LEST WE FORGET

Pilot Officer John Standish HENDERSON

Service No: 411323
Born: Manly NSW, 8 September 1921
Enlisted in the RAAF: 28 April 1941
Unit: No. 502 Squadron (RAF)
Died: Air Operations: (No. 502 Squadron Halifax aircraft BB314), Bay of Biscay, 22 March 1943, Aged 21 Years
Buried: Unrecovered
CWGC Additional Information: Son of John Crawford Henderson and Laura Elizabeth Henderson, of Gordon, New South Wales, Australia
Roll of Honour: Ku-ring-gai NSW
Remembered: Panel 191, Runnymede Memorial, Surrey UK
Remembered: Panel 123, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT
Remembered: Ku-ring-gai World War II Book of Remembrance, Gordon NSW

On 22 March 1943 Halifax BB314 was detailed to carry out a convoy escort duty in the Bay of Biscay area. The aircraft took off at 0435 hours and was due to return at 1610 hours. Nothing further was heard from the aircraft after take-off. Searches by two Hudsons of No. 279 Squadron and one Whitley from 10 Operational Training Unit were unsuccessful with no trace of aircraft or crew being found. It was later learned that BB314 had been shot down with one crew member taken prisoner and it was presumed that the remainder of the crew were lost at sea.

The crew members of BB314 were:

Sergeant Stanley Ellam (1108503) (RAFVR) (Wireless Operator/Air Gunner)
Pilot Officer John Standish Henderson (411323) (Navigator Bomb Aimer)
Sergeant Harry Hope (1002934) (RAFVR) (Wireless Operator/Air Gunner)
Pilot Officer Leslie John McCullock (49842) (RAF) (Pilot)
Sergeant Leslie Shepherd (1091312) (RAFVR) (Pilot)
Warrant Officer II Peter Shmigelsky (R/86417) (RCAF) (Wireless Operator/Air Gunner)
Pilot Officer Adam Joseph Stuart (130332) (RAFVR) (Supernumerary)
Sergeant Harold Cameron Taylor (5627) (Flight Engineer) PoW, Discharged from the RAAF: 19 November 1945

Sergeant Taylor later reported that “the aircraft was shot down into the sea during the morning of 22 March 1943 and from the time of casualty until subsequent rescue from the dinghy I saw no other member of the crew and can advise no information concerning their fate.”

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, 166/17/81
Register of War Memorials in New South Wales On-Line