LEST WE FORGET
Wing Commander Eric Le Page LANGLOIS DFC
Commanding Officer, No. 467 Squadron
Service No: 416685
Born: Clarence Park SA, 25 September 1913
Enlisted in the RAAF: 16 August 1941
Unit: No. 467 Squadron, RAF Waddington, Lincolnshire
Awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC), 28 September 1943 (Citation Title: No. 150 Squadron RAF)
Died: Air Operations (No. 467 Squadron Lancaster aircraft PB806 on 3 March 1945), Germany, 3 March 1945, Aged 31 Years
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Edwin Arthur and Matilda Ernestina Langlois, of Clarence Park, South Australia.
Roll of Honour: Adelaide SA
Remembered: Panel 282, Runnymede Memorial, Surrey, UK
Remembered: Panel 111, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT
Remembered: World War II Honour Roll, National War Memorial of SA, North Terrace, Adelaide
The final act at Ladbergen was delayed for only one week, as on 3rd-4th March a slightly larger force of 222 aircraft from No. 5 Group set out with 1,000 tons of bombs. Weather was again poorer than expected at the target and the preliminary markers fell over a wide area. Good raid discipline in the face of apparently strengthened defences led to concentrated bombing of the most favourable cluster of target indicators, assessed as being close to the true aiming point. Each RAAF squadron sent 15 Lancasters, and, although crews were satisfied with their attacks, they suffered relatively heavily for the scrupulous way in which they pressed them home, the units between them losing four of the seven aircraft missing from the whole operation. Among the three crews lost by No. 467 were Wing Commander Langlois (416685), acting Commanding Officer, and Flying Officer Taylor (25299), the new gunnery leader. The bombers faced a further hazard on return to base, for this was the night when the Luftwaffe, in a desperate attempt to offset the declining effectiveness of its night-fighter defences over Germany, dispatched some 140 night fighters (mainly Ju-88’s) on long-range intruder tasks over Bomber Command bases. The Australians arrived at Waddington to find enemy fighters attacking the airfield. A bomb dump was set on fire but all the Lancasters landed safely.
Extract from Herington, J. (John) (406545) Air War Over Europe 1944-1945, Australian War Memorial, Canberra, 1963 – Page 413
Lancaster PB806 took off from RAF Waddington at 1845 hours on the night of 3/4th March 1945 to bomb the Dortmund-Ems Canal at Ladbergen. Nothing was heard from the aircraft after take off and it did not return to base.
The crew members of PB806 were:
Flying Officer Charles Jackson Cameron (434868) (Air Gunner)
Wing Commander Eric Le Page Langlois DFC (416685) (Pilot) (Commanding Officer No. 467 Squadron)
Flying Officer Evan Charles Patten DFC (409437) (Wireless Operator Air Gunner) PoW
Flying Officer Alan Frank Reid DFC (421050) (Navigator)
Flight Sergeant John Scott (1591065) (RAFVR) (Flight Engineer) PoW
Flying Officer Raymond Edward Taylor (25299) (Air Gunner) PoW, Discharged from the RAAF: 12 February 1946
Flying Officer Joseph Henry Willmot (420418) (Bomb Aimer) PoW, Discharged from the RAAF: 2 November 1945
In a later statement the then Flight Lieutenant Taylor (Rear Gunner) said “A/c on fire in bomb bay. Captain orders bale out & all acknowledge. No one seemed injured and A/c in perfect control. Fighters set us on fire. Destroyed the enemy aircraft ME110. Saw it burning on the ground when we landed. Crashed about two minutes from the target on German side of canal. Bomb Aimer and I know that one other member of the crew (believed to be Engineer) landed between B/A and I, as I saw him walking away from his chute but not heard of since. Fate unknown rest of crew. They should all have got out as had plenty of time to do so. Baled out from Rear Turret and only the Captain left when I went out. Was told by French worker that four Australians and 1 Englishman were shot by German SS near Dortmund. Now this seems to be the fate of my missing crew. Flt Eng. known to have baled out and got to earth safely but unknown of since. Captured at 8am on 4/3/45 by two German Home guards and put in Rhine Airfield Jail. Finished in Stalag V11A and released by American Army on 11/5/45.”
Flying Officer Willmot reported “Hit by cannon shell from enemy aircraft. Ordered put on chutes. Find mine very large. Baled out at 9000 feet. A/c under control but diving slightly. Uncertain re fate of crew as probably first clear. Met Rear Gunner in Rhine Airport Jail Could only walk with difficulty. Went to farm house for assistance and handed over to civil police. Released from Mooseburg by British army on 29 April 1945.”
It is possible that Wing Commander Langlois, Flying Officers Cameron, Paterson and Reid and Sergeant Scott were executed but the matter was not pursued post-war and no one was brought to justice.
No. 460 Squadron lost Lancaster NG502 (Flight Sergeant Robert Eric Davey (437403) (Crew Member)) that was shot down by German intruders over England on 4 March 1945
No. 463 Squadron lost Lancaster NG469 (Flight Lieutenant Francis John Howells DFC (419044) (Pilot)) on 3/4 March 1945.
No. 466 Squadron lost Halifax NR179 (Pilot Officer Alan Percy William Shelton (428602) (Pilot)) that was shot down by German intruders over England on 4 March 1945
No. 466 Squadron lost Halifax NR250 (Flying Officer Albert Edward Schrank (434508) (Pilot)) that was shot down by German intruders over England on 4 March 1945.
No. 467 Squadron lost Lancaster LM677 (Flying Officer Robert Bruce Eggins (424717) (Pilot)) on 3/4 March 1945.
No. 467 Squadron lost Lancaster ME453 (Flying Officer Rowland Telford Ward (428814) Captain (Pilot)) on 3/4 March 1945.
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, 166/17/710