FONTAINE Peter 415940

LEST WE FORGET

Pilot Officer Peter FONTAINE

Service No: 415940
Born: Fremantle WA, 3 October 1921
Enlisted in the RAAF: 22 April 1942
Unit: No. 460 Squadron, RAF Binbrook, Lincolnshire
Died: Air Operations: (No. 460 Squadron Lancaster aircraft PB152), Germany, 19 October 1944, Aged 23 Years
Buried: Durnbach War Cemetery, Bad Tolz, Bayern, Germany
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Francois Ernest and Lillian Edith Fontaine, of East Fremantle, Western Australia.
Roll of Honour: Fremantle WA
Remembered: Panel 107, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT
Remembered: Cenotaph Undercroft, State War Memorial, Kings Park WA

Date: 19-20 October 1944
Target: Stuttgart
Total Force: Dispatched – 583, Attacking – 564
RAAF Force: No. 460 Dispatched – 28, Attacking – 28
Tons of Bombs Dropped: 2,446
Total Aircraft Lost: 6
RAAF Aircraft Lost: no. 460 – 2

No. 460 went to Stuttgart on 19th-20th October and, although crews were cautious in their reports because the target had been obscured by cloud, later evidence showed that electrical, chemical and aircraft factories had been badly damaged. The same night a smaller force from No . 5 Group (including Nos. 463 and 467 RAAF Squadrons) struck at Nuremberg and added to the confusion already created by USAAF daylight raids.

Extract from Herington, J. (John) (406545) Air War Over Europe 1944-1945, Australian War Memorial, Canberra, 1963 – Pages 306-7

Lancaster PB152 took off from RAF Binbrook at 1655 hours on 19 October 1944 to bomb Stuttgart, Germany. Bomb load 1 x 4000 lb (pound) (1,800 kg) bomb and 1800 x 4 lb (2 kg) incendiaries. Nothing was heard from the aircraft after take off and it did not return to base. Twenty eight aircraft from the squadron took part in the raid and two of these including PB152 failed to return.

The crew members of PB152 were:

Warrant Officer Reginald George Bain (412879) (Navigator) PoW, Discharged from the RAAF: 23 October 1945
Sergeant Arthur Langley Chisman (1896735) (RAFVR) (Flight Engineer)
Pilot Officer Peter Carroll Fontaine (415940) (Pilot)
Flight Sergeant Edward Joseph Kenealy (430890) (Rear Gunner)
Warrant Officer Reginald Arthur Krutli (421870) (Mid Upper Gunner)
Flying Officer Charles Gordon Middleton (437314) (Bomb Aimer)
Flight Sergeant George Henry Newman (427929) (Wireless Operator Air Gunner)

Warrant Officer Bain later reported ‘A night fighter shot us up setting fire to the starboard engine. The order to abandon was given. I acknowledged but did not hear any of the others do so. I was first to leave the aircraft at about 15,000 feet. The aircraft was in a steep dive but still seemed under control. Both the starboard engines were on fire. The aircraft was shot down and crashed approx 25 miles from Stuttgart. After parachuting I tried to make my way to France. I spent seven days walking through forests and along the roads at night. I was captured when breaking into a house for food. I was informed that all the crew members were killed.’ The six crew members are buried in the Durnbach War Cemetery, Germany

No. 460 Squadron lost Lancaster PB175 (Flight Lieutenant Douglas Boyd Hamilton (423722) (Pilot)) on 19 October 1944.

References:

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, 166/14/281

Bibliography:

Firkins, P. C. (Peter Charles) (441386) Strike and Return, Westward Ho Publishing City Beach WA, 1985
Silbert, E. A. (Eric Abraham) (427030) Dinkum Mishpochah, Artlook Books Hay Street East WA, 1981