Flying Officer Thomas Henry BAULDERSTONE

Service No: 429910
Born: Unley SA, 11 June 1923
Enlisted in the RAAF: 10 October 1942
Unit: No. 463 Squadron, RAF Waddington, Lincolnshire
Died: Air Operations (No. 463 Squadron Lancaster aircraft NX584), Germany, 9 April 1945, Aged 21 Years
Buried: Unrecovered
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Charlie and Florence Emily Baulderstone, of Tusmore, South Australia.
Roll of Honour: Unknown
Remembered: Panel 282, Runnymede Memorial, Surrey UK
Remembered: Panel 109, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT
Remembered: World War II Honour Roll, National War Memorial of SA, North Terrace, Adelaide

The renewed attack on Lutzkendorf, which came only four nights after the damaging attack by No. 1 Group, showed the determination of Bomber Command to subdue completely this major plant capable of feeding enemy units on the Eastern front. It was the final raid against a major production centre and No. 9 Squadron sent 18 Lancasters (6 captained by Australians) carrying 12,000-lb (5,500 kg) Tallboy “earthquake” bombs to assist the main force of 221 aircraft (21 from Waddington). Nearly 950 tons of bombs created new havoc in ovens, cooling towers and the gas purification, catalyst and distillation sections. As at all oil targets the Luftwaffe and ground defences made desperate attempts to disrupt the attack but with only minor successes to offset the complete devastation of the plant. Two of the five aircraft which failed to return from this raid belonged to No. 463; both were victims of anti-aircraft fire. Flying Officer Baulderstone’s Lancaster was heavily hit during its run-in, but although the bomber rolled over to port, the pilot was able to level out and bomb. He then struggled to within 30 miles of Allied lines before ordering his crew to leave the aircraft which had begun to disintegrate; he himself perished in this attempt to reach friendly territory . The other crew was more fortunate; all baled out and contacted Allied ground units.

Extract from Herington, J. (John) (406545) Air War Over Europe 1944-1945, Australian War Memorial, Canberra, 1963 – Page 444

Lancaster NX584 took off from RAF Waddington at 1812 hours on the night of 8/9th April 1945 to bomb an oil refinery at Lutzkendorf, Germany. The bomb load was 1 x 4000 lb (pound) (1,800 kg), 14 x 500 lb (225 kg) bombs. Nothing was heard from the aircraft after take off and it did not return to base. Eleven aircraft from the Squadron took part in the raid and two of these including NX 584 failed to return. It was later established that six of the crew were killed and that Sergeant Broadhead survived the crash and evaded capture.

The crew members of NX584 were:

Flying Officer Robert Ross Anderson Adrain (J/37722) (RCAF) (Bomb Aimer)
Flying Officer Thomas Henry Baulderstone (429910) (Pilot)
Sergeant Benjamin Blythe (3041131) (RAFVR) (Air Gunner)
Warrant Officer John Bomby (R/166028) (RCAF) (Wireless Operator Air)
Sergeant D Broadhead (3041042) (RAFVR) (Air Gunner) Evaded capture
Flight Sergeant James William Hill (434527) (Navigator)
Sergeant William Smith Philip (1827202) (RAFVR) (Flight Engineer)

The following is a report by Sergeant Broadhead on his return to UK “463/V was on the run in the Lutzkendorf area on the night 8/9 April, when prior to our bombing the aircraft hit by H/F between starboard main plane and tail plane. Immediately after Pilot ordered put on chutes. Aircraft rolled over to port, but Pilot levelled out. By this time the Red TI’s had gone down, and heard B/A giving instructions to bring A/c onto bombing run. Also heard ‘Bombs gone’. Just after leaving target the Eng said ‘A fire in the starboard wing and feather the starboard inner’ and also ‘feather the other one’, presumably the starboard outer as Aircraft hit on starboard side. Heard Pilot say he did not think it would be of a benefit to feather the engines. Nav heard to complain of smoke in the cabin. Approximately 7 minutes after bombing the Pilot asked Nav ‘how far Aircraft was from front lines’, and reply was 30 miles. The Pilot replied ‘OK emergency jump, jump.’ I acknowledged and made my descent. Landed in tree and suspended 17 feet from ground. Released harness and when dropping grazed face. No exact idea where I was. Used compass walking cross country by day, and main roads at night. Found myself west of Erfurt approx 47 hours after baling out. There I contacted
US troops who looked after me well before starting me on my way back to London”

No. 463 Squadron lost Lancaster ME 478 (Flying Officer Noel Stewart Ferris (430584) (Pilot)) on 9 April 1945.


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, 166/5/1054

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