KEYSER Vernon Frank 406359

LEST WE FORGET

Flight Lieutenant Vernon Frank KEYSER

Service No: 406359
Born: Yalgoo WA, 9 December 1917
Enlisted in the RAAF: 11 November 1940
Unit: No. 460 Squadron, RAF Breighton, Yorkshire
Died: Air Operations: (No. 460 Squadron Wellington aircraft Z1483), Germany, 27 July 1942, Aged 27 Years
Buried: Becklingen War Cemetery, Soltau, Niedersachsen, Germany
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Frank and Charlotte Ann Keyser, of Perth, Western Australia.
Roll of Honour: Perth WA
Remembered: Panel 107, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT
Remembered: Cenotaph Undercroft, State War Memorial, Kings Park WA

Date: 26-27 July 1942
Target: Hamburg
Total Force: Dispatched – 403, Attacking – 304
RAAF Force: No. 460 Dispatched – 12, Attacking – 11
Tons of Bombs Dropped: 724
Total Aircraft Lost: 30
RAAF Aircraft Lost: No. 460 – 2

The raid of 26th-27th July was a maximum effort for the (Bomber) command and it was hoped, by increased weight of numbers, to saturate the defences. The first wave attacked with incendiaries in bright moonlight just before 1 a .m., but only scattered fires (some obviously dummy sites), and much smoke, were seen by the main force which faced very heavy gun barrages, and was badly harassed by night fighters. The RAAF crews claimed accurate hits, but many bombs fell wide on residential areas, and the biggest patch of damage was some twelve acres of the commercial section of the city near the Binnen Alster, which suffered badly from fire.

Extract from Herington, J. (John) (406545) Air War Against Germany and Italy 1939-1943, Australian War Memorial, Canberra, 1954 – Pages 314-5

Wellington Z1483 of 460 Squadron RAAF took off from RAF Breighton at 2255 hours on the night of 26/27th July 1942 detailed to attack Hamburg, Germany. Bomb load 9 x 30 x 4 lb (pound) (2 kg) incendiaries. Z 1483 was one of twelve aircraft from the Squadron to take part in the raid. Nothing was heard from the aircraft after take off and it did not return to base. Following post war enquiries it was established that the aircraft was hit by ack-ack fire over the town of Uthlede approximately 20 miles north west of Bremen, Germany. The aircraft fell into a field about 1.5 miles south west of Uthlede and exploded on impact.

The crew members of Z1483 were:

Pilot Officer Keith McDowell Ferguson (400974) (Observer)
Flight Sergeant Max James Foley (408143) (Air Gunner)
Sergeant Garth Richard Gower (402947) (Wireless Operator Air Gunner)
Sergeant William Edward Horsfall (1166451) (RAFVR) (Air Bomber)
Flight Lieutenant Vernon Frank Keyser (406359) (Pilot)

No. 460 Squadron lost Wellington Z1335 (Flying Officer Frederick James Breen (402760) (Pilot)) on 27 July 1942.

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, 163/132/192

Bibliography:

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