Flight Sergeant Roger Robert JOHNSON

Service No: 437965
Born: Melbourne VIC, 5 June 1920
Enlisted in the RAAF: 26 May 1943 (at Melbourne VIC)
Unit: No. 466 Squadron, RAF Driffield, Yorkshire
Died: Air Operations (No. 466 Squadron Halifax Aircraft NR179), Yorkshire, 4 March 1945, Aged 24 Years
Buried: Harrogate (Stonefall) Cemetery, Yorkshire
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Norman Reid Johnson and Beatrice Honora Johnson, of Kew, Victoria, Australia.
Roll of Honour: Melbourne VIC
Remembered: Panel 110, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT
Remembered: World War II Honour Roll, National War Memorial of SA, North Terrace, Adelaide

The DVA record shows Flight Sergeant Johnson enlisting from Victoria; however he has a South Australian Service Number (437XXX) and is listed on the SA memorial.

The final act at Ladbergen was delayed for only one week, as on 3rd-4th March a slightly larger force of 222 aircraft from No. 5 Group set out with 1,000 tons of bombs. Weather was again poorer than expected at the target and the preliminary markers fell over a wide area. Good raid discipline in the face of apparently strengthened defences led to concentrated bombing of the most favourable cluster of target indicators, assessed as being close to the true aiming point. Each RAAF squadron sent 15 Lancasters, and, although crews were satisfied with their attacks, they suffered relatively heavily for the scrupulous way in which they pressed them home, the units between them losing four of the seven aircraft missing from the whole operation. Among the three crews lost by No. 467 were Wing Commander Langlois (416685), acting Commanding Officer, and Flying Officer Taylor (25299), the new gunnery leader. The bombers faced a further hazard on return to base, for this was the night when the Luftwaffe, in a desperate attempt to offset the declining effectiveness of its night-fighter defences over Germany, dispatched some 140 night fighters (mainly Ju-88’s) on long-range intruder tasks over Bomber Command bases. The Australians arrived at Waddington to find enemy fighters attacking the airfield. A bomb dump was set on fire but all the Lancasters landed safely.

Extract from Herington, J. (John) (406545) Air War Over Europe 1944-1945, Australian War Memorial, Canberra, 1963 – Page 413

Halifax NR 179 took off from RAF Driffield at 1823 hours on the night of 3/4th March 1945 to bomb Kamen. NR 179 completed the mission but on return to base was shot down in the circuit area by an enemy intruder aircraft (Operation Gisela). Seventeen aircraft from the Squadron took part in the mission and of these NR 179 and NR 250 were shot down on return to base. The Operations Record Book records “Primary attacked from 20,000 feet at 2203 hours. Aircraft crashed after intruder attack near base. On return to base the aircraft was obliged to go around again and while doing so the airfield lights were extinguished. NR 179 climbed to 4,000 feet and set course for an alternative airfield only to fall to a JU88 at about 0110 hours and crash at Fridaythorpe 15 kms west north west from Great Driffield, Yorkshire.” Three of crew baled out. Four of the crew were killed

The crew members of NB 179 were:

Flight Sergeant Vivian Donald Bullen (431933) (Rear Gunner) Baled Out, discharged from the RAAF: 9 October 1945
Flight Sergeant Gregory Wills Dixon (428968) (Wireless Operator Air Gunner)
Flight Sergeant Patrick Joseph Hogan (436464) (Navigator) Baled Out, discharged from the RAAF: 23 February 1946
Flight Sergeant Roger Robert Johnson (437965) (Bomb Aimer)
Flight Sergeant Graham Dodge Laing, (415148) (Mid Upper Gunner) Baled Out, discharged from the RAAF: 3 October 1945
Flying Officer Alan Percy William Shelton (428602) (Pilot)
Sergeant Walter Edward Welsh (1606174) (RAFVR) (Flight Engineer)

No. 460 Squadron lost Lancaster NG 502 (Flight Sergeant Robert Eric Davey (437403) (Crew Member)) that was shot down by German intruders over England on 4 March 1945

No. 463 Squadron lost Lancaster NG 469 (Flight Lieutenant Francis John Howells DFC (419044) (Pilot)) on 3/4 March 1945.

No. 466 Squadron lost Halifax NR 250 (Flying Officer Albert Edward Schrank (434508) (Pilot)) that was shot down by German intruders over England on 4 March 1945.

No. 467 Squadron lost Lancaster PB 806 Wing Commander Eric Le Page Langlois DFC (416685) (Pilot)) (Commanding Officer No. 467 Squadron)) on 3/4 March 1945.

No. 467 Squadron lost Lancaster ME 453 (Flying Officer Roland Telford Ward (428814) (Pilot)) on 3/4 March 1945.

No. 467 Squadron lost Lancaster LM 677 (Flying Officer Robert Bruce Eggins (424717) (Pilot)) on 3/4 March 1945.


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, 166/21/268

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