Rank & Name: F/L Hervey Rae Longmuir - RAAF
Date of Death: 08/07/1993


Hervey as he appeared in the Who's Who in Australia Book - circa 1970... As a board member of the Reserve Bank of Australia.



Aircraftsman 2nd Class

Leading Aircraftsman
Pilot Officer
Flying Officer
Flight Lieutenant (Acting)
Flight Lieutenant (Temp)
Flight Lieutenant (Confirmed)


Instructional (U.K)
Instructional (Australia)

Reservist: Hervey enrolled in the RAAF Reserve on 31st May 1940 at No.2 Recruitment Centre in Sydney as the Battle of France was all but lost and the evacuation of troops from Dunkirk was well under way. This was just over a month after the first intake of enlisted men into the RAAF proper (29th April 1940) began their training under the new Empire Air Training Scheme (EATS). In November the RAAF introduced a 21 lesson pre-training course for new reservists (to brush up skills on trigonometry, physics and mathematics) and it appears that those who had previously enrolled were also required to undertake these lessons. On the top of Hervey's May 1940 enrolement form is a scribed and stamped note "O.K - Course Complete - RS Philon - F/O: Education Officer - Date 12 Dec 1940". It would not be until the new year that he was called up for service.

Enlisted Air Crew - Pilot: Hervey returned to No.2 RC on 6th Jan 1941and enlisted in the RAAF - Permanent Forces (Citizen Air Force). He was mustered as Air Crew V (P) - Pilot: Rank AC2 (Aircraftsman 2nd Class) and was sent to No.2 ITS (Initial Training School) at Lindfield, New South Wales. His training under EATS was about to begin.

Two months later he was posted to Narromine and No.5 EFTS (Elementary Flight Training School) to receive his basic pilot training, having been remustered Air Crew II (P) - Pilot: Rank LAC (Leading Aircraftsman) 1st March 1941.

Remustered "Observer": Perhaps Hervey's flight skills weren't quite up to scratch in the given time frame to warrant further pilot training or perhaps his instructors saw that he had other capabilities better suited for Observer training but in any case it appears that a month after arriving at flying school he was remustered as Air Crew V (O) - Observer and posted back to No.2 ITS Lindfield. This was not uncommon as the RAAF had more than enough reservists ready to become pilots (in fact the majority of) so pilot trainees were often remustered to bolster up the numbers of other (not so popular) duties if they weren't quite up to speed. Very likely, it was Hervey's age that was the defining factor considering he was 29 years old. In the UK in 1940, when the RAF were asking for volunteers for training as an "airmen pilot", one of the requirements was that the applicant had not reached their 29th birthday, whereas for "observer" the maximum age was 33... No doubt it would have been a disapointment for him but only those most suited (quickly enough) went on to earn their pilot wings.

(above) Hervey with fellow cadets at Narromine E.F.T.S, eager to fly.

According to this 454-459 Sqn RAAF website, only 35% of the first 40,000 enlisted men woud be given the opportunity to train for pilot, 24% as Observers/Navigators, 40% as WAGS (Wireless Air Gunners) and perhaps the last 1% washed out? It also states that mustering (assigned duty - ie. pilot, observer etc) was based on alphabetical order in the early courses... and enlistment for duty was based on perceived abilities to handle certain technical training and personal characteristics.

Off to Canada: No.2 ED (Embarkation Depot) was Hervey's next port of call. On 25th May he embarked for Canada and his advanced training as an Observer. Three weeks later he arrived at No.1 Manning Depot in Toronto and proceeded to Moncton and No.1 AOS (Air Observer School). On 12/09/41 he was signed off as qualified (87.2%), with effect from 14/09/41. He then made his way to Fingal and No.4 B.A.G.S (Bombing and Gunnery School) where training was carried out on Fairy Battle aircraft. Graduate Air Observers received an additional 12 weeks of bombing training, on top of the 6 weeks of gunnery. Perhaps the course had been streamlined by the time Hervey arrived as his log book shows that for the six weeks he was there, he undertook both gunnery and bombing training at the same time. It was here that he was promoted to the rank of Sergeant and remustered Air Observer, Astro-Navigation on the 24th Oct. The following day he was awarded his Air Observer's Badge and on the 26th he arrived at his final posting in Canada which was at Pennefield Ridge and No.2 ANS (Air Navigational School). Training was carried out on the Avro-Anson aircraft and upon completion he was promoted to the rank of Pilot Officer on the 24th Nov. 1941 and discharged from the RAAF upon receiving a commission into the RAF.

