JAMES Raymond Edwin 427508

LEST WE FORGET

Flight Sergeant Raymond Edwin JAMES

Service No: 427508
Born: Cottesloe WA, 9 October 1923
Enlisted in the RAAF: 19 July 1942
Unit: No. 70 Squadron (RAF), Cerignola, Italy
Died: Air Operations: Campaign against Oil (No. 70 Squadron Wellington aircraft MF194), Bulgaria, 29 June 1944, Aged 20 Years
Buried: Sofia War Cemetery, Bulgaria
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Albert Victor and Trypena May James, of Claremont, Western Australia.
Roll of Honour: Claremont WA
Remembered: Panel 124, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT
Remembered: Cenotaph Undercroft, State War Memorial, Kings Park WA

Wellington MF194 took off for night operations on the night of 28/29th June 1944 to bomb Giurgiu, Romania. Nothing was hard from the aircraft and it failed to return to base. As Bulgaria was occupied by Russian forces, it was not possible to establish until 1947 that the aircraft crashed in Romania. Four of the crew were killed and Flying Officer Knyvett became a Prisoner of War.

The crew members of MF194 were:

Flight Sergeant James Russell Burgess (422130) (Air Bomber)
Flight Sergeant Lloyd Fallon (417355) (Pilot)
Flight Sergeant Raymond Edwin James (427508) (Air Gunner)
Flying Officer Geoffrey Gordon Knyvett (425316) (Navigator) PoW, Discharged from the RAAF: 11 June 1945
Flight Sergeant Thomas Ronald Lowther (418752) (Wireless Operator Air Gunner)

Flying Officer Knyvett was released from a prison camp in Bulgaria on 23 September 1944 and reported “the aircraft was shot down in flames by an unseen night fighter. It was in flames when I baled out and am almost certain the other four were killed. I fractured a leg and was captured on landing.”

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, 166/20/147