FRANCIS Alan Henry 429655

LEST WE FORGET

Flying Officer Alan Henry FRANCIS

Service No: 429655
Born: Wangaratta VIC, 2 November 1911
Enlisted in the RAAF: 16 October 1942 (at Perth WA)
Unit: No. 460 Squadron, RAF Binbrook, Lincolnshire
Died: Air Operations: (No. 460 Squadron Lancaster aircraft PB541), Germany, 18 November 1944, Aged 33 Years
Buried: Reichswald Forest War Cemetery, Cleves, Germany
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Henry George and Mildred Ethel Francis; husband of Stefanie Emilie Marie Francis, of Ormond, Victoria, Australia.
Roll of Honour: Wangaratta VIC
Remembered: Panel 107, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT
Remembered: Cenotaph Undercroft, State War Memorial, Kings Park WA

Brother of Sergeant Edgar Davy Francis (411137)

No. 1 Group squadrons returned to Wanne-Eickel (synthetic oil plants) on 18th-19th November determined to succeed at night where it had failed by day. A slightly larger main force of 253 Lancasters was accompanied by no fewer than 56 pathfinder aircraft. Although weather at base was poor, conditions improved as forecast over the Continent and crews of No. 460 found the target area without difficulty. They reported that target indicators were plentiful and well placed so that a rhythmic concentrated attack was well under way when they arrived. Numerous explosions were noted and crews of all squadrons reported that the glow of fires could be seen up to 70 miles away.

Extract from Herington, J. (John) (406545) Air War Over Europe 1944-1945, Australian War Memorial, Canberra, 1963 – Pages 221-2

Lancaster PB541 took off from RAF Binbrook at 1537 hours on 18 November 1944 to bomb Wanne-Eickel. The bomb load was 1 x 4000 lb (pound) (1,800 kg) and 16 x 500 lb (225 kg) bombs. Nothing was heard from the aircraft after take off and it did not return to base. Twenty three aircraft from the squadron took part in the raid and one PB541 failed to return. Post war it was established that the aircraft crashed near Bochum, Germany.

The crew members of PB541 were:

Flying Officer James McFadden Beeston (424355) (Wireless Operator Air Gunner)
Flight Sergeant Garry Brendan Byrne (437333) (Bomb Aimer)
Flying Officer Arnold George Carter (419556) (Pilot)
Flight Sergeant Douglas Neal Charlesworth (422133) (Mid Upper Gunner)
Sergeant Norman Shallcross Evans (1037397) (RAFVR) (Flight Engineer)
Flying Officer Alan Henry Francis (429655) (Navigator)
Flight Sergeant Richard James Payne (437695) (Rear Gunner)

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, 166/14/309

Bibliography:

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