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Fatal Mission

The life and death of the crew of naughty Nan 467 SQN RAAF

Authors: Mal Elliott
(1 customer review)
Military, World War II
C Format

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Fatal Mission is the story of Australian navigator Oscar Furniss, just one of 55,000 young men who perished while flying for Bomber Command during World War II. Lovingly crafted by his nephew, Mal Elliott, this book brings to life a young man whose name was never spoken by his family and who was a stranger to his modern-day descendants.

Elliott follows Oscar from his carefree childhood in the Blue Mountains through his training over the vast emptiness of Canada to the mist-shrouded patchwork landscapes of Britain and on to the hostile skies of occupied France. He uses the accounts of the two surviving aircrew to piece together the events of the fateful night that saw most of the crew of Lancaster JA901, affectionally know as Naughty Nan, perish as pilot Colin Dickson heroically manoeuvred his burning aircraft away from the towns and villages that dotted the landscape. This has been a difficult book for Elliott to write as it contains a harrowing description of his uncle’s last moments. The terrible impact of the deaths of the aircrew are vividly described alongside the miraculous tales of the two survivors.

But for the family of Oscar Furniss there would be no  miracle, just the lingering weight of deep and lasting grief. This is a story that moves beyond the technical descriptions of bombing missions to describe the human toll of conflict. It underlines the crucial importance of commemoration, of refusing to allow those who perished in war to be forgotten. Theirs was a sacrifice that we who live in freedom should never forget.

View sample pages HERE

Mal Elliott

Mal Elliott

Mal Elliott was born in Katoomba in 1948 and grew up in Wentworth Falls and Sydney.  Both his parents served in the Royal Australian Air Force during World War 2. He was educated in Sydney and his first career path was as a Mechanical Engineering cadet with Hawker De Havilland. His next career was as […]

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1 review for Fatal Mission

  1. This book is a gripping read into the life and times of one of the members of an RAAF SQN Lancaster bomber in WW2, Australian navigator Oscar Furniss. Sadly Oscar would be a crew member on a Lancaster bomber naughty nan, which was shot down over France on the 4th May 1944.

    The book initially details Oscar’s childhood early work years, then delves into his RAAF aircrew training and then his further upgrade flight training in Canada and in the UK for operational conversion.

    The author has managed to get memories from 2 of the surviving aircrew of the Lancaster JA-901 on this last flight in 1944. From these accounts, he has put together a very detailed insight into what it was like to be a heavy bomber crew in World War 2. The book covers what happened that night in May 1944 when JA-901 was shot down by fighter over France by a Luftwaffe FW-190 fighter pilot.

    The book then explains the following actions of the aircrew of the bomber after being shot down bringing together their escape and capture. The author has not only captured the insight to aircrew training operational missions but also the families left behind due to the horrors of war. The book utilises assorted World War 2 photos and modern photos to explain where Oscar travelled and what he saw.

    The book is a reminder that many aircrews in Bomber Command did return from their final missions. We recommend this book at the tribute to Australian and English aircrew who flew in RAF Bomber Command into the night aboard the Lancaster bombers and into the skies over France and Germany during World War 2.

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