Air Operations: (No. 466 Squadron Halifax aircraft HE326), Germany, 22 June 1943

Date: 22-23 June 1943
Target: Mulheim
Total Force: Dispatched – 557, Attacking – 499
RAAF Force: No. 460 Dispatched – 18, Attacking – 18; No. 466 Dispatched – 10, Attacking – 9; No. 467 Dispatched – 13, Attacking – 13
Tons of Bombs Dropped: 1,643
Total Aircraft Lost: 35
RAAF Aircraft Lost: No. 460 – 1; No. 466 – 1

On 22-23 June 1943 at Mulheim the skies were clear and 12 Oboe Mosquitos and 52 heavy Pathfinder aircraft had no difficulty in giving a reliable aiming point for the bomber stream throughout the attack. Five large steelworks were hit and dense fires gradually merged into a sea of flames in the closely built-up area of the town where the main railway station, public buildings, business houses, and homes suffered extensively. Mulheim, however, was described by one Australian as “the hottest target yet encountered”, for both here and at Oberhausen the local defences were joined by those of Duisburg, Essen and Dusseldorf which ringed the area. Eleven Australian aircraft were hit by gun fire and two more were attacked by night fighters. All these aircraft reached base safely, but the actual losses (nearly 7 per cent, both for the whole force and the R.A.A.F.), coupled with the high incidence of damaged aircraft, were dangerously high, and were bearable only because of the undoubted success achieved.

Extract from Herington, J. (John) (406545) Air War Against Germany and Italy 1939-1943, Australian War Memorial, Canberra, 1954 – Page 485

Wellington HE326 took off from RAF Leconfield at 2325 hours on the night of 22/23rd June 1943 to bomb Mulheim, Germany. Nothing was heard from the aircraft after take off and it did not return to base. Post war it was established that the aircraft was shot down by a night fighter and crashed
at Hamminkeln, 8 kms north north west of Wesel, Germany. Four of the crew were killed and Pilot Officer Fox was a Prisoner of war. The four members killed are buried in the Reichswald Forest War Cemetery, Cleves.

The crew members of HE326 were:

Pilot Officer Roy Locke Amesbury (145522) (RAFVR) (Bomb Aimer)
Pilot Officer Albert Leonard Ford (142581) (RAFVR) (Pilot)
Pilot Officer Raymond William Fox (1265390) (RAFVR) (Wireless Air Gunner) PoW
Pilot Officer Cecil William Hewitt (146023) (RAFVR) (Navigator)
Pilot Officer Alex Henry Richardson (615979) (RAF) (Rear Gunner)

No. 460 Squadron lost Lancaster EE166 (Flying Officer Leonard Eric Harrison (416669) (Pilot)) on 22 June 1943.


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

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