Flight Sergeant William Hugh FITZGERALD

Service No: 414014
Born: Townsville QLD, 9 December 1922
Enlisted in the RAAF: 20 July 1941
Unit: No. 460 Squadron, RAF Binbrook, Lincolnshire
Died: Air Operations: (No. 460 Squadron Lancaster aircraft ED986), Germany, 1 September 1943, Aged 20 Years
Buried: Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery, Germany
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Hugh and Alice Ethel Fitzgerald, of Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.
Roll of Honour: Charleville QLD
Remembered: Panel 107, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT

Date: 1 September 1943
Target: Berlin
Total Force: Dispatched – 621, Attacking – 512
RAAF Force: No. 460 Dispatched – 21, Attacking – 21; No. 467 Dispatched – 15, Attacking – 14
Tons of Bombs Dropped: 1,359
Total Aircraft Lost: 47
RAAF Aircraft Lost: No. 460 – 1

For the second attack (first attack August 23-24, third attack 3-4 September) a fairly heavy diversionary raid, including twelve Wellingtons from No. 466 (RAAF), was made against ammunition dumps in the Hesdin Forest, but this had little effect on fighter defences at the capital where parachute flares at 20,000 feet illuminated the bomber stream which then sustained persistent attacks. Apart from relatively high losses the raid itself was almost a complete failure because an unexpected veer in the wind led to badly timed and inaccurate Pathfinder marking so that most of the bombs fell ten or more miles south of Berlin.

Extract from Herington, J. (John) (406545) Air War Against Germany and Italy 1939-1943, Australian War Memorial, Canberra, 1954 – Page 601

Lancaster ED986 took off from RAF Binbrook at 2037 hours on the night of 31 August 1943 to bomb Berlin. Bomb Load 1 x 4000 lb (pound) (1,800 kg), 1 x 1000 lb (450 kg), 48 x 30 (14 kg), 660 x 4 (2 kg) and 30 x 4 lb (2 kg) incendiaries. ED 986 failed to return to base after the mission. 21 aircraft from the squadron took part in the raid. Following post war investigations and examination of German documents it was established that the aircraft crashed on 1 September 1943 into the grounds of the Daimler-Benz works at Ludwigsfelde which is approximately 16 miles south west of Berlin.

The crew members of ED986 were:

Flight Sergeant William Hugh Fitzgerald (414014) (Air Gunner)
Pilot Officer Leslie Jack Haymes (415082) (Wireless Operator Air Gunner)
Pilot Officer James Douglas Hocking (411910) (Pilot)
Flight Sergeant William Ralph Ingram (413199) (Bomb Aimer) PoW, Discharged from the RAAF: 11 December 1945
Flight Sergeant Trevor John Jones (411699) (Air Gunner)
Flying Officer Harold Frederick Symons (415364) (Navigator)
Sergeant John Jennings Wood (1985821) (RAFVR) (Flight Engineer) PoW

Neither Flight Sergeant Ingram nor Sergeant Wood could provide information about the fate of the other crew members.


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, 166/13/117


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

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