454 and 459 RAAF Squadrons
Warrant Officer George Townson AGG
454 RAAF Squadron
Wing Operator / Air Gunner
Service Number 400954
Date of Birth: 13th May 1919
Place of Birth: North Fitzroy - Victoria
Date of Enlistment: 7 December 1940
Place of Enlistment: Melbourne, VIC
Date of Discharge: 26 Nov 1945
Rank on Discharge: Warrant Officer
Posting at Discharge: 454 Squadron
Prisoner of War : YES
[4/12/43 Stalag Luft IVB]
Died: 30th October 2001
CREW : Prisoners of War - 4.12.43 - - Rescued by Russians 23/4/45
Flight Lieutenant David Paul - Pilot (RAAF)
Warrant Officer George Agg - Navigator (RAAF);
Warrant Officer Jim Rennie (RAF- 645357) Wing Operator/Air Gunner; and
Warrant Officer Ralph Simpson - Wing Operator/ Air Gunner (RAAF)
The following information has been provided by George's daughter Janette.
"Hi, I am the daughter of George Townson AGG (who died 30 Oct 2001).
Dad was in a 454 Squadron crew as Observer.
His pilot was Dave Paul when their plane was shot down
over the Mediterranean in 1943, and they ended up in a POW camp in Germany.
I was wondering if you know whether Dave Paul is still alive,
and how to contact him? He would be 87 years old by now.
The following information has been included with permission from Air/Commodore Mark Lax, from his book "Alamein to the Alps - 454 Squadron, RAAF 1941-1945"
That the enemy fighters were using long-range tanks was also only known by a few. Wing Commander Coates later recalled how Group found out from....
.....the Enigma intelligence, which was not known at the time to myself or anyone who might become POW, and indeed to few others. In fact most of our reconnaissances were planned on known information about the enemy intentions. There were what were known as Special Liaison Units at 201 Group, where we called them 'the girls on the roof', and at 247 Wing, Berka. The latter told me in very strict confidence about the Me-109's with long-range tanks, so that we were able to vary our routes into the Aegean - fortunately they were also spotted by one of our crews which helped to hide the source of this information.
The next day, Flight Sergeant Dave Paul's crew were lost in FA548:R, shot down by another Me-109F fighter. With Paul were Warrant Officer George Agg, Warrant Officer Jim Rennie and Warrant Officer Ralph Simpson. It was to have been Paul's final trip on completion of his tour and Rennie was already extended. They were on a recce near Laurion harbour when attacked by two Me-109's. They ditched and were subsequently picked up by a pair of German Arado Ar-196 seaplanes. The Me-109's gun fire hit the starboard wing and the port fuel tank, which subsequently caught alight. Turret gunner Simpson had baled out, but was lost. After rescue and initial interrogation , the three were taken to Athens, then Salonika and finally into a Stalag in Germany.
While 4 December was a tragedy for some it was cause for excitement for others. Warrant Officer Hugh Lloyd completed his tour - the first Squadron member to do so. together, the losses of Horsley and Paul, and the posting of Lloyd would have a profound effect. It was not so much that Horsley and Paul had gone on successive days, but they were both squadron originals and very experienced crews. When Joiner and Clarkson were lost previously, older members of the squadron reassured themselves by reflection that both were comparatively inexperienced. Now that Horsley and Paul had failed to return, that comfort was denied them."