Pilot Officer Kenneth James GODWIN

Service No: 412945
Born: Bexley NSW, 14 October 1921
Enlisted in the RAAF: 15 August 1941
Unit: No. 460 Squadron, RAF Binbrook, Lincolnshire
Died: Air Operations: (No. 460 Squadron Lancaster aircraft JB610), Germany, 20 February 1944, Aged 22 Years
Buried: Unrecovered
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Grace B. Godwin, of Carlton, New South Wales, Australia.
Roll of Honour: Hurstville NSW
Remembered: Panel 258, Runnymede Memorial, Surrey
Remembered: Panel 107, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT

Date: 19-20 February 1944
Target: Leipzig
Total Force: Dispatched – 823, Attacking – 730
RAAF Force: No. 460 Dispatched – 24, Attacking – 23; No. 463 Dispatched – 18, Attacking – 17; No. 466 Dispatched – 14, Attacking – 11; No. 467 Dispatched – 17, Attacking – 17
Tons of Bombs Dropped: 2,291
Total Aircraft Lost: 78
RAAF Aircraft Lost: No. 460 – 2; No. 463 – 1; No. 466 – 2

The third and largest raid on 19th-20th February, which opened the week of all out effort against Luftwaffe resources, was an anticlimax. The German fighters ignored a large-scale demonstration by mine-laying aircraft near Kiel and while investigating intruder activity over Dutch airfields, by an unlucky chance met the main bomber stream at the beginning of its journey. One Halifax of No. 466 was harassed persistently by three Ju-88’s for a long part of the route and other Australians were forced to evade fighters. Adding to this dispersion of the bomber stream, incorrect wind forecasts upset the entire navigation plan. Most bombers arrived early at the scheduled turning
points and milled round with greatly-increased risks from collisions as well as offering ideal targets for fighters. Twenty bombers were seen to go down in flames and another four as a result of collisions before the target was reached. The main stream was again early over Leipzig and crews of No. 460 who were in the first wave found Lancasters orbiting and bombing on all headings, even before the appointed time. When the Pathfinders laid their markers the attack settled down and most of the Australians were confident that a satisfactory concentration was achieved. On the following day, 184 American Fortresses made a precision attack on Leipzig and the result of these two attacks was extensive damage in five of the ten largest war factories, including the Erla aircraft works, the A.T.A.G. assembly plant and an aircraft-engine works.

Extract from Herington, J. (John) (406545) Air War Against Germany and Italy 1939-1943, Australian War Memorial, Canberra, 1954 – Page 654

Lancaster JB610 took off from RAF Binbrook at 2334 hours on 19 February 1944 to bomb Leipzig, Germany. The bomb load was 1 x 4000 lb (pound) (1,800 kg) and 6 x 1000 lb (450 kg) bombs. Nothing was heard from the aircraft after take off and it did not return to base. Twenty four aircraft from the squadron took part in the raid. Of these two aircraft including JB 610 failed to return. Post war it was established that the aircraft exploded in the air and crashed into the Steinhudermeet Lake near the town of Hagenburg, Germany, with wreckage scattered over a wide area. Two crew members became Prisoners of War and the other five were killed.

The crew members of JB 610 were:

Sergeant Francis Clarkson (1007251) (RAFVR) (Rear Gunner)
Flight Sergeant Vernon Walter Dellit (414542) (Bomb Aimer) PoW, Discharged from the RAAF: 12 December 1945
Pilot Officer Kenneth James Godwin (412945) (Pilot)
Flight Sergeant Francis Arthur Hennessey (421332) (Wireless Operator Air Gunner)
Flying Officer John Nathan Morris (419274) (Mid Upper Gunner)
Sergeant M Wiggins (1336829) (RAFVR) (Navigator) PoW
Sergeant Cyril Charles Wood (1602462) (RAFVR) (Flight Engineer)

Sergeant Wiggins in a statement said ‘A fighter gave us a three second burst from tail to nose. The pilot asked if the crew were OK. Only the bomb aimer, engineer and self replied. While attending to a fire on my desk, my intercom became disconnected. Then the engineer passed me to go down the fuselage. At that time I saw the wireless operator getting up from his seat. After finishing with the fire on my desk, I followed the engineer to a fire amidships but both he and the wireless operator had disappeared. The fire was impossible to control so I returned to my desk to report to the pilot over the intercom, but received no reply from any of the crew. I looked around the blackout curtain and saw the pilot seat vacant, and also the bomb aimer’s compartment, so I assumed they had baled out. I followed suit. This statement was written in the presence of the bomb aimer.’

No. 460 Squadron lost Lancaster ND569 (Flight Sergeant Stanley Vincent Mackrell (410248) (Pilot)) on 19/20 February 1944.

No. 463 Squadron lost Lancaster DV338 (Flying Officer Ernest Athol Fayle (412396) (Pilot)) on 19/20 February 1944.

No. 466 Squadron lost Halifax LV781 (Warrant Officer James Francisco Moran (415168) (Pilot)) on 19/20 February 1944.


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, 166/16/278


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

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