LEST WE FORGET

Flying Officer Donald George HUDSPETH

Service No: 408440
Born: Hobart TAS, 10 November 1921
Enlisted in the RAAF: 25 May 1942
Unit: No. 460 Squadron, RAF Station Binbrook, Lincolnshire
Died: Air Operations (No. 460 Squadron Lancaster aircraft PB557), Germany, 5 March 1945, Aged 23 Years
Buried: Hanover War Cemetery, Hannover, Niedersachsen, Germany
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Robert and Ada Beatrice Hudspeth, of Sandy Bay, Tasmania, Australia
Roll of Honour: Hobart TAS
Remembered: Panel 107, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT

Accordingly three weeks later on 5th-6th March Bomber Command staged a repeat area raid to Chemnitz, raising the numbers of attacking aircraft from 670 (14th-15th February) to 1,100. Again No. 460 (21 Lancasters) and No. 466 (15 Halifaxes) were the only RAAF squadrons engaged because No. 5 Group was attacking Bohlen that night. No. 460 lost one of its experienced crews headed by Squadron Leader Holmes during this raid and there were contradictory reports at debriefing concerning the relative success of the attack. One Australian air gunner of No. 550 Squadron wrote in his diary: “It proved to be the longest trip we had ever made. Unfortunately cloud conditions prevailed over most of the route and the target was also covered in 10-10ths cloud. Path Finder Force (PFF) had the target well marked and good fires were started but we couldn’t see any results. A rather disappointing trip after going all that way and we were all very tired when we arrived back at base. One PFF kite blew up over the target and emitted a tremendous shower of markers . . . . ”

Extract from Herington, J. (John) (406545) Air War Over Europe 1944-1945, Australian War Memorial, Canberra, 1963 – Page 421

Lancaster PB557 took off from RAF Binbrook at 1629 hours on 5 March 1945 to Bomb Chemnitz, Germany. The bomb load was 1 x 4000 lb (pound) (1,800 kg) bomb, 10 x No 14 clusters, 1 x 60 x 4 lb (2 kg), 1 x 150 x 4 lb 92 kg) incendiaries. Nothing was heard from the aircraft after take off and it did not return to base. Twenty one aircraft from the squadron took part in the raid and only one of these PB557 failed to return. Post war it was established that the aircraft crashed at Pfieffe, 5kms east southeast of Spangenberg. The Pfieffe burgomaster confirmed that on the 5 March 1945 a four engined Lancaster circled low over the hills about 2 miles NW of Pfieffe, with one or more engines on fire and crashed. Eight bodies had been recovered with 6 of these identified. Another crew member on the same raid reported that over the target Clarke’s aircraft had been attacked by a fighter at high altitude and that there was time to bale out.

The crew members of PB557 were:

Flying Officer Ivan Stanley Baudinette (409653) (Wireless Operator Air)
Flight Sergeant Trevor Turner Clarke (430159) (Second Pilot)
Sergeant Ralph Eugene Hayward (1671853) (RAFVR) (Bomb Aimer)
Squadron Leader John Cecil Holmes DFC (405792) (Pilot)
Flying Officer Donald George Hudspeth (408440) (Navigator)
Warrant Officer Elwyn Oswald Thomas Mayne (412167) (Air Gunner)
Flight Lieutenant Thomas Ernest Victor Morgan DFM (412815) (Air Gunner)
Sergeant John Young (1790121) (RAFVR) (Flight Engineer)

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 Veteran’s Affairs On-Line WWII Nominal Roll
National Archives of Australia On-Line Record A705, 166/18/450

Bibliography:

Firkins, P. C. (Peter Charles) (441386) Strike and Return, Westward Ho Publishing City Beach WA, 1985