HUGHES Francis Rodney 415462

LEST WE FORGET

Flight Sergeant Francis Rodney HUGHES

Service No: 415462
Born: Sydney NSW, 18 February 1916
Enlisted in the RAAF: 9 November 1941 (at Perth WA)
Unit: No. 40 Squadron (RAF), Foggia Main, Italy
Died: Air Operations: Campaign against Oil (No. 40 Squadron Wellington aircraft LP120), Romania, 3 June 1944, Aged 28 Years
Buried: Unrecovered
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Dr. James F. Hughes and Holly Hughes: husband of Desolie Hughes, of Rose Bay, New South Wales, Australia.
Roll of Honour: Unknown
Remembered: Panel 16, Column 2, Malta Memorial, Malta
Remembered: Panel 124, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT
Remembered: Cenotaph Undercroft, State War Memorial, Kings Park WA

Wellington LP120 of 40 Squadron RAF, Central Mediterranean Force, took off at 2141 hours on the night of 2 June 1944 from Foggia, Italy, to attack Giurgiu, Romania. The aircraft failed to return to base after the mission. Four crew members were killed and one survived.

The crew members of LP120 were:

Flight Sergeant Francis Rodney Hughes (415462) (Pilot)
Flight Sergeant Alexander Smart Millar (1369929) (RAFVR) (Air Bomber)
Sergeant Walter Eric Samler (1393566) (RAFVR) (Wireless Operator Air Gunner)
Flight Sergeant K Shaw (1481552) (RAFVR) (Navigator) Survived
Flight Sergeant Francis Raymond Sweeney (427959) (Air Gunner)

Flight Sergeant Shaw later reported “the aircraft crashed approximately 15 miles south of Pirot in Yugoslavia. The aircraft was at 13,000 feet when the pilot requested a course to base and when turning there was an explosion and both engines failed. The order to bale out was given and that he and both Sergeant Millar and Flight Sergeant Sweeney left the aircraft. At the time both Samler and Hughes were still in the aircraft. Hughes was uninjured and the aircraft was under control. The aircraft was over rough country 40 miles west of Sofia. Shaw saw 2 parachutes on the ground next morning and assumed they belonged to both Sweeney and Millar.”

The other four members of the crew have no known grave and their names are commemorated on the Malta Memorial.

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, 166/18/367