Warrant Officer Reginald John KING

Service No: 413393
Born: Tamworth NSW, 1 April 1921
Enlisted in the RAAF: 17 August 1941
Unit: No. 460 Squadron, RAF Binbrook, Lincolnshire
Died: Air Operations: (No. 460 Squadron Lancaster aircraft ND393), North West Europe, 15 March 1944, Aged 22 Years
Buried: Unrecovered
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Thomas Charles Banks King and Lilian May King, of Tamworth, New South Wales, Australia.
Roll of Honour: Tamworth NSW
Remembered: Panel 259, Runnymede Memorial, Surrey UK
Remembered: Panel 107, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT

Date: 15-16 March 1944
Target: Stuttgart
Total Force: Dispatched – 863, Attacking – 813
RAAF Force: No. 460 Dispatched – 24, Attacking – 24; No. 463 Dispatched – 17, Attacking – 17; No. 466 – Dispatched – 17, Attacking – 16; No. 467 – Dispatched – 19, Attacking – 19
Tons of Bombs Dropped: 2,609
Total Aircraft Lost: 36
RAAF Aircraft Lost: No. 460 – 1; No. 463 – 2; No. 466 – 2

The maximum strength raid (on Stuttgart) a fortnight later (March 15-16) was almost a complete failure, because after struggling against incorrectly forecasted winds and many attacks by fighters the Australians arrived over Stuttgart to find Pathfinder markers in clusters miles apart with dummy enemy markers further adding to the confusion. Two pilots of No. 460 described the attack as “irresponsible, scattered and unimpressive” and criticised the “wild bombing” which put most of the weight of the attack near fourteen villages to the south-west of the target.

Extracts from Herington, J. (John) (406545) Air War Against Germany and Italy 1939-1943, Australian War Memorial, Canberra, 1954 – Pages 658-660

Lancaster ND393 took off from RAF Binbrook at 1916 hours on 15 March 1944 to bomb Stuttgart, Germany. Bomb load 1 x 4000 lb (pound) (1,800 kg) bomb, 120 x 30 lb (14 kg) and 600 x 4 lb (2 kg) incendiaries. Nothing was heard from the aircraft after take off and it failed to return to base. Twenty four aircraft from the squadron took part in the raid, and only one aircraft ND 393 failed to return. Following post war searches and enquiries no trace of the missing aircraft or crew could be found.

The crew members of ND393 were:

Flight Sergeant John Hardie Bell (434078) (Mid Upper Gunner)
Warrant Officer Reginald John King (413393) (Wireless Operator Air Gunner)
Warrant Officer Henry Krone (413874) (Bomb Aimer)
Sergeant George Percival Marley (1677033) (RAFVR) (Navigator)
Sergeant Stuart John Mead (1337033) (RAFVR) (Flight Engineer)
Pilot Officer George Edward Parkinson (413416) (Pilot)
Flight Sergeant Raymond Collard Sherwood (427559) (Rear Gunner)

No. 463 Squadron lost Lancaster ME573 (Flying Officer John Roberts DFC (416893) (Pilot)) on 15 March 1944.

No. 463 Squadron lost Lancaster ED606 (Pilot Officer William Alexander Graham (413988) (Pilot)) on 15 March 1944.

No. 466 Squadron lost Halifax HX341 (Flying Officer Harold Callaway Wills (412787) (Pilot)) on 15 March 1944.

No. 466 Squadron lost Halifax LM521 (Flight Sergeant John Cecil Bond (420433) (Pilot)) on 15 March 1944 and one crew member (Flying Officer Oswald Kenneth Chrimes (151348) (RAFVR) (Navigator)) was killed. LM521 ditched off Salcombe, Devon.


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, 166/22/209


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

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