Warrant Officer John Stephen ELWOOD

Service No: 428569
Born: Echuca VIC, 25 October 1924
Enlisted in the RAAF: 16 November 1942
Unit: No. 1660 Conversion Unit (RAF)
Died: Aircraft Accident (No. 1660 Conversion Unit Lancaster aircraft PB864), France, 31 May 1945, Aged 20 Years
Buried: Ryes War Cemetery, Bazenville, Calvados, France
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Stephen Patrick and Ethel May Elwood, of South Yarra, Victoria, Australia
Roll of Honour: Melbourne VIC
Remembered: Panel 121, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT

On the 31 May 1945, Lancaster PB864 was detailed to carry out a non-operational night training flight to Cherbourg, France, and return. The aircraft was briefed to fly at 18,000 feet with a minimum height of 10,000 feet. Other pilots saw an explosion at 2310 hours, and PB864 failed to return to base. Seven of the crew were killed in the crash and one was injured. The aircraft was on the cross-country flight and level at 18,000 feet with George (autopilot) out. For some unknown reason the aircraft suddenly sank three times in a flat attitude with no tendency for the wing or nose to drop. No explanation was offered over the inter-com. After the third drop the aircraft half rolled and went into a vertical dive. The Rear Gunner was thrown out of the rear turret during the descent and landed by parachute.

The crew members of PB864 were:

Flight Lieutenant Norman Birtwistle (136451) (RAFVR) (Pilot)
Flying Officer Charles Davies (162865) (RAFVR) (Mid Upper Gunner)
Pilot Officer Roy Franklin Double (190886) (RAFVR) (Flight Engineer under instruction)
Flight Lieutenant Victor Geoffrey Eden (137170) (RAFVR) (Navigator)
Warrant Officer John Stephen Elwood (428569) (Wireless Air Gunner)
Flying Officer Arthur Owen Pearson DFC (179178) (RAFVR) (Bomb Aimer)
Pilot Officer George Summers (187480) (RAFVR) (Staff Flight Engineer)
Flying Officer A Tweed (148402) (RAF) (Rear Gunner) Injured


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, 166/11/288

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