Flight Sergeant Robert Samuel KING

Service No: 409146
Born: Kew VIC, 29 November 1921
Enlisted in the RAAF: 19 July 1941
Unit: No. 460 Squadron, RAF Breighton, Yorkshire
Died: Air Operations: (No. 460 Squadron Lancaster aircraft W4956), Baltic Sea, 20 April 1943, Aged 21 Years
Buried: Unrecovered
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Samuel Allan King and Rose Helen King, of Elwood, Victoria, Australia.
Roll of Honour: Brighton VIC
Remembered: Panel 193, Runnymede Memorial, Surrey UK
Remembered: Panel 107, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT

Date: 20-21 April 1943
Target: Stettin
Total Force: Dispatched – 339, Attacking – 304
RAAF Force: No. 460 Dispatched – 17, Attacking – 16; No. 467 Dispatched – 13, Attacking – 13
Tons of Bombs Dropped: 782
Total Aircraft Lost: 22
RAAF Aircraft Lost: No. 460 – 3

On 20th-21st April, however, greater success (than attacks against Kiel on 4-5 April) was recorded at Stettin which was the main enemy supply port for the northern front in Russia. This attack, together with a vast increase in mine-laying at this period, was considered the most effective way in which Bomber Command could hinder the expected German summer offensive in this area. A small scale raid was made the same night on Rostock, while eleven aircraft were sent as a diversion against Berlin. This trick appeared to succeed for the German Air Force, always hypersensitive concerning defence of the capital, did not interfere at Stettin. The Lancasters flew to and from Stettin at low level over the sea to avoid detection by enemy radar, but they were hotly attacked by German anti-aircraft ships in the Baltic and four RAAF aircraft flew home badly damaged. They arrived in compact order over the target, however, and concentrated bombing soon started huge fires which the ground defenders could not keep under control ; the southern part of the city, including 100 acres (45 ha) of closely-packed industrial buildings, was completely burnt .

Extracts from Herington, J. (John) (406545) Air War Against Germany and Italy 1939-1943, Australian War Memorial, Canberra, 1954 – Pages 498, 9

Lancaster W4956 took off from RAF Breighton at 2135 hours on 20 April 1943 to bomb the port and U boat yards at Stettin, Poland. The bomb load of 1 x 4000 lb (pound) (1,800 kg) bomb, 48 x 30 lb (14 kg) and 540 x 4 lb 92 kg) incendiaries. Nothing was heard from the aircraft after take off and it did not return to base. Seventeen aircraft from the squadron took part in the raid. Following post war enquiries it was established that the body of Flight Sergeant MacKenzie had been washed ashore on the west coast of Fehmarn Island near Puttsee. It was assumed that the aircraft had crashed in the Baltic Sea east of the Fehmarn Island.

The crew members of W4956 were:

Sergeant Russell Jesse Chapman (1522573) (RAF) (Air Gunner)
Flying Officer Ralph Edmund Dollar (416552) (Navigator)
Flight Sergeant Robert Samuel King (409146) (Air Gunner)
Flight Sergeant Peter Murchison MacKenzie (411469) (Bomb Aimer)
Flight Sergeant Walter Frank Pridgeon (409221) (Pilot)
Sergeant Frederick Albert Solly (1384232) (RAFVR) (Wireless Operator Air Gunner)
Sergeant Charles Albert Willis (1394695) (RAFVR) (Flight Engineer)

No. 460 Squadron lost Lancaster W4325 (Flight Sergeant Reginald Stanley Hogben (416574) (Pilot)) on 20 April 1943.

No. 460 Squadron lost Lancaster W4330 (Flight Sergeant Kenneth James (408656) (Pilot)) on 21 April 1943.


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, 166/22/53


Firkins, P. C. (Peter Charles) (441386) Strike and Return, Westward Ho Publishing City Beach WA, 1985
Winter, V.A. (Vincent Adams) (408547) Noble Six Hundred: the story of the Empire Air Training Scheme with special reference to Australians who trained in Southern Rhodesia, V.A. Winter Brighton VIC 3186, 1982

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