Warrant Officer Maxwell Graham COGHLAN
454 RAAF Squadron
Service No. 428104
Date of Birth: 30 Dec 1922
Place of Birth: Launceston, Tasmania
Date of Enlistment: 04 Dec 1942
Date of Discharge: 15 Feb 1946
Rank: Warrant Officer
Date of Death: 10 Nov 2011
Warrant Officer Bob Mitchell, Pilot
Warrant Officer Max Knight, Nav(B)
Warrant Officer Max Coghlan , WOP/AG
Flight Sergeant ‘Taffy’ Evans , AG
Below is a recent letter to the Association from Max’s son Tim
It was with great pleasure I found a copy of the 454-459 Squadrons Newsletter in my mail box yesterday.
In recent times I have seen many older copies among documents I am sorting.
Sadly, this is due to the death of my father Max ( Maxwell Graham Coghlan) ,ex 454 Sqdn, on 10th November 2011.
I am the the only child and surviving family.
There is a plaque in the War Graves garden at Cornelian Bay, Hobart which I think says says the D.o.D as 9-11-2011, and sometimes I smile and wonder if Dad could bear that.
So I am carefully packing Dads books ( some heavily annotated), records of service, maps, and photos, along with his dress uniform with wings and greatcoat, as I am winding up the family estate, selling the home of over 50 years, and at 63 years, moving on.
Congratulations on the the website, you have done a magnificent job, and while I was assisting Dad in scanning documents and photographs to share with Bob Mitchell, I never dared hope the effort would find a place on the internet, thereby preserving an important piece of history. There are many more photographs in a decent album, including 2 of the flypast at end of war taken from rear "hotel" of a Baltimore looking down, with the bombed out docks and ships on their side in the harbour in view and another aircraft trailing.
I remember visiting Bob with both my parents and going with Bob, who was like an Uncle to me, to see him fly his microlight aircraft. I asked Bob to take me up but Dad blanched, gripped my arm and said a firm " No!". Later he confessed he could not bear it if there was an accident that took both his son and his best friend.
Unlike many parents returning from war, my father not only spoke of his war experience, but made sure I absorbed as much a possible in great detail, and at times in his last years I would beg him to put it away long enough to enjoy a football match together.
As I type, his descriptions of entire missions drift into my mind, as I do have much of what he told and retold in my head, and many books etc being kept secure with me.
There are 2 copies of "Alamein to the Alps" here, one with many sticky notes.
I believe Dad had issue with some of the "facts" and discussed these at length with Bob Mitchell, and may well have been in contact with Mark Lax at some point.
He was funny like that, a stickler for detail, yet very relaxed in most ways.
I typed up near 100 pages of his description of the war, which eventually became his D.V.A. pension submission as " Member Statement".
It contains much fine detail, and he said I could release what I thought appropriate after his death. I will make time to read it again, after my immediate priorities pass.
He was an amazing father, and post war left a legacy of schools funded and built throughout Australia, for which he received an Order of Australia for "Services to Education".
That O.A. is attached to his medals, which I wore to a Dawn Service in New Zealand last year, but I don't think he would expect to have O.A. added to his name in any publication of the
I will join the Association, and indeed may well do it soon using the online option.
At the moment I am up to my ears in huge amounts of documentation to be packed up and sorted later.
Thank you again for sending the newsletter, and I would dearly love to speak with Bob Mitchell, or family, as I have had no news since calling Bob to advise of Dad's death.
I have that phone number...somewhere!!
For your information I am ex Army Air Supply 1969, being a "Dispatcher Air", the only logical thing to do at that time having been given the gift of a love of aircraft by Dad.
I have had the good fortune to travel widely and have been to a few Air Shows including Farnborough, Reno while living in both the U.K. and the U,S.A., and more recently several trips to N.Z. to Wanaka and Blenheim. At the last show I was able to see a newly rebuilt Anson flying, set up as a gunnery and radio operator training aircraft.
It's good to know Penny has a good group to help with the Association now.
I had feared that it may slowly pass, along with it's incredible history.
If I can assist further in any way, please feel to contact me.
Kindest regards thanks for what you do,