Flight Sergeant Walter Harvey James BUTCHER

Service No: 432749
Born: Kent, England, 16 December 1924
Enlisted in the RAAF: 30 January 1943 (at Sydney NSW)
Unit: No. 463 Squadron, RAF Waddington, Lincolnshire
Died: Air Operations (No. 463 Squadron Lancaster aircraft PD311), Germany, 6 November 1944, Aged 19 Years
Buried: Reichswald Forest War Cemetery, Kleve, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Walter William and Mary Ann Butcher, of Quirindi, New South Wales, Australia.
Roll of Honour: Quirindi NSW
Remembered: Panel 109, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT
Remembered: Temora and District War Memorial, Temora NSW
Remembered: Quirindi Town Clock and War Memorial, Quirindi NSW

Bomber Command showed more interest in the proposal to attack the heavily used internal waterway system of Germany, especially the Dortmund-Ems canal which linked with the Mitteland canal to provide a direct passage from the Ruhr to central and eastern Germany. … The Waddington squadrons had also set out on 6th-7th November to bomb an embanked stretch of the Mitteland canal at Gravenhorst but this attack was abandoned because of thick cloud. Ten aircraft were shot down including three from No. 463, while two crews of No. 467 had to beat off determined fighter attacks during this disappointing and abortive raid.

Extracts from Herington, J. (John) (406545) Air War Over Europe 1944-1945, Australian War Memorial, Canberra, 1963 – Pages 311-2

Lancaster PD311 took off from RAF Waddington at 1651 hours on the night of 6 November 1944 to bomb the Weser-Ems Canal at Gravenhorst. Bomb load 14 x 1000 lb (pound) (450 kg) bombs. Nothing was heard from the aircraft after take off and it did not return to base. Sixteen aircraft from the Squadron took part in the raid and three of these including PD 311 failed to return. It was later established that the aircraft was shot down on the outward journey by a night fighter and crashed at approximately 2000 hours on 6/11 at Havixbeck, 10 miles north west of Munster, Germany. The aircraft exploded on impact still carrying a full load of bombs.

The crew members of PD311 were:

Flying Officer Peter John Bowell (422394) (Pilot)
Flight Sergeant Walter Harvey James Butcher (432749) (Air Gunner)
Flight Sergeant Ian David Dutfield (433096) (Air Gunner)
Sergeant William Forster (1593433) (RAFVR) (Flight Engineer)
Warrant Officer Ernest Arthur Petersen (418873) (Navigator)
Warrant Officer William Plumb (427348) (Bomb Aimer)
Warrant Officer John Robert Williams (421398) (Wireless Operator Air Gunner)

No. 463 Squadron lost Lancaster NG191 (Flying Officer James Austin (419452) (Pilot)) on 6 November 1944.

No. 463 Squadron lost Lancaster NF990 (Flying Officer Cyril Joseph Lynch (424270) (Pilot)) on 6 November 1944.

No. 463 Squadron lost Lancaster NG256 (Squadron Leader Desmond Joseph Sullivan CSO DSO (415192) (Pilot)) on return to Waddington on 6 November 1944.


Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour On-Line Records (RAAF Casualty Information compiled by Alan Storr (409804))
Chorley W R, Royal Air Force Bomber Command Losses of the Second World War – Volume 5 Aircraft and Aircrew Losses 1944, Midland Counties Publishing, 1997
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, 166/6/784
Register of War Memorials in New South Wales On-Line

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