LEST WE FORGET
Flying Officer Harry Ronald CROUT
Service No: 419298
Born: Moonee Ponds VIC, 25 October 1914
Enlisted in the RAAF: 18 July 1942
Unit: No. 467 Squadron, RAF Waddington, Lincolnshire
Died: Air Operations: (No. 467 Squadron Lancaster aircraft EE143), France, 10 May 1944, Aged 29 Years
Buried: Hellemmes-Lille Communal Cemetery, Nord, France
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Harry Ernest and Rubinia Crout; husband of Gloria Catherine Crout, of Hawthorn East, Victoria, Australia.
Roll of Honour: Hawthorn VIC
Remembered: Panel 110, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT
Date: 10-11 May 1944
Target: Lille Marshalling Yards
Total Force: Dispatched – 89, Attacking – 86
RAAF Force: No. 463, No. 467 Dispatched – Unavailable, Attacking – 31
Tons of Bombs Dropped: 419
Total Aircraft Lost: 12
RAAF Aircraft Lost: No. 463 – 3; No. 467 – 3
The heaviest setback suffered by the RAAF squadrons was on 10th-11th May when Waddington provided 31 of the total force of 86 Lancasters which attacked Lille, near the Belgian border. Squadron Leader Locke (1) of No. 97 Squadron (RAF) controlled this force and the bombing was very concentrated and effective. Gun defences were not unduly heavy but in numerous combats with enemy fighters Nos. 463 and 467 each lost one flight commander and two other crews, or 20 per cent of the crews sent out.
(1) Squadron Leader Harry Baker Locke DSO DFC (401980) was discharged from the RAAF on 1 July 1947.
Extract from Herington, J. (John) Air War Over Europe 1944-1945, Australian War Memorial, Canberra, 1963 – Pages 28, 30
Lancaster EE143 took off from RAF Waddington at 2208 hours on the night of 10/11th May 1944 to bomb Lille, France. Bomb load 1 x 4000 lb (pound) (1,800 kg) and 16 x 500 lb (225 kg) bombs. Nothing was heard from the aircraft after take off and it did not return to base. Seventeen aircraft from the Squadron took part in the raid and three of these including EE143 failed to return. Post war it was established that the aircraft crashed at Lezennes, Ronchin, in the south east suburbs of Lille, France.
The crew members of EE143 were:
Sergeant George Bennett (2220133) (RAFVR) (Air Gunner)
Flight Sergeant Bernard Francis Cody (427870) (Air Gunner)
Flying Officer Harry Ronald Crout (419298) (Bomb Aimer)
Pilot Officer Douglas Hislop (414797) (Pilot)
Sergeant Bertram Stephen Longhurst (1891298) (RAFVR) (Flight Engineer)
Flying Officer John Francis Tucker (25243) (Wireless Operator Air Gunner)
Flight Sergeant Kevin Campbell Waight (424239) (Navigator)
No. 463 Squadron lost Lancaster LL881 (Flying Officer Dudley Francis Ward DFC (420413) (Pilot)) on 10 May 1944.
No. 463 Squadron lost Lancaster LL882 (Squadron Leader Mervyn Powell DFC (402817) (Pilot)) on 10 May 1944.
No. 463 Squadron lost Lancaster HK535 (Flight Lieutenant Eric McLaren Scott (425226) (Pilot)) on 10 May 1944.
No. 467 Squadron Lancaster LL778 (Pilot Officer William Eldred Felstead (420870) (Pilot)) on 10 May 1944.
No. 467 Squadron lost Lancaster LM475 (Flight Sergeant Alastair Dale Johnson (425413) (Wireless Operator Air Gunner)) on 10 May 1944.
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, 166/8/458