Flying Officer Mervyn Royce HUGHES

Service No: 422204
Born: Forest Lodge NSW, 16 November 1921
Enlisted in the RAAF: 25 April 1942
Unit: No. 463 Squadron, RAF Waddington, Lincolnshire
Died: Air Operations: (No. 463 Squadron Lancaster aircraft ME571), Germany, 22 May 1944, Aged 22 Years
Buried: Unrecovered
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Harvey Mitton Hughes and Ada Hughes, of Glebe Point, New South Wales, Australia.
Roll of Honour: Sydney NSW
Remembered: Panel 257, Runnymede Memorial, Surrey UK
Remembered: Panel 109, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT

Date: 21-22 May 1944
Target: Duisburg
Total Force: Dispatched – 532, Attacking – 488
RAAF Force: No. 460 Dispatched – 21, Attacking – 21; No. 463 – Dispatched – 15, Attacking – 13; No. 467 – Dispatched – 16, Attacking – 15
Tons of Bombs Dropped: 2,220
Total Aircraft Lost: 29
RAAF Aircraft Lost: No. 460 – 1; No. 463 – 2; No. 467 – 1

Except for a small attack on the Berleit motor vehicle works at Lyon on 1st-2nd May, the RAAF squadrons concentrated on tactical targets until 21st-22nd May, when Ruhr targets were again bombed, partly for the intrinsic value of impeding German production, but with the important corollary of splitting enemy air defences between German industries and the French invasion area. That night Nos. 460, 463 and 467 all attacked Duisburg, causing especially heavy damage in the industrial suburb of Hoschfeld.

Extract from Herington, J. (John) (406545) Air War Over Europe 1944-1945, Australian War Memorial, Canberra, 1963 – Pages 46, 48

Lancaster ME571 took off from RAF Waddington at 2236 hours on the night of 21/22nd May 1944 to bomb Duisberg, Germany. Bomb load 1 x 4000 lb (pound) (1,800 kg) bomb, 88 x 30 lb (14 kg), 1500 x 4 lb (2 kg) incendiaries. Nothing was heard from the aircraft after take off and it did not return to base. Fifteen aircraft from the Squadron took part in the raid and two of these including ME571 failed to return. Post war searches found no trace of the missing aircraft or crew.

The crew members of ME571 were:

Flying Officer Mervyn Royce Hughes (422204) (Navigator)
Flying Officer Walter Ernest Marsh (422220) (Bomb Aimer)
Warrant Officer Norman Neil McDonald (409729) (Wireless Operator Air Gunner)
Pilot Officer Murray Edmund Pratten (416994) (Pilot)
Flight Sergeant Claude Bertram Simpson (427954) (Air Gunner)
Sergeant Owen Edward Gilbert Smart (1581608) (RAFVR) (Flight Engineer)
Flight Sergeant Lambert Charles Towler (427041) (Air Gunner)

No. 460 Squadron lost Lancaster LL951 (Pilot Officer Reginald Eugene McDougall (J/35148) (RCAF) (Pilot)) on 22 May 1944.

No. 463 Squadron lost Lancaster ME580 (Flying Officer Kenneth Edgar Archay (426941) (Pilot)) on 22 May 1944.

No. 467 Squadron lost Lancaster ED657 (Flying Officer Robert Maxwell Harris (401690) (Pilot)) on 22 May 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, 166/18/362