LEST WE FORGET
Flight Sergeant William Francis DUNCAN
Service No: 13488
Born: Melbourne VIC, 17 December 1920
Enlisted in the RAAF: 14 March 1941
Unit: No. 462 Squadron, RAF Foulsham, Norfolk
Died: Air Operations: (No. 462 Squadron Halifax aircraft PN429), Germany, 24 February 1945, Aged 24 Years
Buried: Rheinberg War Cemetery, Kamp Lintfort, Nordrhein-Westfal, Germany
CWGC Additional Information: Son of William David Alexander and Mary Ada Florence Duncan, of Ormond, Victoria, Australia.
Roll of Honour: Melbourne VIC
Remembered: Panel 109, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT
No. 462 Squadron flew 155 sorties on 15 nights and one day during February and 83 sorties on 13 nights during the first three weeks of March. The combined Window-dropping and bombing raids during February were all in the Ruhr and Rhineland, mainly as decoys from the true target chosen that night but sometimes purely to confuse enemy raid reporting systems when no actual attack was contemplated. By its very nature this “coat-trailing” was hazardous, but crews intruded and withdrew safely with conspicuous success until 24th-25th February when four out of ten Halifaxes sent to the Ruhr failed to return.
Extract from Herington, J. (John) (406545) Air War Over Europe 1944-1945, Australian War Memorial, Canberra, 1963 – Page 432
Halifax PN429 took off from RAF Foulsham at 1703 hours on the night of the 24 February 1945 to carry out a spoof and bombing raid in the Ruhr area. Ten aircraft from the Squadron took part in the raid and four of these including PN429 failed to return. Following post war enquiries by a Missing Research and Enquiry Unit it was established that the aircraft was shot down and crashed at Munchen Gladbach, Germany.
The crew members of PN429 were:
Flight Sergeant Patrick John Paul Carlon (432936) (Mid Upper Gunner)
Sergeant Trevor Ephraim David (1837005) (RAFVR) (Flight Engineer)
Flight Sergeant William Francis Duncan (13488) (Navigator)
Warrant Officer Normal Joseph Hall (425647) (Wireless Air Gunner)
Flight Sergeant Geoffrey Harrison-Broadley (1458627) (RAFVR) (Special Duties (Radar) Air/Ground)
Warrant Officer Ernest Ronald William Oliver (427542) (Bomb Aimer)
Flight Sergeant Murray Arthur Smith (442286) (Rear Gunner)
Flight Lieutenant John Stewart Tootal (116056) (RAFVR) (Pilot)
No. 462 Squadron lost Halifax MZ461 (Flying Officer Vivian Clive Ely (426221) (Pilot)) on 24 February 1945.
No. 462 Squadron lost Halifax MZ447 (Flight Lieutenant Allan John Rate (423892) (Pilot)) on 24 February 1945.
No. 462 Squadron lost Halifax MZ448 (Flight Lieutenant Frederick Harold Ridgewell (149967) (RAFVR) (Pilot)) on 24 February 1945
Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour On-Line Records (RAAF Casualty Information compiled by Alan Storr (409804))
Chorley W R Royal Air Force Bomber Command Losses of the Second World War – Volume 6 Aircraft and Aircrew Losses 1945, Midland Counties Publications, 1998
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, 166/10/421