Pilot Officer Neville James Costin, the son of Benjamin Green Costin and Susanna Costin (nee Knott), was born at Goondiwindi in Queensland on 21st August 1919. At the age of 22 years and 4 months he was enrolled in the Reserve of the Royal Australian Air Force on 22nd December 1941 after swearing the statutory oath of allegiance. He was issued with Reserve Badge No. 934. At the time of his enrolment he was unmarried, and employed as a School Teacher at Gallangowan State School via Kingaroy in Queensland. At the age of 23 years and 10 months he was enlisted into the Citizen Air Force of the R.A.A.F. at No. 3 Recruiting Centre in Brisbane on 18th July 1942 after giving an undertaking that he would serve for the duration of the war and an additional twelve months. His physical description was that he was 5 feet 8 inches in height and weighed 142 pounds. He had a fair complexion, blue eyes and brown hair. He stated that he was of the Church of England religion. He gave his next of kin as his father, Mr Benjamin Costin, residing at “Saltaire”, White Street, Southport, Queensland. He was allotted the service number of 426545.
Pilot Officer Neville Costin joined No. 31 (Gunner) Course at No. 3 Initial Training School at Sandgate in Queensland on 18th July 1942 where he was trained in the basics of service life and military aviation. He then joined No. 1 Air Observer School at Cootamundra in New South Wales on 15th October 1942 as a student on No. 30 Air Observer Course. He joined No. 1 Bombing & Gunnery School at Evans Head in New South Wales on 11th January 1943 as a student on No. 30 (Observer) Course. Upon completion of his course at Evans Head he was awarded the Air Observer Qualification Badge on 26th February 1943. He joined No. 1 Air Navigation School at Parkes in New South Wales on 8th March 1943. He was promoted to the rank of Temporary Sergeant on 1st April 1943.
Pilot Officer Neville Costin joined No. 3 Embarkation Depot at Sandgate in Queensland on 2nd April 1943 to farewell his family and finalize his personal affairs prior to proceeding overseas on attachment to the Royal Canadian Air Force. He joined No. 3 Embarkation Depot at Bradfield Park in Sydney on 9th April 1943. He proceeded overseas and joined No. 3 Manning Depot at Edmonton in Manitoba on 7th May 1943. He joined No. 1 General Reconnaissance School at Summerside on Prince Edward Island on 10th July 1943 where pilots and air observers were trained in the techniques required for ocean patrolling. He then joined No. 31 Operational Training Unit at Debert in Nova Scotia on 4th September 1943. He was promoted to the rank of Temporary Flight Sergeant on 1st October 1943. He joined No. 1 ‘Y’ Depot at Halifax in Nova Scotia on 21st November 1943 to prepare for movement overseas on attachment to the Royal Air Force and he embarked for England on 24th November 1943. He joined No. 11 Personnel Despatch & Reception Centre at Bournemouth in England on 2nd December 1943.
Pilot Officer Neville Costin joined No. 4 (Observer) Advanced Flying Unit at Royal Air Force Station West Freugh on 16th January 1944. He joined Royal Air Force Station Tawbenny on 22nd February 1944. He joined No. 48 Squadron Royal Air Force at Royal Air Force Station Down Ampney for operational duty on 13th March 1944. No. 48 Squadron was a transport unit that operated DC3 aircraft. He was appointed to the rank of Pilot Officer on 23rd June 1944.
Pilot Officer Neville Costin was one of the four members of the crew of a No. 48 Squadron Royal Air Force Dakota Mk III Transport KG 592 that was lost over Western Europe on 18th September 1944 whilst on transportation duties. A Circumstantial Report submitted to the Air Ministry by the Officer Commanding No. 48 Squadron on 23rd October 1944 stated:
The aircraft was engaged on transport duties to Western Europe and was last reported by Headquarters 46 Group to be at B.58 on 18th September 1944 with a damaged wheel. Following this information this unit understands that 46 Group sent frequent signals requesting news of the aircraft and when no further definite information was obtained, they investigated the circumstances and on the 5th October 1944, authorised casualty action. At no time has this Unit had definite information on this aircraft from the date it was reported to be at B.58. It can only be assumed that the Captain took off again from B.58 without booking out or warning the responsible authorities, and that some kind of accident occurred on the return flight. The possibility of enemy action seems remote, but no message was received from the aircraft indicating that they were in difficulties. Investigations are still proceeding to find out what occurred.
No trace was ever found of the aircraft or the members of its crew therefore their names are commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial for the Missing in the United Kingdom. Neville Costin’s name is commemorated on Panel No. 120 at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra and locally on the Toowoomba Grammar School World War 2 Honour Board.
Toowoomba Grammar archives records show that he enrolled as a day student on 31st January 1933 and left the school on 6th September 1935. His father is shown as Benjamin Green Costin, who was a Toowoomba Grammar School Trustee in 1934 to 1937. He passed 10 subjects in the Junior examination and he was the winner of both the Stumm Memorial Prize and the W.H. Groom Memorial Prize. He was employed as a teacher at the Newtown State School after finishing his course at training college.