Operational Service: With his training complete and his competency levels more than adequate, Hervey was ready to begin operations. On 13th Dec 1941, he left Canada for the UK and on the 27th he reported to No.3 PRC (Personnel Reception Centre) Bournemouth, where many of the Australians and Canadians first reported for duty. Given that this was two weeks after leaving Canada, he must have been given some 'leave' time, however it would still be a over a month until he arrived at his next posting, an operational unit. On 28th Jan 1942, he joined 59 Sqn at RAF Thorney Island with the following RAAF personnel. P/O M. Charlton, P/O N. Barson, P/O H.A.L Moran, P/O R.A Partridge and P/O R.D Stevenson. 59 Squadron were in the process of moving to RAF North Coates, where they would begin operations with the Lockheed Hudson Mk.V in March.


Further Information

Hervey Joins 59 Squadron: In Jan 1942, 59 was non operational whilst new aircrews were being trained up to replace those who had left to fly the old 59 Sqn Hudson Mk.III's to the Far East. After arriving to RAF Thorney Island on the 28th, Hervey was assigned to "B-flight"under the command of S/Ldr R.F. Douglas (Canadian). The Squadron were preparing to relocate and on the 30th he joined the rest of the Squadron at RAF North Coates. His first flight was on 14th Feb with S/Ldr Douglas (posted in from 407 Sqn - 12/01/42) aboard Hudson AM836 - TR-N, noted as "X-Country, North Coates - Thorney Island - Thorney Island - North Coates". He flew his next four flights with Douglas, then with P/O Thesiger and P/O Neville Barson (Australian), all marked as training, instrument checks or air tests.

59 Sqn returned to operations on the 1st March 1942 with the Lockheed Hudson Mk.V. During March, Hervey flew no operations and only two training flights are noted for this month with a total of 2hrs 20mins flying time in total on the 25th and 30th. It appears that Hervey continued to train thoughout the period of April with only one operational flight with F/O Dunkerley which was an Air/Sea Rescue on the 22nd but due to poor weather they returned to base. Interestingly, Dunkerley was promoted from F/O to S/Ldr, for on the 24th, Hervey's next flight with him notes him as such and there after... It appears that he took command of 'B' Flight from S/Ldr Douglas, who was posted back to 407 Sqn wef 03.03.42. During the month of April, other than P/O Barson, the Australian pilots that he flew with were P/O Murray Charlton & P/O H.A.L 'Tim' Moran.

59 Sqn and many other units operating with Coastal Command, had in early 1942 many fresh crews and airmen from the Commonwealth nations. From mid to late 1941, the first recruits began to finish their training under the Empire Training Scheme from Australia and Canada, and they began to filter through to the RAF Coastal units. These new airmen (of which Hervey was one) were tasked primarily with training for the first couple of months, to bring them up to the highest "opeartional" standard possible and maximise their chances of survival. These men were to replace the experienced crews who had been reassigned to other theatres of the war.

It's possible that the extent of Hervey's training post arrival to 59 Sqn was due to having been ear-marked for the post of squadron "Bomber Leader". Between January and May '42, Hervey flew only one operational flight and in May he was posted to No.1 AAS Manby for the No.38 Bomber Leaders course. His last log book entry for May is on the 7th and the ORB states that on the 9th, he was posted to Manby. After passing the course and signed off as "Grade A" on the 29th, he returned to RAF North Coates and commenced duties as Bomber Leader as of June 1942. Considering that Hervey had no "operational" experience with bombing at this time, it is quite an achievement but it appears that he was more than capable for the task...

June 1942 consisted of a series of air tests, practice bombing and formation flying practice with the S/L Dunkerley and crew and P/O Barson and crew. Hervey's second operational sortie was the June 22nd 1000 Bomber Raid on Bremen with S/L Dunkerley and crew in TR-X. They carried with them 2x250lb and 5x100lb bombs and delivered them to the Deschimag U-Boat yards from 12000ft. The crew on that night are pictured below, (L-R) P/O Pennycruick - P/O Longmuir - S/L Dunkerley - Sgt Drabble. For more info on the Bremen mission, visit the Hudson History page.

