LEST WE FORGET
Flight Sergeant Colin HEMINGWAY
Service No: 417839
Born: Henley Beach SA, 16 October 1918
Enlisted in the RAAF: 18 July 1942
Unit: No. 463 Squadron, RAF Waddington, Lincolnshire
Died: Air Operations (No. 463 Squadron Lancaster aircraft JA902), Germany, 3 January 1944, Aged 25 Years
Buried: Vollenhove (Stad-Vollenhove) General Cemetery, Overijssel, Netherlands
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Percy Walter and Lillian Ethel Hemingway, of Hilton, South Australia.
Roll of Honour: Hilton SA
Remembered: Panel 109, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT
Remembered: World War II Honour Roll, National War Memorial of SA, North Terrace, Adelaide
Date: 2-3 January 1944
Total Force: Dispatched – 383, Attacking – 311
RAAF Force: No. 460 Dispatched – 19, Attacking – 15; No. 463 Dispatched – 8, Attacking – 6; No. 467 Dispatched – 8, Attacking – 7
Tons of Bombs Dropped: 1,116
Total Aircraft Lost: 27
RAAF Aircraft Lost: No. 460 – 1; No. 467 – 1 (No. 460 Lancaster JB738 omitted)
Equally disappointing was the repeat attack made the following night when a number of small factors again combined to prevent good results. Five of thirteen Lancasters of No. 467 could not be prepared in time and one of No. 460 crashed on take-off. The late start made to avoid moonlight and gale conditions over Germany ruled out feint routeing tactics, and the bomber stream was hotly beset throughout its passage. Icing conditions forced several crews to jettison all or part of their bomb load before reaching Berlin, and some crews who received orders during flight to abandon their sortie had actually bombed alternative targets before over-riding instructions were issued for them to carry on to Berlin. The capital was still covered by cloud and the Australians, worried persistently by a swarm of night fighters, were forced to choose between widely-placed sky markers. There was little confidence in the accuracy of the bombing. The casualty rate (nearly 7 per cent) compared with the military results of these last two attacks appeared unduly high.
Extract from Herington, J. (John) (406545) Air War Against Germany and Italy 1939-1943, Australian War Memorial, Canberra, 1954 – Pages 643-4
Lancaster JA902 took off from RAF Waddington at 2313 hours on the night of 2/3rd January 1944 to bomb Berlin. Bomb load 1 x 4000 lb (pound) (1,800 kg) bomb, 48 x 30 lb (14 kg), 900 x 4 lb (2 kg) incendiaries. Nothing was heard from the aircraft after take off and it did not return to base. Six aircraft from the Squadron took part in the raid and one of these JA902 failed to return. Post war it was established that the aircraft crashed into water which has since been reclaimed to form the Noord-Oost-Polder.
The crew members of JA902 were:
Sergeant Albert Edward Cowell (1860362) (RAFVR) (Flight Engineer)
Pilot Officer John Watson Gage (151085) (RAFVR) (Navigator)
Flight Sergeant Colin Hemingway (417839) (Air Gunner)
Flight Sergeant Francis Noel Looney (423290) (Bomb Aimer)
Pilot Officer Peter Louis Symonds (408054) (Air Gunner)
Flight Sergeant William Donald Toohey (426401) (Wireless Operator Air Gunner)
Pilot Officer Jack Weatherill (410021) (Pilot)
No. 460 Squadron lost Lancaster JB606 (Flight Sergeant Reginald William Rowley) (Pilot)) on 2/3 January 1944.
No. 460 Squadron lost Lancaster JB738 (Flight Lieutenant Barring Armitage Knyvett (402869) (Pilot)) on 2 January 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, 166/17/426