FREEMAN Reginald Thomas 415777

LEST WE FORGET

Flight Sergeant Reginald Thomas Arthur FREEMAN

Service No: 415777
Born: Subiaco WA, 11 February 1921
Enlisted in the RAAF: 1 February 1942
Unit: No. 458 Squadron, Bone, Algeria
Died: Air Operations: (No. 458 Squadron Wellington aircraft Radio Call Sign FU-X) Algeria, 27 November 1943, Aged 22 Years
Buried: Bone War Cemetery, Annabar, Algeria
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Thomas Alexander Winisfred Freeman and Mary Freeman, of Cottesloe, Western Australia.
Roll of Honour: Cottesloe WA
Remembered: Panel 106, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT
Remembered: Cenotaph Undercroft, State War Memorial, Kings Park WA

For various reasons which no doubt included 458’s anti-submarine patrols, U-boats were less dangerous at this time to Allied shipping than were enemy aircraft. Another convoy to which 458 was to give protection against U-boats was under heavy attack by thirty torpedo and glider bombers, when the first of the Wellingtons arrived at dusk on 26th November. The convoy made very effective use of smoke screens and was putting up intense flak. British long-range fighters (Beaufighters) also intervened, and several Axis aircraft were lost. However, a British transport was also lost.

The aftermath of this engagement was an Air-Sea Rescue operation by three 458 Wellingtons the following day, in aid of a missing Beaufighter crew, and the loss of a 458 crew in the course of it.
Fight Sergeant. J. Richards, an Australian with a mixed crew, was killed when he crashed in hill country near Cap Bougeron. He and his crew were subsequently buried with Air Force honours in Bone Military Cemetery. Padre McNamara, RAAF, celebrated the burial service for the Roman Catholics in the crew, and Padre McKenzie, RAF, for the Protestants. Warrant officer Laming commanded the firing party and escort at the funeral to which many of the Squadron came to honour their dead.

Extract from Alexander, P. (Peter) We Find and Destroy: history of No. 458 Squadron, The 458 Squadron Council, 1959 – Page 140

Wellington Call Sign FU – X took off from Tahir at 1445 hours on 27 November 1943 to search for a missing Beaufighter of No. 153 Squadron (RAF). At 1844 hours a message was received from the aircraft ‘ETA Bone 1955 hours’. The aircraft crashed on the west side of a hill on Cape Bougaroun and was completely burnt out and the crew killed.

The crew members of FU-X were:

Warrant Officer Class 1 Andrew Aikman (R/93115) (RCAF) (Navigator)
Flight Sergeant Maurice Victor Aungier (1133860) (RAFVR) (Second Pilot)
Flight Sergeant Reginald Thomas Arthur Freeman (415777) (Rear Gunner)
Flight Sergeant Louis James Muschialli (410909) (Special Equipment (Radar) Operator)
Flight Sergeant Gordon Keith Reid (422702) (Wireless Operator)
Flight Sergeant Jack Richards (409851) (Pilot)

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, 166/14/134

Bibliography:

Alexander, P. (Peter) We Find and Destroy: history of No. 458 Squadron, The 458 Squadron Council, 1959