July 1942 there were more practice flights and air tests, including an air test on the 24th of the Hudson Mk.VI with W/C Bartlett and crew. July saw two operational "Strike" sorties to Terschelling for Hervey, both with S/L Dunkerley and crew. As noted above, in June 1943, Hervey relinquished his position as Bomber Leader on the Squadron after 12 months duty. It is unknown at this stage, who was his replacement... W/Cdr Bartlett A.F.C was posted to No.111 OTU in the Bahamas a week after writing this note in Hervey's logbook. His replacement was W/Cdr Gilchrist DFC

August 1942 Hervey continued to carry out his duties as Bomber Leader with practice bombing flights, various X-country and air test flights. One operational sortie was carried out with S/L Dunkerley and crew with a "Rover" to Borkum. August also saw the Squadron convert to the Liberator aircraft and by the 2nd of Sept, the whole Squadron had relocated back to RAF Thorney Island to begin training up. It appears that S/L Dunkerley and crew, took the Squadrons first Liberator, a Mk.III variant to Thorney Island on the 29th, noted in Hervey's logbook as LV342 'A'. I have come across sources that have this aircraft coded as V/59. The 'A' coding appears to be a hangover from its service with 120 Sqn as A/120. Perhaps it wasn't changed until the Squadron began operations on the Liberator in late October. S/L Dunkerley had been Hervey's crew captain for the most part since joining 59 but on the 2nd of Sept, Dunkerley was posted to Transit Squadron, Gibralta for flying duties.

Hudson Crews United & Liberated! After conversion to the Liberator, crews were loosely combined to fill out the larger crew requirements. The Hudson had a crew of 4 but the Liberator Mk.III needed a crew of 7 or more. Hervey's new crew was an all Australian outift, consisting of F/O Murray Charlton (pilot), F/O Neville Barson (2nd pilot), F/Sgt F.J. Bradley (WAG), Sgt J.L Lees (WAG), Sgt W.S. "Dick" Massina (WAG) and P/O G.M. Harvey (WAG). P/O Harvey had only recently returned to the Squadron from Central Gunnery School, to undertake duties as Gunnery Leader on 29.10.42.

F/O Barson was soon given a crew of his own again and P/O C.E. Blair RCAF became his second pilot. With Hervey as Nav and W.op/AG's from Blair's crew (Sgt's Pilon & Bailey) and from Barson's crew (Sgt's Massina & Lees). This became Hervey's regular outfit.



Operations on the Flying Fortress: Due to delays in the delivery of Liberators to the RAF, the resources available were stretched thin. It was decided that all Mk.III Liberators would be upgraded to full VLR status (G.R. Mk.V), which would take about three months. 59's fleet were reallocated to 120 Sqn to help bolster their numbers and it was originally planned that 59 would re-equip with new Halifax bombers... However, there was a surplus of B-17 Flying Fortresses available, so it was with some of these that 59 Squadron rearmed on Dec. 13th 1942. These a/c had only recently arrived to Bomber Command but they were found to be unsuitable for high level bombing...

59 Sqn crews had been given the task of testing a new bombsight for HQ, Coastal Command, so as Bomber Leader, Hervey was busy gathering the results. For the first half of the month, low level tests were carried out with the Liberator and on the 16th, he and W/C Bartlett delivered the results to HQCC.





By late October, the powers that be within H.Q, C.C had decided that the lengthy missions on Coastal Liberator squadrons, were far to strenuous for one navigator, so a 2nd was added... Barson's crew remains 7 till August 8th, when a Sgt F.G. Stoneman joins the crew. It's not clear what his muster was at this stage, perhaps an Engineer, or W.op/AG for the dorsel turret. When crews began flying with 2 Nav/B's, manning the dorsel turret became the job of the Nav/B not on navigation duty. Navigators took turns, manning the gun/navigating, usually working about 4hr shifts etc.

Final Operations on 59: Sept, 1943 saw Hervey fly his last operations with 59 Sqn, the last being on 26th Sept. By this stage, F/O Blair had been posted to No.2 PDC, on the 17th, pending posting overseas, his replacement was F/O Riach. The Sept 26th operation was a convoy escort of ON203. ORB states...

"C.V met & escorted for 9hrs 17mins in fair weather to position 5725N2105W"

It appears that B'Flight along with Hervey & crew took their two weeks leave at the end of Sept, returning to flying on Oct. 17th. They returned to the Squadron just as things were heating up for A'Flight. A convoy battle began on the 16th over C.V ON206, in which 59 Sqn crews took part in sinking 3 U/boats. This would become the last of the great Wolfpack attacks in the North Atlantic and a disaster for the Ubootwaffe... (read more)

Hervey & crew flew four practice bombing & training flights, the last with Hervey as Navigator on the 21st. With his operational tour nearing completion, He was posted to No.1 A.A.S, Manby on 4.11.1943 as a Bombing Instructor.




Rest In Peace