Flight Sergeant Gregory Herbert HUNKIN

Service No: 419387
Born: Brunswick VIC, 20 June 1924
Enlisted in the RAAF: 20 July 1942
Unit: No. 460 Squadron, RAF Station Binbrook, Lincolnshire
Died: Air Operations: (No. 460 Squadron Lancaster aircraft ME793), France, 28 June 1944, Aged 20 Years
Buried: Unrecovered
CWGC Additional Information: Son of William Herbert and Evelyn Hunkin, of Numurkah, Victoria, Australia
Roll of Honour: Numurkah VIC
Remembered: Panel 260, Runnymede Memorial, Surrey UK
Remembered: Panel 107, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT

Between 13th and 30th June RAF Bomber Command carried out 16 raids against rail choke points during which 1,774 aircraft were dispatched, 1,614 bombed their targets and 5,620 tons of bombs were dropped. Weather seriously interrupted operations during the gale of 18th-22nd June and again between the 25th-27th, and attacks against Aulnoye and Montdidier on the 17th -18th were almost entirely abortive, but some of the raids were outstandingly successful. The Australian heavy-bomber squadrons joined in only six, all in the latter part of the month: No. 460 attacking Reims (22nd-23rd), Vaires (27th-28th) and Vierzon (30th June-1st July); Nos. 463 and 467 attacking Limoges (23rd-24th) and Vitry-le-Francois (27th-28th), and No. 466 bombing Blainville sur L’Eau on the 28th-29th. Targets raided by other forces (including individual RAAF airmen) were Cambrai, Douai and St Pol (14-15), Lens and Valenciennes (15-16), Aulnoye and Montdidier (17-18), Laon (22-23), Saintes (23-24) and Metz (28-29).

In all the RAAF squadrons sent out 139 aircraft. Enemy defences were patchy but over the whole series of raids 65 aircraft (3.6 per cent) were lost, the worst casualties being sustained during the deep penetration to Vierzon when 14 out of 118 Lancasters were shot down (11.8 per cent). On several occasions individual Australians and sometimes whole crews, forced to parachute after enemy attack, were successfully hidden by French patriots.

Extract from Herington, J. (John) (406545) Air War Over Europe 1944-1945, Australian War Memorial, Canberra, 1963 – Page 158

Lancaster ME793 took off from RAF Binbrook at 0042 hours on 27 June 1944 to bomb Vaires, France. Nothing was heard from the aircraft after take off and it did not return to base. Nineteen aircraft from the squadron took part in the raid and one failed to return. No trace of the missing aircraft and crew could be found following post war investigations and enquiries.

The crew members of ME793 were:

Sergeant Frederick William Walter Beckwith (1399602) (RAFVR) (Wireless Operator Air)
Flight Sergeant Gregory Herbert Hunkin (419387) (Bomb Aimer)
Pilot Officer Jack Lewis Israel (423752) (Pilot)
Sergeant Tony Krynski (J/90926) (RCAF) (Rear Gunner)
Sergeant Leo Ernest George Pester (1339137) (RAFVR) (Navigator)
Sergeant Albert Edward John Rouse (1436301) (RAFVR) (Mid Upper Gunner)
Sergeant Leslie George White (1894412) (RAFVR) (Flight Engineer)


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, 166/18/393


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

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