LEST WE FORGET

Flying Officer Leo Albert KEMPSON

Service No: 409476
Born: Kew VIC, 9 March 1922
Enlisted in the RAAF: 12 September 1941
Unit: No. 455 Squadron, RAF Station Langham
Died: Air Operations: (No. 455 Squadron Beaufighter aircraft KW277), off Heligoland, 10 August 1944, Aged 22 Years
Buried: Kiel War Cemetery, Schleswig-Holstein, Germany
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Albert Victor and Aileen May Kempson, of Brighton, Victoria, Australia
Roll of Honour: Brighton VIC
Remembered: Panel 106, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT

Beaufighter KW277 took off from RAF Langham at 1935 hours on 10 August 1944 to carry out a reconnaissance in force. Thirteen aircraft from the Squadron took part in the mission and three of these including NE340 failed to return. The No. 455 Squadron aircraft were accompanied by 12 Torpedo-equipped Beaufighters of No. 489 Squadron (RNZAF) and 15 anti-flak Beaufighters of No. 254 Squadron (RAF). Six of the No. 455 Squadron Beaufighters each carried 8 x 25 lbs (pound) (11 kg) rockets and the other seven cannon only. At 2106 hours an enemy convoy of 5 motor vessels and 10 escort vessels was sighted and attacked. One motor vessel was hit by 2 torpedoes and burned fiercely. Two ‘M’ mine sweepers were on fire and one ‘M’ was burning fiercely. One ‘M’ was sinking and an Artevelde” escort vessel blew up from rocket attacks. Three No. 455 Squadron aircraft were shot down. Two of them went in on the starboard and one on the port of the convoy.

The crew members of KW277 were:

Flying Officer Leo Albert Kempson (409476) (Pilot)
Flying Officer Raymond Curzon (152322) (RAFVR) (Navigator Wireless)

No. 455 Squadron lost Beaufighter NE340 (Warrant Officer William Thomas Jones (413618) (Pilot)) on 10 August 1944.

No. 455 Squadron lost Beaufighter NE959 (Pilot Officer Geoffrey Edwin Batchelor (185232) (RAFVR) (Pilot)) on 10 August 1944.

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 Veterans’ Affairs On-Line WWII Nominal Roll
National Archives of Australia On-Line Record A705, 166/22/306

Bibliography:

Gordon, I. (Ian) Strike and Strike Again: 455 Squadron 1944-5, Banner Books Belconnen ACT 2616, 1995
Lawson, John Horwood Wightman (251634) The Story of No. 455 Squadron (RAAF), Wilke and Company, Melbourne VIC, 1951