LEST WE FORGET
Flight Sergeant Colin Henry EASTGATE
Service No: 430019
Born: Coburg VIC, 12 November 1914
Enlisted in the RAAF: 4 December 1942
Unit: No. 463 Squadron, RAF Waddington, Lincolnshire
Died: Air Operations: (No. 463 Squadron Lancaster aircraft LL881), France, 10 May 1944, Aged 29 Years
Buried: Forest-Sur-Marque Communal Cemetery, Nord, France
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Ernest William John and Myrtle Irene Hazel Avalon Eastgate; husband of Jean Eastgate, of Horsham, Victoria, Australia.
Roll of Honour: Corryong VIC
Remembered: Panel 109, 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. 460, 467 Dispatched – Unavailable, Attacking – 31 (total)
Tons of Bombs Dropped: 419
Total Aircraft Lost: 12
RAAF Aircraft Lost: No. 460 – 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 LL881 took off from RAF Waddington at 2214 hours on the night of 10/11th May 1944 to bomb the marshalling yards at Lille, France. Bomb load 1 x 4000 lb (pound) (1,800 kg), 6 x 1000 lb (450 kg) and 8 x 500 lb (225 kg) bombs. Nothing was heard from the aircraft after take off and it did not return to base. Fourteen aircraft from the Squadron took part in the raid and three of these including LL881 failed to return. Post war it was established that the aircraft exploded with the bulk of the wreckage falling on a factory in the south east suburbs of Lille, France.
The crew members of LL881 were:
Flight Sergeant John Henry Brown (418915) (Wireless Operator Air Gunner)
Flight Sergeant George Martin Dann (427445) (Air Gunner)
Flight Sergeant Colin Henry Eastgate (430019) (Air Gunner)
Flying Officer George Oswald Jones (410493) (Navigator)
Pilot Officer William John Lewis (10119) (Flight Engineer)
Warrant Officer Lloyd George McKenzie (416443) (Bomb Aimer)
Flying Officer Dudley Francis Ward (420413) (Pilot)
No. 463 Squadron lost Lancaster LL882 (Squadron Leader Mervyn Powell (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 lost 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.
No. 467 Squadron lost Lancaster EE143 (Pilot Officer Douglas Hislop (414797) (Pilot)) 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, 166/11/142