Flight Sergeant Rex Tidswell LATHLEAN

Service No: 417855
Born: Moonta SA, 10 September 1919
Enlisted in the RAAF: 18 July 1942
Unit: No. 102 Squadron (RAF), RAF Pocklington, Yorkshire
Died: Air Operations (No. 102 Squadron Halifax aircraft MZ298), North Sea, 24 July 1944, Aged 24 Years
Buried: Brookwood Military Cemetery, Surrey UK.
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Leonard Theodore George and Marion Irene Violet Lathlean; husband of Edith Noreen Lathlean, of Cottonville, South Australia
Roll of Honour: Adelaide SA
Remembered: Panel 125, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT
Remembered: World War II Honour Roll, National War Memorial of SA, North Terrace, Adelaide

Halifax MZ298 of 102 (Ceylon) Squadron took off from RAF Pocklington on the night of 23/24th July 1944, detailed to attack a flying bomb site at Les Hautes Buisson. Nothing was heard from the aircraft after take off and it failed to return to base.

The crew members of Halifax MZ298 were:

Flight Sergeant Norman Brand (410443) (Navigator Bomb Aimer)
Sergeant Wilfred Julian Cook (1183804) (RAFVR)
Flying Officer Harley William Edwards Donald (420923) (Pilot)
Flight Sergeant Rex Tidswell Lathlean (417855) (Air Bomber)
Flight Sergeant David Anderson Rogers (419962) (Air Gunner)
Flight Sergeant Robert Budd Selth (437061) (Air Gunner) Rescued, Discharged from the RAAF: 12 June 1945
Sergeant Reginald Victor Skeates (1322527) (RAFVR)

The only survivor Flight Sergeant Selth later stated “the aircraft was apparently attacked by enemy aircraft when about 50 kms from the English coast on the return journey. A number of flashes occurred along the port wing and a few seconds later both port engines caught fire. The pilot retained control for a while, then the machine went into a dive and the pilot ordered crew to abandon. The survivor believes there was an explosion as he next found himself in the air and parachute opened a few seconds before he reached the water. He was picked up about an hour later by a naval vessel which also recovered the bodies of Flight Sergeant Lathlean and Flight Sergeant Rogers.”


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, 166/24/501

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