Warrant Officer Peter William BYERS

Service No: 421158
Born: Randwick NSW, 16 November 1923
Enlisted in the RAAF: 31 January 1942
Unit: No. 166 Squadron (RAF), RAF Station Kirmington
Died: Air Operations (No. 166 Squadron Lancaster aircraft ND626), North West Europe, 26 October 1944, Aged 20 Years
Buried: Unrecovered
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Alick James Byers, and of Enid Myrtle Byers, of Gordon, New South Wales, Australia
Roll of Honour: Unknown
Remembered: Panel 259, Runnymede Memorial, Surrey UK
Remembered: Panel 119, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT

On the night of 26/27 October 1944 Lancaster ND626 took off from Kirmington as one of six squadron aircraft to carry out mine laying operations in the Heligoland Bight. Nothing was heard from the aircraft after takeoff and it did not return to base. Following post war enquiries and investigations, it was recorded in 1949 that the aircraft had crashed into the sea and the missing crew had no known grave.

The crew members of ND626 were:

Flying Officer James Roberts Burton (J/25377) (RCAF) (Pilot)
Warrant Officer Peter William Byers (421158) (Wireless Operator Air Gunner)
Sergeant Aubrey Edward Eades (1605781) (RAFVR) (Flight Engineer)
Flight Sergeant George Stanley Elders (748485) (RAFVR) (Rear Gunner)
Flying Officer James Burleigh Hill (J/35779) (RCAF) (Air Bomber)
Flight Sergeant Victor Tarbard (928795) (RAFVR) (Mid Upper Gunner)
Flying Officer Donald Edward Walker (J/36320) (RCAF) (Navigator)

A crew member on the same mission later reported “No one actually saw Flying Officer Burton’s aircraft shot down, but while flying about 10 to 15 minutes off Heligoland and prior to dropping mines, I noticed some flak on my left which came from either a flak ship or from Heligoland ground defences. I would say the latter. A few minutes later an explosion was seen on the ground which I took to be an aircraft crashing. Whether this occurred on land or sea I am able to say due to a cloud layer below us.”


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 Veterans’ Affairs On-Line WWII Nominal Roll
National Archives of Australia On-Line Record A705, 166/6/760

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