Flying Officer Ernest Athol FAYLE

Service No: 412936
Born: Hay NSW, 21 February 1919
Enlisted in the RAAF: 15 August 1941
Unit: No. 463 Squadron, RAF Waddington, Lincolnshire
Died: Air Operations: (No. 463 Squadron Lancaster aircraft DV338), North West Europe, 20 February 1944, Aged 24 Years
Buried: Unrecovered
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Ernest and Margaret Hannah Fayle, of Hay, New South Wales, Australia.
Roll of Honour: Hay NSW
Remembered: Panel 257, Runnymede Memorial, Surrey UK
Remembered: Panel 109, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT
Remembered: Hay War Memorial High School World War II Honour Roll, Hay NSW
Remembered: Hay War Memorial Hall and Honour Roll, Hay NSW

Date: 19-20 February 1944
Target: Leipzig
Total Force: Dispatched – 823, Attacking – 730
RAAF Force: No. 460 Dispatched – 24, Attacking – 23; No. 463 Dispatched – 18, Attacking – 17; No. 466 Dispatched – 14, Attacking – 11; No. 467 Dispatched – 17, Attacking – 17
Tons of Bombs Dropped: 2,291
Total Aircraft Lost: 78
RAAF Aircraft Lost: No. 460 – 2; No. 463 – 1; No. 466 – 2

The third and largest raid on 19th-20th February, which opened the week of all out effort against Luftwaffe resources, was an anticlimax. The German fighters ignored a large-scale demonstration by mine-laying aircraft near Kiel and while investigating intruder activity over Dutch airfields, by an unlucky chance met the main bomber stream at the beginning of its journey. One Halifax of No. 466 was harassed persistently by three Ju-88’s for a long part of the route and other Australians were forced to evade fighters. Adding to this dispersion of the bomber stream, incorrect wind forecasts upset the entire navigation plan. Most bombers arrived early at the scheduled turning
points and milled round with greatly-increased risks from collisions as well as offering ideal targets for fighters. Twenty bombers were seen to go down in flames and another four as a result of collisions before the target was reached. The main stream was again early over Leipzig and crews of No. 460 who were in the first wave found Lancasters orbiting and bombing on all headings, even before the appointed time. When the Pathfinders laid their markers the attack settled down and most of the Australians were confident that a satisfactory concentration was achieved. On the following day, 184 American Fortresses made a precision attack on Leipzig and the result of these two attacks was extensive damage in five of the ten largest war factories, including the Erla aircraft works, the A.T.A.G. assembly plant and an aircraft-engine works.

Extract from Herington, J. (John) (406545) Air War Against Germany and Italy 1939-1943, Australian War Memorial, Canberra, 1954 – Page 654

Lancaster DV338 took off from RAF Waddington at 2320 hours on the night of 19/20th February to bomb Leipzig, Germany. Nothing was heard from the aircraft after take off and it did not return to base. Eighteen aircraft from the Squadron took part in the raid and one of these DV 338 failed to return. Post war searches and enquiries found no trace of the aircraft or crew and the crew were listed as missing. Their names are commemorated on the Memorial to the Missing,

The crew members of DV338 were:

Sergeant Christopher Thomas Baker (1583703) (RAFVR) (Flight Engineer)
Flight Sergeant Brian Percival Bennett (425264) (Air Gunner)
Flying Officer Charles Lancelot Chappell (133724) (RAFVR) (Navigator)
Sergeant Richard Joseph Farrell (1386762) (RAFVR) (Wireless Operator Air Gunner)
Flying Officer Ernest Athol Fayle (412936) (Pilot)
Sergeant Lyndon Kenneth Topham (1419910) (RAFVR) (Bomb Aimer)
Sergeant Albert Leo Norman Vickery (1419019) (RAFVR) (Air Gunner)

No. 460 Squadron lost Lancaster JB610 (Pilot Officer Kenneth James Godwin (412945) (Pilot)) on 19/20 February 1944.

No. 460 Squadron lost Lancaster ND569 (Flight Sergeant Stanley Vincent Mackrell (410248) (Pilot)) on 19/20 February 1944.

No. 466 Squadron lost Halifax LV781 (Warrant Officer James Francisco Moran (415168) (Pilot)) on 19/20 February 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, 166/13/192
Register of War Memorials in New South Wales On-Line

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