Flying Officer Francis Henry Ross KEMP

Service No: 423754
Born: Penshurst NSW, 13 June 1924
Enlisted in the RAAF: 18 July 1942
Unit: No. 90 Squadron (RAF), RAF Station Tuddenham
Died: Air Operations: (No. 90 Squadron Lancaster aircraft HK603), Germany, 5 January 1945, Aged 20 Years
Buried: Rheinberg War Cemetery, Kamp Lintfort, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany.
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Peter Clyde Kemp and Nellie Rosa Kemp, of Penshurst New South Wales, Australia
Roll of Honour: Hurstville NSW
Remembered: Panel 125, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT

At 1132 hours on 5 January 1945 Lancaster HK603 took off from Tuddenham detailed to bomb railway yards at Ludwigshafen, Germany. Nothing was heard from the aircraft after take-off and it failed to return to base. The aircraft was hit by anti-aircraft fire and crashed at 1510 hours at Mutterstadt, 5 kms west south west from the centre of Ludwigshafen. Two crew members were killed and six were taken prisoner.

The crew members of HK603 were:

Sergeant Joseph Middlemiss Bilton (2221371) (RAFVR) (Mid Under Gunner) PoW
Sergeant Robert Crawford Boyle (1826162) (RAFVR) (Flight Engineer) PoW
Sergeant John Healy (1837362) (RAFVR) (Mid Upper Gunner) PoW
Flying Officer Francis Henry Ross Kemp (423754) (Wireless Air Gunner)
Flying Officer Robert Arthur Kirkland (154951) (RAF) (Air Bomber) PoW
Sergeant Vernon Ivor Michael (1837286) (RAFVR) (Rear Gunner)
Flying Officer Charles Edward Wakeham (419977) (O33168) (Pilot) PoW, Discharged from the RAAF: 7 November 1967
Flight Sergeant Harold Worsnop (1620634) (RAFVR) (Navigator) PoW

Flying Officer Wakeham later reported “the aircraft was damaged by fire over the target and I gave the order to abandon, but the Inter Com was useless and no acknowledgements were received. The aircraft was filling with smoke and out of control and finally spun to port. Healy and Bilton baled out from the mid under hatch. Worsnop, Boyle and myself from the front hatch. I believe Kemp and Michael were still in the aircraft when I left at 5,000 feet. The Germans informed me that they had died when the aircraft crashed. The aircraft crashed just outside the target area.”


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 Veterans’ Affairs On-Line WWII Nominal Roll
National Archives of Australia On-Line Record A705, 166/28/395

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