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Flight Sergeant Alan Cryer 436545, Royal Australian Air Force, 12 Squadron
Second World War Air Force Australian
By Philip Baldock

United Kingdom

Flight Sergeant Alan Cryer
View record on CWGC
Died 4th March 1945, buried Cambridge City Cemetery
(copyright unknown)

Flight Sergeant 436545 Alan Cryer 12 Squadron, Wickenby was born the 26th of March, 1923 at Subiaco, Perth, Western Australia, the son of Walter and Lily Cryer.

From 1935 to 1938 he was educated at Perth Boys School where he was a keen sportsman, playing football and cricket, and enjoyed swimming. After leaving school he found employment as a shipping agent with R.G. Lynn Ltd in Fremantle and was resident at Cottelsoe.

On the 4th of August 1942, he enlisted into 2 Platoon, 24 Company Australian Army Service Corps, 13 AIF Brigade with the service number WX32207. However, his army service was very short, as on the 5th of February 1943 he enlisted into the Royal Australia Air Force to train as an air gunner and following initial training, he departed in August 1943 to continue his training Canada and continuing thence, ten months later to Britain, one of 27,500 Australians who joined RAF or RAAF squadrons based in Britain.

Following more training, he was posted in February 1945 to 12 Squadron, flying Avro Lancasters as a Mid Upper Gunner from Wickenby, Lincolnshire.

On the night of the 3rd/4th of March, 1945, the Luftwaffe launched “Operation Gisella”, the purpose of which was for a mass number of nightfighters to mount an intruder operation against Bomber Command in Eastern England. The operation was a costly failure as, although twenty four RAF aircraft were shot down and nine more damaged, the Luftwaffe lost twenty two of their nightfighters with their crews - a loss that they could not afford.

One of the RAF aircraft shot down was Lancaster ME323 PH-P of 12 Squadron in which F/Sgt Cryer was a crew member. He had been with the squadron for less than a week and had not yet flown an operational sortie. Sent out on a cross country night navigation exercise, the Lancaster was shot down by Lt Gunther Wolf (IX/NJG5), his 4th victory, 01.10, diving vertically into the ground between Stockwith and Blyton, near Hull, Yorkshire.

There were no survivors from the crew -

P/O Arthur Glyndywr Thomas (P);

F/Sgt Thomas McCaffray (F/E)

F/Sgt Ronal Leslie Horstmann (Nav) (RAAF);

F/Sgt Walter Noel Pridmore (A/B) (RAAF);

F/Sgt George Edward Davis (W/Op) (RAAF);

F/Sgt Alan Cryer (A/G)(RAAF);

F/Sgt Alexander Harold Weston (A/G) (RAAF).

The Australian crew members were all buried next to each other in Cambridge City Cemetery.

A memorial to the crew, surmounted by a propeller from the aircraft has been placed next to the East Stockwith War Memorial.

The Last Post Ceremony is presented in the Commemorative area of the Australian War Memorial, Canberra 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 and on the 22nd of October, 2017, the name of Flight Sergeant 436545 Alan Cryer was read out by Richard Cruise and the last post sounded. A video of this event can be found on the Australian War Memorial website - 

Stockwith War Memorial and Lancaster ME323 Memorial (left) (copyright unknown)