LEST WE FORGET

Sergeant Kennington John Hythe HARRIS

Service No: 408163
Born: Launceston TAS, 29 November 1921
Enlisted in the RAAF: 31 January 1941
Unit: No. 460 Squadron, RAF Station Breighton, Yorkshire
Died: Air Operations (No. 460 Squadron Lancaster aircraft W4274), Netherlands, 4 January 1943, Aged 21 Years
Buried: Uden War Cemetery, Noord-Brabant, Netherlands
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Leonard Ernest Hythe Harris and Marjorie Heather Harris, of Scottsdale, Tasmania, Australia
Roll of Honour: Unknown
Remembered: Panel 107, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT

Date: 4-5 January 1943
Target: Essen
Total Force: Dispatched – 33, Attacking – 21
RAAF Force: No. 460 Dispatched – 10, Attacking – 7
Tons of Bombs Dropped: 57
Total Aircraft Lost: 2
RAAF Aircraft Lost: No. 460 – 1

A number of small-scale raids were mounted against Essen (January 4-5, 7-8, 9-10, 11-12, 12-13 and 21-22) during January 1943, more with the object of harassing the Ruhr defence organisations and of providing up-to-date information than with any hope of causing real damage. Mass attack was deliberately postponed until such time as freedom from other duties and the perfection of new path-finding marking techniques should give Bomber Command a real chance to obliterate what had hitherto proved its most difficult target. RAAF squadrons flew on six (1) of these nuisance raids.

(1) No. 460 Squadron Lancaster W4274 was the only RAAF aircraft lost on these six raids.

Extracts from Herington, J. (John) (406545) Air War Against Germany and Italy 1939-1943, Australian War Memorial, Canberra, 1954 – Pages 466

Lancaster W4274 took off form RAF Breighton at 1726 hours on 4 January 1943 to attack Essen, Germany. The bomb load was 1 x 4000 lb (pound) (1,800 kg) bomb and 10 SBC. The aircraft failed to return to base. Post war it was established that the aircraft was shot down by a night fighter and crashed at 2022 hours on 4 January near Nijmegen, (Gelderland), Netherlands. All the crew members were killed

The crew members of W4274 were:

Flight Sergeant Hiram George Brooks (405156) (Pilot)
Flight Sergeant Eric John Benjamin Fletcher (405547) (Mid Upper Gunner)
Flight Sergeant Herbert Peace Gray (405443) (Bomb Aimer)
Sergeant Kennington John Hythe Harris (408163) (Rear Gunner)
Flight Sergeant Francis Ebsworth Hutchinson (411327) (Navigator)
Flight Sergeant Ronald Thomas Lonsdale (403273) (Wireless Operator Air Gunner)
Sergeant Jack Hill Watson (546010) (RAF) (Flight Engineer)

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, 166/17/3

Bibliography:

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