Pilot Officer Walter Frank RAYNOLDS
454 RAAF Squadron
Service No. 412693
Date of Birth: 22 Jul 1921
Place of Birth: GOULBURN, NSW
Date of Enlistment: 20 Jul 1941
Date of Discharge: 4 Jan 1946
Rank: Pilot Officer
A Tribute to Frank Raynolds
This is a tribute to the late Frank Raynolds on behalf of members of the 454 459 RAAF Squadrons association, and in particular, from Jeff Bradley, Jim Laysaght, Peter Matthews, Bill Rawlinson, Ray Riekie, Jack Shipway, Lou Stamper and Mike Tomich.
The above names were some of his close ,mates during his 454 Squadron days and in the main have been able to keep in contact with Frank down through the post war years.
After “Crewing up” and completing operational flying training at Gianaclis, an RAF base near Alexandria in Egypt, Frank’s crew, consisting of Bill Rawlinson (Pilot), Lou Stamper (Navigator/Bomb aimer), and fellow wireless air gunner Ray Riekie, joined No. 454 RAAF Squadron in October 1944 at Falconara on the east coast of Italy.
As an important component of the desert airforce, 454’s role was to provide close support formation bombing to elements of the British 8th Army as they advanced northwards, driving the Germans out of Italy. Frank, as a vital part of his crew, quickly adapted to his operational flying duties. By the time the Squadron ceased its role as a day time close support unit in the mid January 1945, he had participated in 14 day light bombing raids.
January 1945 saw the Squadron undergo an intensive training and conversion program to new responsibilities allocated to it, as it changed over from day light bombing, to night intruder raids. Frank, in company with his crew, carried outsome 20 of these hazardous sorties which were often conducted in the face of intense anti aircraft fire from hostile and angry enemy.
Throughout all these arduous, difficult and dangerous times, his happy-go-lucky nature showed through. He became valued and well respected member of his crew in particular, and the Squadron generally.
He loved life, lived it to the full, worked hard, and when he could, played hard.
He was a man of his word. He stuck by his mates. He could be relied upon to complete any task given him. He was a man’s man, but liked by all. He was a Dinky-Di Aussie.
Frank, old mate, you will not be forgotten. We will always remember you as the bloke from Araluen, with the fair hair, the open face, the big grin, the pack of cards, and Eternal question “How about a hand of poker?”.
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old;
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.
Lest we forget..
Frank Raynolds and Jim Laysaght Italy 1945
Frank Raynolds and Jim Laysaght Anzac day 1972