HANSON Peter Edward 415528

LEST WE FORGET

Pilot Officer Peter Edward HANSON

Service No: 415528
Born: Woodville SA, 29 October 1920
Enlisted in the RAAF: 9 November 1941 (at Perth WA)
Unit: No. 463 Squadron, RAF Waddington, Lincolnshire
Died: Air Operations: (No. 463 Squadron Lancaster aircraft JA973), Germany, 30 January 1944, Aged 23 Years
Buried: Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery, Germany
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Adolf Henry Ernest and Ethel Hanson, of Dalkeith. Western Australia.
Roll of Honour: Dalkeith WA
Remembered: Panel 109, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT
Remembered: Cenotaph Undercroft, State War Memorial, Kings Park WA

Date: 30-31 January 1944
Target: Berlin
Total Force: Dispatched – 540, Attacking – 489
RAAF Force: No. 460 Dispatched – 12, Attacking – 12; No. 463 – 14, 13; No. 466 – 12, 6; No. 467 – 10, 10
Tons of Bombs Dropped: 1,961
Total Aircraft Lost: 33
RAAF Aircraft Lost: No. 463 – 4; No. 467 – 1

The importance of striking again before this conflagration died down led next night to another maximum strength attack, although the force had to operate in moon conditions which favoured German fighters. Six Halifaxes of No. 466 returned early to base because of unserviceable equipment, but the Lancasters had no difficulty in reaching Berlin. Cloud had once more sheeted the target but with abundant fighter flares, moonlight and the reflection of sky markers on cloud, the area appeared at times as bright as day. The section of the stream including No. 463 was persistently attacked by a group of fighters and, although one Ju-88 was damaged, the squadron lost four Lancasters. Flight Sergeant Campbell (1) of No. 467 also shot down an Me-110 outmanoeuvred by his pilot (Flight Lieutenant Simpson) but the enemy remained persistent and more fighters infiltrated the returning gaggles of bombers. Flying Officer Stevens (2) of No. 466 who had been attacked on each of his previous two trips to Berlin had to beat off attacks by three separate fighters during his return flight from this raid but by good crew drill aided by radar warning devices he again escaped with minor damage to his Halifax. Some navigators criticised the broadcast winds received during this flight, but the bombers kept well to the pre-arranged timetable and Australians described the concentration of sky markers as the best achieved for some time. Experienced crews again estimated that most of the bombs fell on Berlin, and enemy broadcasts almost immediately admitted that “extensive areas of Berlin were hit”.

(1) Warrant Officer Colin Argyle Campbell (426306) was discharged from the RAAF on 18 December 1944.
(2) Flight Lieutenant John Humphries Stevens DFC (416802) was discharged from the RAAF on 6 September 1945.

Extracts from Herington, J. (John) (406545) Air War Against Germany and Italy 1939-1943, Australian War Memorial, Canberra, 1954 – Pages 643, 645-6

Lancaster JA973 took off from RAF Waddington at 1724 hours on the night of 30/31st January 1944 to bomb Berlin. Nothing was heard from the aircraft after take off and it did not return to base. Fourteen aircraft from the Squadron took part in the raid and four of these including JA 973 failed to return. Following post war enquiries it was believed that the aircraft crashed at Repente, a small village north east of the Grosser Zecchlinersee, 12 kms south of Mirow. In a 1947 report by the No4 Missing Research and Enquiry Unit, it reported “parts of the aircraft were discovered on the shore of Zecchlinersee near the village of Repente. A local resident stated that the aircraft fell into the lake at night after an explosion in the air and the fuselage, wing and engine was in the lake about 1.5 miles north west of Repente. The turret fell away before the aircraft hit the water.”

The crew members of JA973 were:

Sergeant Norman Nicholas Bligh (1876647) (RAFVR) (Air Gunner)
Sergeant Laurence Bowes (1394105) (RAFVR) (Wireless Operator Air Gunner)
Flight Sergeant George Edward Edgecombe (1313034) (RAFVR) (Bomb Aimer)
Pilot Officer Peter Edward Hanson (415528) (Pilot)
Sergeant E A Hughes (1689766) (RAFVR) (Flight Engineer) PoW
Flight Sergeant Maurice Arthur Stevens (1321425) (RAFVR) (Navigator)
Flight Sergeant James Manning Melville Wilson (424315) (Air Gunner)

No. 463 Squadron lost Lancaster ED949 (Flying Officer Douglas Chapman Dunn (416418) (Pilot)) on 30 January 1944.

No. 463 Squadron lost Lancaster ED545 (Pilot Officer Lindsay Samuel Fairclough (415412) (Pilot)) on 30 January 1944.

No. 463 Squadron lost Lancaster ED772 (Flying Officer George Laurie Messenger (411652) (Pilot)) on 30 January 1944.

No. 467 Squadron lost Lancaster DV678 (Flying Officer Alexander Douglas Riley (3717) (Pilot)) on 30 January 1944.

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, 166/17/464