Flight Sergeant Vincent James ARNOLD

Service No: 434611
Born: Rockhampton QLD, 13 September 1921
Enlisted in the RAAF: 1 January 1943
Unit: No. 12 Squadron (RAF), RAF Wickenby, Lincolnshire
Died: Air Operations: (No. 12 Squadron Lancaster aircraft ME526), Germany, 16 March 1945, Aged 23 Years
Buried: Durnbach War Cemetery, Bad Tolz, Bayern, Germany
CWGC Additional Information: Son of James and Evelyn Arnold, of Rockhampton, Queensland, Australia.
Roll of Honour: Rockhampton QLD
Remembered: Panel 118, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT

Lancaster ME 526 took off from RAF Wickenby at 1714 hours on the night of 16 March 1945 to bomb Nuremburg, Germany. Nothing was heard from the aircraft after take off and it failed to return to base. Five aircraft from the Squadron failed to return from the raid. A Missing Research & Enquiry report stated “the aircraft crashed on a house in Alberndorf near Ansbach at approximately 9 pm on 16 March 1945 and exploded on impact.” Five crew members were killed and two became Prisoners of War.

The crew members of ME 526 were:

Flight Sergeant Vincent James Arnold (434611) (Mid Upper Gunner)
Flight Sergeant Gerard Sydney Barbeler (425917) (Rear Gunner)
Flight Sergeant Raymond Franklin Lindsay Barber (9242) (Navigator)
Sergeant J C Devine (1459717) (RAFVR) (Bomb Aimer) PoW
Flying Officer Ian Lindsay Felgate DFC (427079) (Pilot)
Warrant Officer James Hyde (429570) (Wireless Operator Air Gunner)
Sergeant H F Nixon (1493451) (RAFVR) (Flight Engineer) PoW

In a letter to Mrs Barber, Sergeant Nixon wrote “We arrived at the target OK and were on the run up to the town itself when a muffled explosion occurred in the starboard wing. The aircraft took fire almost immediately and the Pilot ordered bale out. The Bomb Aimer went before me. As I floated down there was an explosion on the ground which I suspect was the aircraft blowing up. There was time for the others to get out as I floated down for about 10 minutes which shows how high the plane was when I baled out. The aircraft crashed 10/15 miles south west of Nuremburg. I did not meet up with any crew again because I was picked up about 2 kms from the Swiss border.”


Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour On-Line Records (RAAF Casualty Information compiled by Alan Storr (409804))
Commonwealth War Graves Commission On-Line Records
Department of Veteran’s Affairs On-Line WWII Nominal Roll
National Archives of Australia On-Line Record A705, 166/4/215

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