LEST WE FORGET

Warrant Officer Walter Thomas Dominic FURLONG

Service No: 423785
Born: Glebe NSW, 25 October 1920
Enlisted in the RAAF: 18 July 1942
Unit: No. 455 Squadron, RAF Station Dallachy
Died: Air Operations: (No. 455 Squadron Beaufighter aircraft RD421), North Sea, 3 April 1945, Aged 24 Years
Buried: Unrecovered
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Walter Michael Furlong, and of Winifred Agnes Furlong, of Haberfield, New South Wales, Australia
Roll of Honour: Haberfield NSW
Remembered: Panel 283, Runnymede Memorial, Surrey UK
Remembered: Panel 106, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT

Beaufighter RD421 took off from Dallachy at 1727 hours on 3 April 1945 to carry out and anti-ship strike on Egersund Harbour. Thirteen aircraft from the Squadron took part in the strike and of these RD421 failed to return. The No. 455 Squadron aircraft were accompanied by 10 anti-flak Beaufighters (No. 489 Squadron (RNZAF)) 12 Rocket-equipped Beaufighters (No. 144 Squadron (RAF)) escorted by 12 Mustangs and 2 Air Sea Rescue Warwick aircraft. At 1807 hours the formation rendezvous at Peterhead with the Mustangs and set course for Egersund. At 1923 hours landfall within 4 miles of Egero. Formation turned to starboard and owing to poor weather conditions were unable to keep formation, The Leader called the Force and cancelled the operation and instructed Force to return to base. At 1927 hours there was an R/T message from an unidentified aircraft ‘going to ditch’ At 1928 hours 58.28N 05.28E mean position. An aircraft understood to be RD421 was seen flying low over the water then hit water and bounce with port engine trailing white smoke and starboard undercarriage down. The aircraft was seen again to hit the water and disintegrate. The dinghy was seen to inflate and one survivor swim towards it. Another body was seen in the water 15 yards from the dinghy apparently unconscious. At 1935 hours the Leader and main force set course for base having circled the area of the ditching. Aircraft ‘H/455’ remained until 1958 hours when a Warwick aircraft arrived in the area. No trace of crew of RD421 was found.

The crew members of RD421:

Warrant Officer Walter Thomas Dominic Furlong (423785) (Pilot)
Flight Sergeant Albert Edward Williams (432323) (Navigator Wireless)

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, 166/14/395

Bibliography:

Gordon, I. (Ian) Strike and Strike Again: 455 Squadron 1944-5, Banner Books Belconnen ACT 2616, 1995
Lawson, John Horwood Wightman (251634) The Story of No. 455 Squadron (RAAF), Wilke and Company, Melbourne VIC, 1951