Warrant Officer Albert Ernest William KNIGHT

Service No: 416863
Born: Willunga SA, 15 November 1919
Enlisted in the RAAF: 11 August 1941
Unit: No. 463 Squadron, RAF Waddington, Lincolnshire
Died: Air Operations (No. 463 Squadron Lancaster aircraft NN721), 14 February 1945, Aged 25 Years
Buried: Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery, Germany
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Ernest Ralph and Jessie Annie Knight, of Port Augusta, South Australia.
Roll of Honour: Port Augusta SA
Remembered: Panel 109, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT
Remembered: World War II Honour Roll, National War Memorial of SA, North Terrace, Adelaide

Concurrently with assaults on the few remaining synthetic plants RAAF squadrons made seven raids on crude oil refineries between mid-February and Montgomery’s drive across the Rhine in the last week of March. The Deutsche refinery at Rositz was extensively damaged despite adverse weather when Nos. 463 and 467 attacked in a force of 220 bombers on 14th-15th February.

Extract from Herington, J. (John) (406545) Air War Over Europe 1944-1945, Australian War Memorial, Canberra, 1963 – Page 429

Lancaster NN721 took off from RAF Waddington at 1707 hours on the night of 14/15th February 1945 to bomb a synthetic oil plant at Rositz, Germany. The bomb load 1 x 4000 lb (pound) (1,800 kg), 14 x 500 lb (225 kg). Nothing was heard from the aircraft after take off and it did not return to base. Sixteen aircraft from the Squadron took part in the raid, and one of these NN 721 failed to return.

The crew members of NN721 were:

Flight Sergeant William James Belton (1880122) (RAFVR) (Air Gunner) PoW
Flight Sergeant Ronald Leslie Geard (1852481) (RAFVR) (Air Gunner) PoW
Flight Sergeant Dudley Cyril Hannaford (432652) (Wireless Operator Air Gunner) PoW, Discharged from the RAAF: 5 November 1945
Warrant Officer Albert Ernest William Knight (416863) (Bomb Aimer)
Flight Sergeant Donald John Lewis (424527) (Navigator) PoW, Discharged from the RAAF: 14 November 1945
Sergeant Robert Lister (1593725) (RAFVR) (Flight Engineer)
Flight Lieutenant John Gilbert Padgham (136926) (RAF) (Pilot) PoW

Flight Sergeant Lewis later reported “Aircraft hit by flak first in the centre under the mid upper turret approx then between the port engines. There were no injuries to best of my knowledge. The Aircraft was in a spin and aflame from WOP position to rear turret. Also port wing completely aflame. Rear and Mid Upper gunners, Engineer and Bomb Aimer baled out up to time I left at 4/5000 feet. Pilot and WOP still in Aircraft. Aircraft crashed in a field about 2/3 miles west of target. Captured 4 hours later by German artillery officer. Made contact with others but no information re. Knight and Lister. Released by American 3rd Army.”


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, 166/23/101

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