Air Operations (No. 467 Squadron Lancaster aircraft LD529), North West Europe, 19 February 1943

Date: 19-20 February 1943
Target: Wilhelmshaven
Total Force: Dispatched – 338, Attacking – 302
RAAF Force: No. 466 Dispatched – 10, Attacking – 10; No. 467 Dispatched – 5, Attacking – 5
Tons of Bombs Dropped: 783
Total Aircraft Lost: 11
RAAF Aircraft Lost: No. 467 – 2

Flying conditions were still bad on 11th-12th February, but the shorter journey and less deep penetration involved encouraged more crews to persevere despite the difficulties. Bombing was done with the aid of sky markers, hitherto a not very successful method, but on this occasion the city’s main ammunition dump was hit and this explosion devastated 120 acres. The following two raids (February 18-19 and February 19-20), though flown in much better weather, added little significant damage for on both occasions the target marking and consequently the bombing was widely scattered. Little positive incident was recorded by Australians on any of these flights except the last when night-fighter activity was marked. A Wellington of No. 466, though itself set on fire in the bomb aimer’s compartment, succeeded in shooting down the Me-110 which attacked it.

Extracts from Herington, J. (John) (406545) Air War Against Germany and Italy 1939-1943, Australian War Memorial, Canberra, 1954 – Pages 471, 472

Lancaster LD529 took off from RAF Bottesford at 1755 hours on the night of 19/20th February, 1943 to bomb Wilhelmshaven, Germany. Nothing was heard from the aircraft after take and it failed to return to base. Five aircraft from the Squadron took part in the mission and two failed to return. Post war enquiries found no trace of the missing aircraft or crew, and the names of the seven crew members are commemorated on the Memorial to the Missing, Runnymede, Surrey, UK.

The crew members of LD529 were:

Sergeant Derek Arnold Booth (1378781) (RAFVR) (Wireless Operator Air Gunner)
Sergeant Ronald Haslam (1494074) (RAFVR) (Mid Upper Gunner)
Sergeant John McKee (1089032) (RAFVR) (Bomb Aimer)
Sergeant Robert Sinden (577701) (RAF) (Flight Engineer)
Sergeant Henry Bookless Vine (1032516) (RAFVR) (Pilot)
Sergeant Kenneth Westthorp (1046328) (RAFVR) (Navigator)
Sergeant Clifford Wignall (1075891) (RAFVR) (Rear Gunner)

No. 467 Squadron lost Lancaster ED525 (Flight Lieutenant James Barnett Michie (78731) (RAFVR) (Pilot)) on 19 February 1943.

No. 466 Squadron Wellington HE531 lost crew member Sergeant Eric Frank Crowhurst (1386792) (RAFVR) (Bomb Aimer) on 19 February 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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