454 and 459 RAAF Squadrons
Squadron Leader Victor CASHMORE
454 RAAF Squadron
Service No. 407165
Date of Birth: 03 Sep 1919
Place of Birth: ADELAIDE, SA
Date of Enlistment: 20 Jul 1940
Date of Discharge: 18 Oct 1945
Rank: Squadron Leader
WW2 Honours and Gallantry: DFC
Date of Death: 08 Dec 2007
OTU Habbaniyah, Iraq. First Op Tour - Oxfords Iraqi revolt Habbaniyah; 113 RAF Sqn Blenheim IVs. West Dessert; Marylands 21 SAF, 1437 Strat. PRU Flt. RAF Malta.
Instructional Tour, 70 RAF OTU, Kenya, Shandur (E), Flt Cmdr Baltimore, Marauder conversions.
Second Op Tour, 454 Sqn RAAF, S Ldr Flt Cmdr, Baltimores III, IV, V, - crewed with S Ldr Geoge Gray, Sqn bombing Leader - Aegean, W Greece recces.
Located Livenza, 6,000 tons - (sunk by sub later), two convoy strikes 1.6.44 and 2.6.44 lading "box" 9 (3 x 454, 6 x 15 SAAF) damaging 1 MV and 2 MVs on the successive days. Conversion of 454 to formation close support role. Transfer of Sqn to D.A.F. and 8th Army, Italy, East coast Gothic line, guns, rail, road, Yugoslavian harbours, shipping. Casmore led 41 such strikes with success. Completed 122 sorties. Casmore/Gray each awarded DFC.
The following information comes from "Alamein to the Alps" by Mark Lax (pages 158-159):
Squadron Leader George Gray, on Vic Cashmore's crew and bomb formation lead continued......
"At 10.10 am on December 1944, Squadron Leader Cashmore and myself took twelve Baltimores, with an escort of five Spitfires, to have a go at warehouses and a possible ship in Pola Harbour.
The anti-aircraft fire was very heavy and most of the aircraft were hit on the run in. One or two aircraft skidded and their bombs fell on an infantry barracks that were near the wharf.
I think we were making our run in, all hell had broken loose and the flak included some 'flaming-onions' - an anti-aircraft rocket which was not very accurate. Suddenly, I was not in communication with my pilot...
...On this run in, the intercom had gone out and the pilot thought his bomb-aimer had 'had it'. he thought he'd make the run on his own but found that the bombs had gone."
The Pola raid and similar escapades by 454 Squadron was not missed by the Press at home in Australia. On Wednesday, 3 January 1945, the Herald reported:
The Baltimore's job was to blast gun positions with high explosive and troop concentrations with fragmentation bombs.
In one spell of good weather they flew 24 sorties on successive days. Early in the month they attacked harbour installations at Pola, near the top of the Adriatric.
Pola was a heavily defended target, and the Baltimores had to fly through 400 or 500 bursts of heavy calibre ack ack.
The Squadron had also operated across the Adriatic in support of Tito's partisans in Jugoslavia, bombing towns sheltering Germans.
Leaders in these operations came from four States: Squadron Leader V. Cashmore, of Henley Beach, S.A.; Squadron Leader P.A. Strickland of West Perth; Flight Lieutenant C.B. Stinson of Canowindra N.S.W.; and Flight Lieut. D.D. Fraser of Myrniong, Vic.