LEST WE FORGET

Air Operations: (No. 455 Squadron Hampden I aircraft AE308), off the Dutch Coast, 6 February 1942

Hampden AE308 took off from RAF Swinderby at 1205 hours on 6 February 1942 to carry out a daytime operation gardening (mine laying) off the Frisian Islands. This was the first daytime operation of the Squadron. Nothing was heard from the aircraft after take off and it did not return to base. Eight aircraft from the Squadron took part in the mission. Four did not proceed with the mission because of insufficient cloud cover, and one AE308 failed to return. It was later reported that the aircraft was shot down and crashed into the sea some 70 kms west of Terschelling Island in the Frisian group of islands off the coast of the Netherlands. All the crew members are listed as missing.

The crew members of AE308 were:

Sergeant Robert Anthony Billington (1169761) (RAFVR) (Navigator)
Sergeant Eric Bland (1051834) (RAFVR) (Air Gunner)
Sergeant Bernard Edward Brown (1281447) (RAFVR) (Pilot)
Sergeant David Michael Pickersgill (1356057) (RAFVR) (Wireless Operator Air Gunner)

References:

Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour On-Line Records (RAAF Casualty Information compiled by Alan Storr (409804))
Commonwealth War Graves Commission On-Line Records

Bibliography:

Gordon, I. (Ian) Strike and Strike Again: 455 Squadron 1944-5, Banner Books Belconnen ACT 2616, 1995
Lawson, John Horwood Wightman (251634) The Story of No. 455 Squadron (RAAF), Wilke and Company, Melbourne VIC, 1951