FRENCH Geoffrey Charles 422484

LEST WE FORGET

Flight Sergeant Geoffrey Charles FRENCH

Service No: 422484
Born: Ryde NSW, 27 July 1917
Enlisted in the RAAF: 22 May 1942
Unit: No. 104 Squadron (RAF)
Died: Air Operations: (No. 104 Squadron Wellington aircraft LN928), off Corsica, 17 April 1944, Aged 26 Years
Buried: Unrecovered
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Albert Edgar and Elizabeth Ida French, of Hornsby, New South Wales, Australia.
Roll of Honour: Unknown
Remembered: Panel 16, Column 2, Malta Memorial, Malta
Remembered: Panel 122, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT

At 2307 hours on 16 April 1944 Wellington LN928 took off from Foggia aerodrome to attack a target at Leghorn, Italy. The following messages were received from the aircraft: 0130 hours- Landing at Borgo with engine trouble; 0206 hours – preparing to ditch, and 0209 hours – now ditching at position 42.20N 009.57E. The position was in the sea near Corsica. When the aircraft ditched, Flying Officer Gilleland was forced out of the escape hatch by the inrush of water. No other survivors were seen. He reached a dinghy and later saw a light being shone upside of the dinghy. He was rescued when a Catalina was sighted and attracted that afternoon. It was later recorded that the 5 missing members had lost their lives at sea.

The crew members of LN928 were:

Sergeant Ronald Adams (1047206) (RAFVR) (Wireless Operator Air)
Flying Officer Leslie Albert Denison (418224) (Navigator Bomb Aimer)
Sergeant William Fox (1586899) (RAFVR) (Navigator)
Flight Sergeant Geoffrey Charles French (422484) (Navigator Bomb Aimer)
Flying Officer William Campbell Gilleland (421900) (Pilot) Rescued, Discharged from the RAAF: 11 July 1945
Warrant Officer William Barry Ryan (413446) (Air 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 Veterans’ Affairs On-Line WWII Nominal Roll
National Archives of Australia On-Line Record A705, 166/14/188