The Life and Death of the crew of
Naughty Nan 467 Sqn RAAF
Big Sky Publishing, 2019
Paperback 224pp RRP $29.99
Reviewer: Neville Taylor, October 2019
Mal Elliott recognised that his uncle’s family rarely mentioned Oscar Furness’ name after his loss over France in 1944. This would consequently result in Oscar’s story not being remembered by his descendants, and it was this fact that prompted Elliott’s research and writing of Fatal Mission.
Realising that Oscar did not stand alone, Elliott has covered the biographies of the seven airmen who crewed Naughty Nan on 3/4 May 1944. These young men come to life from school, enlistment, training schools and courses, postings and missions. With travel visiting abandoned wartime airstrips in Britain, the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan schools in Canada, the villages and villagers close to the crash site as well as descendants of the crew, all avenues of research have been explored.
The events of the last mission have been described in detail by the two who safely parachuted from the aircraft, and eyewitnesses both in the air and on the ground. Even the Luftwaffe aircraft and pilot most likely to have shot Naughty Nan down has been identified. Elliott has always been cognisant of the many people affected by the appearance of every name our Roll of Honour and has followed up with the story of the aircrew families after their loss(es), and how these seven have been ‘memorialised’ in Australia, Britain and France.
The text is very generously enhanced with pertinent photographs on the same page (in many instances exceeding the text in quantity). There are four appendices: Oscar’s personal effects, the two surviving crew who made it back to England, and Naughty Nan’s mission history that includes her idiosyncratic flight performances. Comprehensive Endnotes and a Bibliography complete this most readable work on one of the many RAAF squadrons that were imbedded in Britain’s Bomber Command during the Second World War.
The RUSI – Vic thanks the publisher for making this work available for review.