Pilot Officer Frederick James KNIGHT

Service No: 422801
Born: Haberfield NSW, 8 August 1922
Enlisted in the RAAF: 23 May 1942
Unit: No. 460 Squadron, RAF Station Binbrook, Lincolnshire
Died: Air Operations: (No. 460 Squadron Lancaster aircraft JB700), France, 7 June 1944, Aged 21 Years
Buried: Bayeux War Cemetery, Calvados, France
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Frederick Ralph and Margaret Knight, of Haberfield, New South Wales, Australia
Roll of Honour: Haberfield NSW
Remembered: Panel 107, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT

Vire was not only an important junction on the railways linking both Caen and St Lo with the lateral Paris-Granville main line; through it ran the principal highway along which enemy reinforcements could be rushed up from Brittany. The aiming points chosen were two railway bridges but it was expected that the spread of bombing would block roads through the town. There had been some discussion of the political advisability of attacking built-up areas for the purpose of making road-blocks, but urgency overcame doubt, as any delay, however slight, imposed on the Germans in the first two days of OVERLORD was expected to be important. Accordingly, a few minutes after midnight on 6th-7th June, 107 Lancasters, including 24 from No. 460, attacked Vire from a height of 4,000 to 5,000 feet. The Australians saw the target indicators burning close to both bridges, and 414 tons of bombs were rained on the town. Enemy ground defences were slight, but some night fighters appeared and two crews of No. 460 reported inconclusive combats while a third failed to return to base.

Extract from Herington, J. (John) (406545) Air War Over Europe 1944-1945, Australian War Memorial, Canberra, 1963 – Page 131

Lancaster JB700 took off from RAF Binbrook at 2202 hours on 6 June 1944 to bomb railway bridges at Vire, France. The bomb load was 14 x 500 lb (pound) (225 kg) bombs. Nothing was heard from the aircraft after take off and it did not return to base. Twenty four aircraft from the squadron took part in the raid, and of these JB700 was the only aircraft that failed to return. Post war it was established that the aircraft crashed and exploded on impact and that all the crew members were killed. They are buried in the Bayeux War Cemetery, France.

The crew members of JB700 were:

Sergeant Lionel Pearcey Croom (1587077) (RAFVR) (Flight Engineer)
Sergeant Robert Elcombe (1811531) (RAFVR) (Mid Upper Gunner)
Sergeant Farewell Harrison (1516172) (RAFVR) (Wireless Operator Air)
Sergeant Leonard Wesley Hillman (1245750) (RAFVR) (Rear Gunner)
Pilot Officer Frederick James Knight (422801) (Pilot)
Flying Officer William Lynam (152457) (RAFVR) (Bomb Aimer)
Flying Officer John James Read (154193) (RAFVR) (Navigator)


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, 166/23/57
Register of War Memorials in New South Wales On-Line


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

Book Now Book Now