LEST WE FORGET

Flying Officer Charles Antony HARLAND

Service No: 404790
Born: Labissa, Fiji, 3 August 1915
Enlisted in the RAAF: 8 November 1940 (at Brisbane QLD)
Unit: No. 455 Squadron, RAF Station Wigsley
Died: Air Operations: (No. 455 Squadron Hampden aircraft AE291), Germany, 11 April 1942, Aged 27 Years
Buried: Rheinberg War Cemetery, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Charles and Agnes Harland; husband of Helen Elizabeth Harland, of Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
Roll of Honour: Brisbane QLD
Remembered: Panel 106, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT

Hampden AE291 took off from Wigsley at 2145 hours on the night of 10/11April 1942 to bomb the main square at Essen, Germany. The aircraft carried “G13” 6 Bundles of Nickels, 1 x 2000lb and 2 x 250lb bombs. Nothing was heard from the aircraft after take-off and it did not return to base. Seven aircraft from the Squadron took part in the raid and two of these including AE291 failed to return. Post war it was established that all the crew members had been killed.

The crew members of AE291 were:

Flying Officer Charles Antony Harland (404790) (Navigator Bomb Aimer)
Sergeant Joseph Anthony Larkin (1310060) (RAFVR) (Wireless Operator Air Gunner)
Flying Officer Seth Tilstone Manners (403142) (Pilot)
Sergeant Charles Kay Ormston (1355088) (RAFVR) (Wireless Operator Air Gunner)

No. 455 Squadron lost Hampden AT221 (Flying Officer Robert Charles Roberts (3200) (Pilot)) on 11 April 1942.

The loss of Hampdens AE291 and AT221 were the final losses suffered by No. 455 Squadron as a Bomber Command Squadron. By 28 April 1942 the Squadron had moved to RAF Leuchars, Scotland, to continue Hampden operations under Coastal Command authority.

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, 163/35/176

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