:view digital copy type in his service number & name: 405057 (in the search line, top right)

           Frank and his Captain, J Shierlaw also played in an Ashes (Australia v. England) cricket match in Stalag Luft 6 in July 1943. It is written about in Sir Pelham Warner's annual, "Cricketer"; the match appears to have been the second in a series. J. G. Shierlaw (Medindie, South Australia) captained the Australian XI, and Burbridge the English team. The game lasted two days, and ended up most dramatically. Australians, going in first, made 88, followed by Englishmen with 111. Australian second innings, 99, and with the Englishmen only needing 74 runs to win and two hours to do it in. Raymond and Connolly, the Australian bowlers, brought the innings to an exciting finish, for one wicket after the other fell, and with the score at nine for 62. England needed only 12 runs for victory. Last man in (Harris) gave a difficult chance, and Smith dived full length and brought off one of the finest catches of the game, which ended by Australia winning by three runs.

There are a number of accounts of the dramatic circumstances of his mission that lead to being a POW:

From the 458 RAAF Squadron unit history 'We find and Destroy': Two aircraft were lost on the night of the 24th [March 1943 - Malta] ...Sgt Shierlaw's ...experienced difficulties coming home [from a search for shipping] and was being sent bearings from Malta when all contact with him was lost. An Italian broadcast two days later said "A British torpedo-carrying plane hit by anti-aircraft fire off Trapani fell near Paceso. The crew of six were captured"/ This was thought to be Shierlaw and his crew.'

Additionally: Five aircraft left Luqa, Malta, detailed to carry out armed shipping searches covering the area, East of Sardinia, Maritimo, Palermo and Naples. No important sightings made. Two aircraft failed to return (LB172 'U' and HX522 'K'). LB172 was brought down by flak and crash-landed Trapani, Sicily.

AUS416107 Sgt (Capt./Pilot) John Gow SHIERLAW RAAF - PoW - 357/918 AUS401517 P/O (2nd Pilot) Hugh Tannahill LAMBIE RAAF - PoW - L3/1223 (Leg injury) AUS407906 Sgt (Nav.) Reginald White MELLOR RAAF - PoW - 357/915 AUS405057 Sgt (W./Op./Air Gnr.) Francis Oswald RAYMOND RAAF - PoW - 357/916 R/88517 Sgt (S.E./Op.) John Thomas CROUCH RCAF - PoW - L6/894 NZ41621 Sgt (W.Op./Air Gnr.) William Paul HERMANSEN RNZAF - PoW - L6/83759 (Both legs broken, head and internal injuries. Believed repatriated).

And from: '458 SQUADRON RAAF WORLD WAR 2 FATALITIES'

Date of Crash : 25 March 1943 Source: AWM 64 1/279 AWM 237 (63) AWM 54 779/3/129 Part 11 We Find and Destroy by Peter Alexander : Appendix 111 Aircraft Type: Wellington Serial number: Radio call sign: FU – U Unit: 458 Sqn RAAF Summary: The 458 Sqn ORB records the following “On the night of 24/25th March 1943, five special Wellingtons torpedo carrying aircraft carried out an armed shipping search covering an area East of Sardinia, Maritime, Palermo and Naples. Although the area was thoroughly searched no important sightings were made. Unfortunately two of our aircraft failed to return to base at Malta. (PO Buchanan & crew and Sgt Shierlaw and crew). Aircraft “U” which was on patrol between Maritime and Naples reported that distress signals on the sea had been seen in position 39.33N and 14.00E (approx 60 miles south of Naples) presumably where aircraft “K” had ditched. Subsequently aircraft “U” also experienced difficulty and was being sent bearings from Malta until all contact with the aircraft was lost.” Crew: RAAF 416107 Sgt J G Shierlaw, Captain (Pilot) RAF PO Lambie, (2nd Pilot) RAAF 407906 Sgt R W Mellor, (Navigator) RAAF 405057 Sgt F O Raymond, (Wireless Air Gunner) RCAF Sgt J Crouch, (SE/Operator) RNZAF Sgt W P Hermansen, (Rear Gunner)

The 458 Operations Record Book (ORB) also records “ An Italian broadcast communiqué on 28/3 stated “a British torpedo carrying plane was hit by ack-ack fire off Trapani and fell near Paceso (near Trapani). The crew of six were captured.” In the absence of more definite information it may be assumed that this was our aircraft “U” (Sgt Shierlaw) and that the crew were now all POW’s.” Sgt Shierlaw (later WO) who was a POW of the Italians died on 19/4/45 while a POW of the Germans. He is buried in the 1939-1945 War Cemetery,Berlin. Both Sgt Mellor and Sgt Raymond who were also POW’s survived the war. In a 1945 report the then WO Mellor stated : “While on patrol off the western coast of Italy we picked up a distress signal from a plane on the same patrol. We followed up a QDM given from base (Malta) to give assistance as necessary. Sighted a green very light but after considerable searching found nothing more. Turned for base. Received QDM from base. While at approx 2000 feet caught in ground flak. Both engines cut. Plane crash landed at Trapani, Sicily. All captured on abandoning aircraft. Rear Gunner who had both legs broken and head and internal injuries, repatriated from Germany. 2nd Pilot leg injury. Other crew members uninjured. Released on 18/4/45 by 11th Armoured Division, 2nd Army.”