LEST WE FORGET

Warrant Officer Edgar Jack DATSON

Service No: 426552
Born: Fremantle WA, 16 November 1923
Enlisted in the RAAF: 18 July 1942 (at Brisbane QLD)
Unit: No. 524 Squadron (RAF), RAF Station Langham
Died: Air Operations: (No. 524 Squadron Wellington aircraft HZ644), North Sea, 13 January 1945, Aged 21 Years
Buried: Unrecovered
CWGC Additional Information: Son of James and Reta Alice Datson, of Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
Roll of Honour: Brisbane QLD
Remembered: Panel 283, Runnymede Memorial, Surrey UK
Remembered: Panel 121, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT

At 1546 hours on 13 January 1945 Wellington HZ644 took off from Langham to carry out an armed reconnaissance against enemy shipping off the Friesian Islands. The patrol was to commence at 54.00N 007.00E and after covering an area up to 5350N 0815E to follow the inner convoy route to Borkum, and from thence to make for base due at 1946 hours. No messages were received from the aircraft which did not return to base. No reports were received from later aircraft on similar mission other than heavy anti-aircraft fire from Nordernay to Borkum. Beaufighters and a Warwick aircraft made searches during daylight, but no trace of the aircraft or crew were found. It was assumed that the crew members were lost at sea. The crew were on their 29th mission when they failed to return.

The crew members of HZ644 were:

Warrant Officer Edgar Jack Datson (426552) (Wireless Operator/Air)
Pilot Officer Geoffrey William Ham DFC (420468) (Navigator)
Warrant Officer David Kirtley (1332561) (RAFVR) (Wireless Operator/Air)
Flight Lieutenant Ronald Hamilton McGregor DFC (123234) (RAFVR) (Pilot)
Flight Sergeant Gerald Anthony Sarson (1602501) (RAFVR) (Second Pilot)
Flight Sergeant Dennis Jenner Howard Sayers (1334177) (RAFVR) (Wireless Operator/Air)
Warrant Officer Ralph Webster (426418) (Wireless Operator/Air)

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, 166/9/494