Flight Sergeant John Samuel FREETH

Service No: 411768
Born: Coogee NSW, 23 May 1920
Enlisted in the RAAF: 25 May 1941
Unit: No. 455 Squadron, RAF Station Leuchars
Died: Aircraft Accident (No. 455 Squadron Hampden aircraft AE132), Scotland, 24 May 1943, Aged 23 Years
Buried: Unrecovered
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Mrs. E. A. Freeth, of Cogee, New South Wales, Australia
Roll of Honour: Unknown
Remembered: Panel 192, Runnymede Memorial, Surrey UK
Remembered: Panel 106, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT

Hampden AE132 took off from RAF Leuchars on an Air Launch Torpedo exercise carried out in the afternoon on 24 May 1943 with an escort of one Beaufighter of No. 235 Squadron RAF. AE132 collided in flight with the Beaufighter during the exercise and both aircraft disintegrated and crashed into the sea. The accident happened approximately 5 miles off Fraserburgh and all the crew members were killed.

The crew members of AE132 were:

Flight Sergeant Horace Robert John Downing (R/74871) (RCAF) (Wireless Operator Air Gunner)
Flight Sergeant John Samuel Freeth (411768) (Pilot)
Flight Sergeant Albert John Wheatcroft (1330814) (RAFVR) (Navigator Bomb Aimer)
Flying Officer Ian Hamilton Whitson (404593) (Wireless Operator Air Gunner)

The crew members of the Beaufighter were:

Pilot Officer Samuel Sabin (138831) (RAFVR)
Pilot Officer Warren Raymond Taggert (R/16702) (RCAF)

The bodies of Flight Sergeant Wheatcroft and Flight Sergeant Downing were recovered by the Peterborough Life Guard. No trace of the other crew members could be found.


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 Veterans’ Affairs On-Line WWII Nominal Roll
National Archives of Australia On-Line Record A705, 163/113/250

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