Flight Sergeant George James CHEYNE

Service No: 429846
Born: Leichardt NSW, 23 May 1916
Enlisted in the RAAF: 17 September 1942 (at Adelaide SA)
Unit: No. 463 Squadron, RAF Waddington, Lincolnshire
Died: Air Operations (No. 463 Squadron Lancaster aircraft PB688), Lincolnshire, 22 December 1944, Aged 28 Years
Buried: Cambridge City Cemetery, Cambridgeshire
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Arthur Magnus Cheyne and Alma May Cheyne, of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia; husband of Joyce Elsie Beryl Cheyne, of Leeton, New South Wales
Roll of Honour: Sydney NSW
Remembered: Panel 109, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT
Remembered: World War II Honour Roll, National War Memorial of SA, North Terrace, Adelaide
Remembered: Woy Woy War Memorial, Woy Woy NSW

On 21st-22nd December, Nos. 463 and 467 each contributed 17 Lancasters to a force of 207 bombers which attacked Politz. This was nominally an Eighth Air Force commitment, but the Americans had either been weathered in at their bases or forced to concentrate on tactical duties or other target priorities since their very successful raid in October which had temporarily put Politz out of action. The attack late in December was considered essential because of its possible reaction on the outcome of the Ardennes offensive, Politz then being the largest German oil plant considered capable of maximum production. The long flight to Stettin even in December presented few problems to No. 5 Group because of the partial breakdown of enemy air-warning systems. The main force in fact reached the Politz area compactly and in accordance with the careful flight plan to find itself favoured with clear skies and only a slight ground haze. Even though a small spoof raid by six aircraft (also from No. 5 Group) against Schneidemuhl to the south of Stettin was too late and too weak to act as a real diversion, there was little enemy opposition. Flak opposition was less than expected and, although one crew of No. 463 had abandoned the mission because of aircraft unserviceability during the outward route, the remaining 33 Lancasters from Waddington had no difficulties during their bombing runs. The opinions of the crews, however, were rather contradictory concerning the results of the attack: some thought it had been concentrated, others were disappointed. Similarly divergent views were expressed at debriefing by Australians operating that night with Nos. 44, 57, 83, 97, 619 and 630 RAF. Squadrons and a consensus seemed to point to a moderately successful attack. Later evidence from analysis of night photographs taken during the raid showed that the markers were offset by approximately one mile from the true aiming point, but post-raid reconnaissance aircraft were able to discern serious damage in the power station, water-gas plant, carbonising ovens and a gas-holder.

Extract from Herington, J. (John) (406545) Air War Over Europe 1944-1945, Australian War Memorial, Canberra, 1963 – Pages 220-1

Lancaster PB688 took off from RAF Waddington at 1632 hours on the night of 21/22nd December 1944 to bomb a synthetic oil plant at Politz, Germany. The bomb load was 1 x 4000 lb (pound) (1,800 kg), 6 x 1000 lb (450 kg). The aircraft completed the mission but crashed at about 0246 hours on 22 December about 3 kms north east of the base, and all the crew were killed except the Mid Upper Gunner who received multiple bruises and abrasions. The weather conditions at the time were extremely poor.

The crew members of PB688 were:

Flight Sergeant George James Cheyne (429846) (Wireless Operator Air Gunner)
Flying Officer Clement Joseph Greenwood (430375) (Navigator)
Flying Officer Roger Hubert Halsted (428694) (Pilot)
Flight Sergeant Leonard Edric James Miller (435780) (Rear Gunner)
Flight Sergeant Thomas Aitken Nation (430859) (Mid Upper Gunner) Injured, Discharged from the RAAF: 26 January 1946
Sergeant Bruce E O Pettigrew (1022473) (RAFVR) (Flight Engineer)
Flight Sergeant John Renton Power (432435) (Bomb Aimer)


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, 166/7/775
Register of War Memorials in New South Wales On-Line

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