Flight Sergeant Ronald Cedric FERGUSON

Service No: 414996
Born: Bundaberg QLD, 27 October 1917
Enlisted in the RAAF: 7 December 1941
Unit: No. 460 Squadron, RAF Binbrook, Lincolnshire
Died: Air Operations: (No. 460 Squadron Lancaster aircraft ND394), Germany, 24 February 1944, Aged 26 Years
Buried: Villers-Sous-Preny Churchyard, Meurthe-et-Moselle, France
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Charles Henry and Ruby Ethel Ferguson; husband of Doris Marjorie Ferguson, of Stanthorpe, Queensland, Australia
Roll of Honour: Bundaberg QLD
Remembered: Panel 107, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT

Date: 24-25 February 1944
Target: Schweinfurt
Total Force: Dispatched – 734, Attacking – 662
RAAF Force: No. 460 Dispatched – 17, Attacking – 17; No. 463 Dispatched – 17, Attacking – 14; No. 466 Dispatched – 16, Attacking – 12; No. 467 Dispatched – 17, Attacking – 16
Tons of Bombs Dropped: 2,152
Total Aircraft Lost: 33
RAAF Aircraft Lost: No. 460 – 2; No. 463 – 2

The third target for Bomber Command in the week expressly devoted to crippling the German Air Force was Schweinfurt, the chief enemy centre for production of ball bearings. A large force of American heavy bombers attacked on 24th February and that same night Bomber Command went out in strength. To avoid the increasing difficulties shown by over concentration of the bomber stream a new device of splitting the force in two and attacking at an interval of two hours was attempted. More than 300 aircraft created diversions in various areas with the result that heavy opposition was only encountered along the last leg into the target. Here the Australians were unpleasantly surprised by the strength and vigour of the ground defences, and among several aircraft heavily damaged was a Lancaster of No. 467 carrying members of the RAF Film Unit sent to make a complete record of the second phase of the raid. Australians in both waves submitted
extremely optimistic reports and considered the marking ideal, but in fact the whole raid was misplaced and centred on the villages of Garstadt and Grafenrheinfeld up to five miles south of Schweinfurt.

Extracts from Herington, J. (John) (406545) Air War Against Germany and Italy 1939-1943, Australian War Memorial, Canberra, 1954 – Pages 660, 1

Lancaster ND394 took off from RAF Binbrook at 1802 hours on 24 February 1944 to bomb Schweinfurt, Germany. The bomb load was 1 x 4000 lb (1,800 kg) and 6 x 1000 lb (450 kg) bombs. Nothing was heard from the aircraft after take off and it did not return to base. Post war it was established that the aircraft crashed at Villiers Sous Preny, some 33 kms south of Nancy, France. Four crew members were killed, one became a prisoner of War and two evaded capture.

The crew members of ND 394 were:

Warrant Officer David Wright Baxter (410033) (Pilot) Evaded capture, Discharged from the RAAF: 20 June 1945
Flying Officer Anthony D’Arcey (422445) (Bomb Aimer) Evaded capture, Discharged from the RAAF: 10 August 1945
Sergeant John McClymont Dunlop (1822043) (RAFVR) (Rear Gunner)
Flight Sergeant Ronald Cedric Ferguson (414996) (Wireless Operator Air Gunner)
Flight Sergeant Clifford Berger Hopgood (414565) (Navigator)
Sergeant Peter Mallon (1566862) (RAFVR) (Flight Engineer)
Warrant Officer William James Martin (424319) (Mid Upper Gunner) PoW, Discharged from the RAAF: 28 November 1945

In a statement, Warrant Officer Baxter reported ‘The aircraft was attacked by a night fighter at 22,000 feet about 15 miles south west of Metz when approaching the target. The starboard inner engine was on fire and the aircraft out of control. The bombs were jettisoned and the crew instructed to abandon. The navigator, mid upper gunner and the bomb aimer baled out at 15,000 feet. The aircraft then turned on its back and I was thrown through the perspex at about 10,000 feet. The bomb aimer and I have no further knowledge of the rest of the crew, but consider the aircraft was totally destroyed.’

No. 460 Squadron lost Lancaster LM315 (Flight Sergeant Ronald Yates (1454669) (RAFVR) (Pilot)) on 25 February 1944.

No. 463 Squadron lost Lancaster LM444 (Flight Lieutenant Charles James Martin (413219) (Pilot)) on 25 February 1944.

No. 463 Squadron lost Lancaster LL740 (Flight Lieutenant Ronald James Mortimer DFC (255684) (Pilot)) on 25 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, 166/13/196


Firkins, P. C. (Peter Charles) (441386) Strike and Return, Westward Ho Publishing City Beach WA, 1985

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