Sergeant Bruce Halligan - 142 Squadron  
   

Sergeant Bruce Halligan - RAAF

 

 On the 29/30th May 1944 Sergeant Bruce Halligan was serving as an Air Gunner on board Wellington Mk. X LN-318 when it took off from Amendola, Italy  to bomb the airfield at Feuersbrunn, Fels am Wagram in Austria. It was hit by flak and crashed near Hofstatten, East of Graz, Austria, all of the crew were captured and became Prisoners of War.

The crew consisted of:

Name

Service

Trade

Hometown

POW Camp

F/O Herbert Keen - POW

RAAF

Pilot

Randwick, N.S.W

L3

F/Lt William Todd - POW

RAAF

Navigator

-

L3

Sgt. James Gallagher - POW

RAFVR

Bomb Aimer

Scotland

L7

Sgt. Edward Yeo- POW

RAFVR

W/Op/AG

Peckham, London

L7

Sgt B.T Halligan - POW

RAAF

Air Gunner

-

L7

 

 Sergeant Bruce Halligan RAAF volunteered in 1942 aged 18 for the RAAF,training at Narrandorra,New South Wales before doing his Operational Training at Moreton-in-the-Marsh. Despite hoping to be a pilot, Brian failed his "Scrub test" and was remustered as a rear gunner. In 1943 he was posted to Foggia, Italy. His brother Neville was also in the Air force, serving in 37 squadron.

 At the POW Camp at Bankau,the German officer who shot down the Wellington visited Brian in hospital and said to him in perfect English "You are too young to be fighting the war-you should be home with your mother". Brian replied "Sir, I couldn’t agree more". It was to be six weeks before his mother had the news that he was safe after notification that he was missing. 

 During his time as a POW, Brian represented Australia in Cricket matches between the Australian and English POW’s. Near the end of the war with the Russians taking Berlin, Brian and his pilot "Bruce" Keen met up at Luckenwald near Berlin having been released by the Russians and arrived at American lines at the Elbe River before sailing home on the "Orion".

Brian Halligan and his brother Neville were both talented cricketers and tennis players in their native Australia. Brian retired from his job as a solicitor and he and his brother currently reside in Australia.

 For details of Pilot Bruce Keen's time as a Prisoner of War please see the tribute Through the Wire.

 

 
 

 Photo courtesy of Brian Halligan. Special thanks to Maisie & Adrian Yeo, research by Linda Ibrom