Flight Sergeant Patrick John EDWARDS

Service No: 413748
Born: Cardiff NSW, 3 August 1922
Enlisted in the RAAF: 13 September 1941
Unit: No. 466 Squadron, RAF Station Leconfield, Yorkshire
Died: Air Operations: (No. 466 Squadron Halifax aircraft HX273), Germany, 20 December 1943, Aged 21 Years
Buried: Hanover War Cemetery, Hanover, Niedersachsen, Germany
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Francis John and May Edwards, of Lambton, New South Wales, Australia
Roll of Honour: Unknown
Remembered: Panel 110, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT

Date: 20-21 December 1943
Target: Frankfurt-on-Main
Total Force: Dispatched – 650, Attacking – 576
RAAF Force: No. 460 Dispatched – 16, Attacking – 16; No. 463 Dispatched – 9, Attacking – 7; No. 466 Dispatched – 16, Attacking – 14; No. 467 Dispatched – 14, Attacking – 12
Tons of Bombs Dropped: 2,070
Total Aircraft Lost: 40
RAAF Aircraft Lost: No. 466 – 2

The costly raid of 20th-21st December, which marked the reappearance on operations of No. 466 Squadron, achieved little. Cloud was only scattered and marking of the target began well but was poorly supported by the backers-up. Many main force bombers were deceived by enemy-laid dummy target indicators, and most of the night photographs taken by R.A.A.F. crews revealed fire tracks and cloud only. Nearly all the bombs fell outside Frankfurt-on-Main to the south-east while Marsh of No. 460 reported fires ten to fifteen miles short of the target. For this negligible result the bombers had to run the gauntlet of fierce fighter opposition, five R.A.A.F. aircraft being actively engaged by the enemy. Flying Officer Marsha1l (1) of No. 467 had his Lancaster damaged by an Me-210 and then further damaged by an Me-109 and ground batteries but still managed to coax the aircraft along the difficult return journey to England .

(1) Flight Lieutenant Walter David Marshall, DFC (412821) Discharged from the RAAF: 11 April 1946

Extracts from Herington, J. (John) (406545) Air War Against Germany and Italy 1939-1943, Australian War Memorial, Canberra, 1954 – Page 651

Halifax HX273 took off from RAF Leconfield at 1648 hours on the night of 20/21st December 1943 to bomb Frankfurt, Germany. Sixteen aircraft from the Squadron took part in the raid and two of these including HX273 failed to return. It was later established that the aircraft had crashed and that Flight Sergeant Edwards had been killed and the other crew members had been taken Prisoners of War.

The crew members of HZ273 were:

Flight Sergeant Beamish Gore Brett (410143) (Navigator) PoW, Discharged from the RAAF: 13 December 1945
Flight Sergeant Francis Shamus Cahir (419441) (Mid Upper Gunner) PoW, Discharged from the RAAF: 17 April 1946
Flight Sergeant Patrick John Edwards (413748) (Pilot)
Sergeant Reginald Stephen Hall (1812950) (RAFVR) (Flight Engineer) PoW
Flying Officer Bruce Loane (421353) (Wireless Operator Air Gunner) PoW, Discharged from the RAAF: 29 October 1945
Flight Sergeant Ralph Spencer Parsons (409226) (Bomb Aimer) PoW, Discharged from the RAAF: 17 February 1948
Sergeant Reginald Edward Frank Spalding (932656) (RAFVR) (Rear Gunner) PoW

In a 1945 statement the then Warrant Officer Parsons reported “A night fighter attacked after we bombed the target, setting the inner engine and wing on fire. The Captain ordered bale out after an unsuccessful attempt to extinguish the fire. All the crew members were uninjured and acknowledged. I baled out first at 12,000 feet with the aircraft diving steeply and out of control. I estimate the Aircraft crashed approximately 20/30 miles north east of Frankfurt. Five others baled out OK and have met them. I presume the Pilot was still in the plane when it crashed. I was captured by the German Home guard on 23 December and released by the Russians on 23 April 1945.”

No. 466 Squadron lost Halifax HX236 (Flight Sergeant Anthony Murray Le Grand (419319) (Mid Upper Gunner)) on 20 December 1943.


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, 166/11/99

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