Flying Officer Robert Maxwell HARRIS

Service No: 401690
Born: St Kilda VIC, 29 March 1921
Enlisted in the RAAF: 27 February 1942
Unit: No. 467 Squadron, RAF Waddington, Lincolnshire
Died: Air Operations: (No. 467 Squadron Lancaster aircraft ED657), Netherlands, 22 May 1944, Aged 23 Years
Buried: Jonkerbos War Cemetery, Gelderland, Netherlands
CWGC Additional Information: Son of George Henry and Minna Dorothea Harris, of Kew, Victoria, Australia.
Roll of Honour: Kew VIC
Remembered: Panel 110, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT

Date: 21-22 May 1944
Target: Duisburg
Total Force: Dispatched – 532, Attacking – 488
RAAF Force: No. 460 Dispatched – 21, Attacking – 21; No. 463 Dispatched – 15, Attacking – 13; No. 467 Dispatched – 16, Attacking – 15
Tons of Bombs Dropped: 2,220
Total Aircraft Lost: 29
RAAF Aircraft Lost: No. 460 – 1; No. 463 – 2; No. 467 – 1

Except for a small attack on the Berleit motor vehicle works at Lyon on 1st-2nd May, the RAAF squadrons concentrated on tactical targets until 21st-22nd May, when Ruhr targets were again bombed, partly for the intrinsic value of impeding German production, but with the important corollary of splitting enemy air defences between German industries and the French invasion area. That night Nos. 460, 463 and 467 all attacked Duisburg, causing especially heavy damage in the industrial suburb of Hoschfeld.

Extract from Herington, J. (John) (406545) Air War Over Europe 1944-1945, Australian War Memorial, Canberra, 1963 – Pages 46, 48

Lancaster ED657 took off from RAF Bomber Command at 2245 hours on the night of 21/22nd May 1944 to bomb Duisberg, Germany. The Bomb load was 1 x 4000 lb (pound) (1,800 kg) bomb, 80 x 30 lb (14 kg) and 1500 x 4 lb (2 kg) incendiaries. Nothing was heard from the aircraft after take off and it did not return to base. Sixteen aircraft from the Squadron took part in the raid and one of these ED657 failed to return. Post war it was established that the aircraft crashed at Nunhem in the Dutch province of Limburg, west of the Maas and about 6kms north west from the centre of Roermond.

The crew members of ED657 were:

Flight Sergeant Douglas Graham Garde (426079) (Navigator)
Flying Officer Keith Ian Hailey (419467) (Wireless Operator Air Gunner)
Flying Officer Robert Maxwell Harris (401690) (Pilot)
Sergeant Patrick Joseph Anthony O’Callaghan (1167231) (RAFVR) (Air Gunner)
Sergeant Alec Raymond Potts (1861337) (RAFVR) (Flight Engineer)
Flying Officer Thomas Lavenham Spring (423918) (Bomb Aimer)
Sergeant Cyril Wallbank (945652) (RAFVR) (Air Gunner)

No. 460 Squadron lost Lancaster LL951 (Pilot Officer Reginald Eugene McDougall (J/35148) (RCAF) (Pilot)) on 22 May 1944.

No. 463 Squadron lost Lancaster ME580 (Flying Officer Kenneth Edgar Archay (426941) (Pilot)) on 22 May 1944.

No. 463 Squadron lost Lancaster ME571 (Pilot Officer Murray Edmund Pratten (416994) (Pilot)) on 22 May 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, 166/17/590

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