Warrant Officer William Liness Charles HICKLING DFC

Service No: 400433
Born: East Brunswick VIC, 14 February 1922
Enlisted in the RAAF: 2 September 1940
Unit: No. 156 Squadron (RAF), RAF Station Warboys
Awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC), 16 November 1943
Died: Air Operations: (No. 156 Squadron Lancaster aircraft JA674), Germany, 20 December 1943, Aged 21 Years
Buried: Hanover War Cemetery, Niedersachsen, Germany
CWGC Additional Information: Son of William Charles and Mary Celia Hickling, of North Fitzroy, Victoria, Australia
Roll of Honour: Brunswick VIC
Remembered: Panel 123, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT

DFC Citation: Warrant Officer Hickling, as Rear Gunner, has consistently displayed courage and coolness in the face of heavy opposition. On three occasions his aircraft has been attacked by enemy fighters and after a sortie to Milan in August 1943, it was chiefly due to his efforts as Fire Controller that his captain was able to fly home in safety. Warrant Officer Hickling has completed numerous operational sorties, many of them against strongly defended objectives in enemy territory and has invariably set a fine example to the rest of the squadron. (London Gazette 16 November 1943, page 5025)

At 1715 hours on the night of 20 December 1943 Lancaster JA674 took off from RAF Warboys detailed to bomb Frankfurt, Germany. Nothing was heard from the aircraft after take-off and it failed to return to base. The aircraft was lost and all the crew members were killed.

The crew members of JA674 were:

Warrant Officer William Liness Charles Hickling DFC (400433) (Rear Gunner)
Warrant Officer Cyril William Knox DFC (22170) (Flight Engineer)
Flight Lieutenant George Bruce Loder DFC (412160) (Navigator)
Flight Sergeant George Edward Mason DFM (1007560) (RAFVR) (Mid Upper Gunner)
Pilot Officer Eric Whitby Ritchie DFC (412189) (Wireless Air Gunner)
Flight Lieutenant Michael Acton Sullivan DFC (414697) (RNZAF) (Pilot)
Flight Lieutenant Rex Henry Wedd DFC (408200) (Air Bomber)


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, 166/17/411

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