LEST WE FORGET
Flight Sergeant William Leonard HOUSTON
Service No: 423535
Born: Annandale NSW, 17 March 1924
Enlisted in the RAAF: 14 July 1942
Unit: No. 467 Squadron, RAF Waddington, Lincolnshire
Died: Air Operations: (No. 467 Squadron Lancaster aircraft NN714), Germany, 11 November 1944, Aged 20 Years
Buried: Becklingen War Cemetery, Soltau, Niedersachsen, Germany
CWGC Additional Information: Son of William George Robert and Amber Florence Houston, of Darlington, New South Wales, Australia.
Roll of Honour: Sydney NSW
Remembered: Panel 111, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT
The Australians in No. 5 Group made a night raid on 11th-12th November against two refineries at Harburg, south of Hamburg. No. 463 provided 14 and No. 467 19 Lancasters on this occasion, while more than 20 of the other aircraft in a total force of 245 were piloted by Australians. To pilots of No. 463 this was an uneventful routine duty, conducted in fair weather with two thin layers of stratus cloud beneath the bomber stream. Some fighter flares were seen while crossing the Heligoland Bight and there was fierce ground gunfire in the vicinity of the target. But the raid was one of minimum penetration of enemy territory and pilots who arrived in the first wave of bombers found the target well marked and were able to bomb and turn for home without delay. Crews of the other Waddington squadron, No. 467, had a less fortunate night; they lost two Lancasters and a third piloted by Flying Officer Kynoch (1) was first damaged by flak during the run up to the target and then subjected to two attacks by fighters as it turned for home. Although the Lancaster was further badly damaged by the second fighter attack, Kynoch, with the assistance of his bomb aimer, Flying Officer Chalk (2), safely flew it to an emergency airfield in the United Kingdom. A similar feat was performed during the same raid by Flight Lieutenant Cornish (3) of No. 83 Squadron (RAF). Indeed, although many crew reports echo the opinion of No. 463 that this was an uneventful raid, the loss of 7 Lancasters out of 245 was actually the highest percentage lost on any oil raid during the three winter months of 1944.
(1) Flight Lieutenant William Morris Kynoch DFC (419657) was discharged from the RAAF on 11 April 1946.
(2) Flight Lieutenant John Alphonse Chalk (419946) was discharged from the RAAF on 18 February 1946.
(3) Flight Lieutenant Peter Cannon Cornish DFC & Bar (410458) was discharged from the RAAF on 26 August 1946.
Extract from Herington, J. (John) (406545) Air War Over Europe 1944-1945, Australian War Memorial, Canberra, 1963 – Pages 219-220
Lancaster NN714 took off from RAF Waddington at 1618 hours on 11th November 1944 to bomb Harburg, Germany. Bomb load 1 x 1000 lb (pound) (450 kg) bomb, 14 x 4 lb (2 kg) clusters. Nothing was heard from the aircraft after take off and the aircraft did not return to base. Nineteen aircraft from the Squadron took part in the raid and two of these including NN 714 failed to return. Post war it was established that the aircraft crashed on fire at Bremerhaven, Germany.
The crew members of NN714 were:
Sergeant George Edward Carrington (1862974) (RAFVR) (Air Gunner)
Flying Officer Murray James Feddersen (419989) (Pilot)
Warrant Officer Ian Hutchinson Gray (418833) (Navigator)
Sergeant Ronald William Charles Heath (1891988) (RAFVR) (Air Gunner)
Flight Sergeant William Leonard Houston (423535) (Wireless Operator Air Gunner)
Flight Sergeant Mervyn Roger Stedman (434038) (Bomb Aimer)
Sergeant Eric Frank Vevers (1814186) (RAFVR) (Flight Engineer)
No. 467 Squadron lost Lancaster NF917 (Flying Officer Thomas Frank Eyre (427077) (Pilot)) on 11 November 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, 166/18/477