LEST WE FORGET

Flying Officer Harry Stewart CHATTO

Service No: 421569
Born: Kogarah NSW, 12 March 1920
Enlisted in the RAAF: 28 February 1942
Unit: No. 180 Squadron (RAF)
Died: Air Operations (No. 180 Squadron Mitchell aircraft KJ563), Germany, 21 March 1945, Aged 25 Years
Buried: Reichswald Forest War Cemetery, Kleve, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Ronald Henry Stewart Chatto and Winifred Essie Chatto, of Kogarah, New South Wales, Australia
Roll of Honour: Kogarah NSW
Remembered: Panel 120, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT

Mitchell KJ563 took off on 21 March 1945, along with other aircraft from the Squadron, detailed to attack the marshalling yards at Bocholt, Germany. Nothing was heard from KJ563 after take-off and it failed to return to base. During the attack intense and very heavy anti-aircraft was encountered and the No 2 aircraft in the formation FW236 received a direct hit while releasing its bombs, and an explosion followed. This explosion forced KJ563 which was flying in No 3 position out of control. The port engine was seen to be in flames and there was a large hole in the fuselage near the bomb bay. KJ563 was last seen to be diving steeply. One parachute was observed. KJ563
blew up about 100 feet from the ground when trying to make a forced landing.

The crew members of KJ563 were:

Flying Officer Harry Stewart Chatto (421569) (Navigator / Bomb Aimer)
Flying Officer Leslie Albert Ellis (422151) (Wireless Operator Air)
Flight Sergeant John Milton Farr (422472) (Air Gunner) Baled out, PoW, Discharged from the RAAF: 8 July 1946
Flying Officer Robert Millar Kennard (422080) (Pilot)

Flight Sergeant Farr later reported “We were hit by flak and immediately caught fire. No one panicked and Ellis advised the Skipper we were on fire. The Skipper said bale out. Why no other crew member did not escape I cannot say, especially Ellis who was the waist gunner. The Germans told me that although our aircraft was a mass of flames, the pilot tried to make a forced landing but it blew up when 100 feet off the deck.”

References:

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, 166/7/911