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[Home] [Profiles 103 Sqn A to M] [Carl R Kelaher RAAF]

S/L Carl R Kelaher RAAF – 103 Squadron / 460 Squadron – Pre War and WW2 - Pilot - 267504

103 Squadron  Kelaher

Kelaher ( pictured above ) was born in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia on the 4 March 1913. He was educated at Randwick Public School in Sydney following which he attended Sydney Technical High School qualifying as an electrical fitter. He then became an apprentice fitter with a Sydney electrical company.

From an early age Carl had ambitions to be a pilot so having completed his apprenticeship he joined the Royal Australian Air Force in January 1936 as an Air Cadet. He was then posted to No 1 Flying Training School at Point Cook where he proved to be a good student pilot and gained his Wings by the end of that year. He then applied to join the Royal Air Force and was accepted as a general duties pilot on a Short Service Commission with effect from the 19 February 1937.

On arrival in England Kelaher underwent initial pilot assessment and was posted to 103 Squadron where he was to remain until March 1939 being promoted to Flying Officer.

He was then selected for training as a flying instructor and transferred to Head Quarters No.50 (Training) Group and in May 1940 was promoted to the rank of Flight Lieutenant.

103 Squadron Kelaher Last day at Abingdon

103 Squadron Kelaher Last day at Abingdon

Two months later he was qualified as a flying instructor being posted to No 26 Empire Flying Training School at Gwelo in Southern Rhodesia. He was promoted to Squadron Leader in December 1941.

By February 1942 his Short Service Commission had expired and Kelaher was placed on the Reserve List of Officers but as the war was still in progress he was automatically re-classified as having been re-called to active service. Later that year Kelaher applied to transfer from the Royal Air Force to the Royal Australian Air Force. His request was given official approval and between December 1942 and March 1943 he attended a refresher flying training course at 3 AFU in the UK.

On 15 May 1943 Kelaher was posted to 1656 HCU at RAF Lindholme and on the 1 June 1943 officially transferred to the RAAF with the rank of Squadron Leader. On the 14 June he was posted, to 460 RAAF Squadron at RAF Binbrook

460 Squadron Kelaher and crew

460 Squadron Kelaher and crew. Kelaher 2nd from right

Whilst with 460 Squadron he and his crew flew a number of operations but were sadly lost on the 4 September 1943. Took off 1958 3 Sept 1943 from Binbrook. Homebound shot down by a night- fighter and crashed 0241 into marshy ground at Vestager 7 miles WNW of Ringkobing Denmark.

S/L Carl Richard Kelaher RAAF – Pilot – 30 – 460 Sqn - Son of Charles Frederic and Mary Kelaher, husband of Rosalie Phyllis Kelaher of South Kensington, London – Runnymede Memorial.


3/4 September 1943

The attack proved a costly failure

316 Lancasters and 4 Mosquitos despatched to Berlin. Because of the high casualty rates among Halifaxes and Stirlings in recent Berlin raids the heavy force was composed only of Lancasters. 22 Lancasters were lost, nearly 7.0 per cent of the force. The Mosquitos were used to drop 'spoof' flares well away from the bombers' route to attract German night fighters. The raid approached Berlin from the north-east but the marking and bombing were, once again, mostly short of the target. That part of the bombing which did reach Berlin's built-up area fell in residential parts of Charlottenburg and Moabit and in the industrial area called Siemensstadt. Several factories were hit and suffered serious loss of production and among 'utilities' put out of action were major water and electricity works and one of Berlin's largest breweries.

32 OTU Wellingtons, 6 Mosquitos and 6 Halifaxes to an ammunition dump in the Forêt de Raismes, near Valenciennes; 44 Stirlings and 12 Halifaxes minelaying off Denmark, in the Frisians and off the Biscay coast; 4 Mosquitos to Düsseldorf and 7 OTU Whitleys on leaflet raids. 1 Wellington, 1 Stirling and 1 Whitley were lost.

Compiled by David Fell . Thanks to the R.A.A.F 460 Squadron Lancaster EE138 Coded AR-E2 E for “Easy” website for their additional info and support re this item and also the Lancaster crew photo.




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