Bertram Max Frankal

Flight Engineer, 466 (Australian) Squadron
Service number 1605533
Died 8 April 1945
Commemorated on Runnymede Memorial
Age 29

Bertram (Bertie) was born on 19 April 1916 in Hackney to Polish born Leon and Augusta née Cohen of Kenton, Middlesex.

Bertie had three half brothers, Baron, Fabian and Harold and a half sister named Rosie. When their mother died, Leon remarried to Augusta and then became a naturalised British citizen in 1916 just before Bertie was born.

Bertie worked as an optician and enlisted in 1942. Bertie was the flight engineer on Halifax NP968 which took off from RAF Driffield on a night operation to attack the shipyards at Hamburg.

Halifax NP968 departed from RAF Driffield at 1945 hours on the night of 8/9th April 1945 to bomb Hamburg, Germany. Twelve aircraft from the Squadron took part in the raid and of these NP 968 failed to return and one crashed on return. It was later reported that the aircraft was shot down by a night fighter and crashed approximately20/30 miles south of Hamburg. Bertram and the pilot Russell Forrest were both killed. After the war, an investigation was carried out and Forrest’s remains  were located and reburied. Sadly Bertram was never found and is commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial.

The crew members of NP968 were:

MUG, Sergeant F N Bridger, 1589113, POW
W/Op A/G, Warrant Officer A S Caddie RNZAF, POW
B/A, Flight Sergeant James Morris Dyer, 436640, POW
Pilot, Flying Officer Russell Richard Napier Forrest MID, 421587
Nav, Sergeant Bertram Max Frankal
R/G, Sergeant D Smith, 1805654, POW
F/E, Sergeant P R Woodmore, 1890708, POW

Flight Sergeant Dyer reported, ‘The aircraft was attacked by a night fighter, but although an ME410 was seen below us no one saw the attack. The Captain ordered prepare to abandon and then abandon. The aircraft appeared to be going down to port but not completely out of control but on fire from the rest position backwards and the rudder controls were shot away. The port inner was on fire. The aircraft crashed some 20-30 miles south of Hamburg. The Mid Upper was wounded in the leg but baled out. The Eng. Nav and WOP also. The Captain had not baled out and did not know if the others had baled out. Not heard of Nav since he baled out. Met up with MID Upper, Rear Gunner and Engineer. Landed in open country. Captured next evening by civilians. Released by British 21st Army 2 May 1945.’ National Archives of Australia On-Line Record A705, 166/14/399

Memorial Board of the former Harrow Synagogue was stored after Pinner Synagogue was rebuilt. It was rediscovered in 2012.