Flying Officer Peter Buck DENNETT

Service No: 418927
Born: Albert Park VIC, 29 September 1922
Enlisted in the RAAF: 20 June 1942
Unit: No. 630 Squadron (RAF), RAF East Kirkby, Lincolnshire
Died: Air Operations: (No. 630 Squadron Lancaster aircraft LM537), France, 19 July 1944, Aged 21 Years
Buried: Chassericourt Churchyard, Aube, France
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Mr. and Mrs. F. W. Dennett, of Toorak, Victoria, Australia.
Roll of Honour: Unknown
Remembered: Panel 121, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT

Revigny, already the objective of two abortive raids by other groups on 12th-13th and 14th-15th July, was nominated as a target for No. 5 Group on 18th-19th July. This was an ill-fated attack as no fewer than 24 of the force of 110 bombers failed to return to base. It was a case of the elaborate nightly RAF tactical deception plan misfiring for once. The enemy ignored the raid against Scholven-Buer, being deceived into thinking it was a diversionary sweep. The Luftwaffe’s strength in Belgium was sent westward into France and ran headlong into the force attacking Revigny. Fighter attacks began over the target and the fighters then hung determinedly around the skirts of the retiring bombers until they crossed the coast. Few crews saw obvious signs of success because long-delay fuses were again used, but later evidence showed that after the attack only one through line remained open. One RAAF pilot criticised the chosen route, which crossed an active searchlight belt in the Pas de Calais. After seeing four Lancasters shot down over the target within two minutes he swung out of the stream and skirted this searchlight belt and reported that other aircraft which had kept to track were shot down. Australian losses were particularly severe. Aircraft piloted by Flying Officer Beverley Hudson Gifford (415220) and Flying Officer James Robert Worthington (406417) of No. 463, Flying Officer Thomas Edward William Davis (420173) and Flying Officer David Beharrie (418334) of No. 467, Flying Officer William David Appleyard (415716) of No. 49, Flying Officer Frank Francis Molinas (425454) of No. 619 and Flying Officer Peter Buck Dennett (418927), Flying Officer Gordon Edward Maxwell (425331) and Flying Officer Bruce William Brittain (414756) (Flight Sergeant Gordon Edwin Beckhouse (424354) (Wireless Air Gunner)) of No. 630 were all shot down.

Herington, J. (John) (406545) Air War Over Europe 1944-1945, Australian War Memorial, Canberra, 1963 Pages 236-7

On the night of the 18/19th July 1944, Lancaster LM537 took off from RAF East Kirkby at 2250 hours, detailed to destroy a railway junction at Revigny, France. Nothing was heard from the aircraft after take off and it failed to return to base. The aircraft was hit by anti-aircraft fire and crashed around 0200 hours at Chassericourt in the Department of the Aube, 16 kms north north east of Brienne-le-Chateau. France.

The crew members of LM537 were:

Sergeant G A Alexander (1893475) (RAFVR) (Flight Engineer) PoW
Flying Officer Peter Buck Dennett (418927) (Pilot)
Sergeant R A Hilborne (1896903) (RAFVR) (Mid Upper Gunner) Evaded Capture
Sergeant William John Jarman (1432745) (RAFVR) (Wireless Air Gunner)
Flight Sergeant Cedric Raymond Jerwood (1397145) (RAFVR) (Navigator)
Sergeant R F Ritchie (R/172045) (Air Bomber) (RCAF) Evaded Capture
Sergeant J Stones (1393109) (RAFVR) (Rear Gunner) Evaded Capture

In his evader report Sergeant Ritchie stated: “when approximately eight minutes after leaving the target, the aircraft was attacked by anti-aircraft fire. The Captain ordered the crew to prepare to abandon, but I heard no acknowledgement by the others and I assumed the Intercom was unserviceable. I removed the escape hatch and at the same moment a fire broke out in the bomb bay and the cockpit filled with smoke. I was forced to abandon the aircraft at about 10,000 feet. While descending I saw the aircraft with the starboard motors on fire and turning into a dive from which it did not recover. The aircraft crashed and burst into s mass of sparks.”


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, 166/9/359

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