Flight Sergeant William John LEMIN

Service No: 427203
Born: Albany WA, 13 February 1924
Enlisted in the RAAF: 25 May 1942
Unit: No. 467 Squadron, RAF Waddington, Lincolnshire
Died: Air Operations: (No. 467 Squadron Lancaster aircraft DV396), Belgium, 2 November 1944, Aged 20 Years
Buried: Hotton War Cemetery, Hotton, Luxembourg, Belgium
CWGC Additional Information: Son of William John and Ruby Mary Lemin, of East Albany, Western Australia.
Roll of Honour: Albany WA
Remembered: Panel 111, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT
Remembered: Cenotaph Undercroft, State War Memorial, Kings Park WA

Date: 2-3 November 1944
Target: Dusseldorf
Total Force: Dispatched – 992, Attacking – 946
RAAF Force: No. 460 Dispatched – 23, Attacking – 23; No. 462 Dispatched – 15, Attacking – 15; No. 463 Dispatched – 15, Attacking – 15; No. 466 Dispatched – 14, Attacking – 14; No. 467 Dispatched – 15, Attacking – 15
Tons of Bombs Dropped: 4,484
Total Aircraft Lost: 16
RAAF Aircraft Lost: No. 462 – 2; No. 463 – 1; No. 467 – 1

Dusseldorf was the next target, and on 2nd-3rd November 992 Lancasters and Halifaxes dropped 4,484 tons of bombs from a cloudless sky on this administrative centre of the steel industry which had practically recovered from the 1943 raids. All five RAAF squadrons joined in this attack and the 82 crews were unanimous in their reports of accurate ground marking, good concentration of bombing and the incidence of extensive fires and major explosions while they were over the target. They also met much more spirited opposition, especially from fighters, than on recent raids. Aircraft piloted by Flying Officer Maxton (1) and Flying Maurice Claude Norfolk Gray (428772) of No. 460 each sustained several attacks while Flying Officer Waxman (2) and Warrant Officer Willington (3) of No. 466 had inconclusive combats with enemy jet aircraft. Four RAAF bombers failed to return but almost all the crews survived. Some became prisoners of war but one crew baled out near the American front line and were quickly rescued. Pilot Officer Jubb (4) made a hazardous journey on foot (sometimes posing as an idiot) from near Dusseldorf to American positions close to Aachen; and Warrant Officer Scott (5), although arrested and detained in a house 20 miles south of Cologne, escaped and, after five days of hunger and exhaustion, found refuge with a civilian family near Duren and remained in hiding until rescued by American troops on 26th November.

(1) Flying Officer William Campbell Murray Maxton (415675) was discharged from the RAAF on 6 February 1946.
(2) Flying Officer Joseph Herbert Waxman DFC (418994) was discharged from the RAAF on 7 September 1945.
(3) Flying Officer Alan Frank Willington DFC (417142) was discharged from the RAAF on 4 September 1945.
(4) Flying Officer Robert Venters Jubb DFC (426609) was discharged from the RAAF on 31 August 1945.
(5) Warrant Officer Robert Walter Scott (418184) was discharged from the RAAF on 5 April 1947.

Extracts from Herington, J. (John) (406545) Air War Over Europe 1944-1945, Australian War Memorial, Canberra, 1963 – Pages 302, 305-6

Lancaster DV396 took off from RAF Waddington at 1631 hours on 2 November 1944 to bomb Dusseldorf, Germany. Bomb load 14 x 1000 lb (pound) (450 kg) bombs. Nothing was heard from the aircraft after take off and it did not return to base. Fifteen aircraft from the Squadron took part in the raid and one of these DV396 failed to return. It was later established that the aircraft came down in Allied held territory.

The crew members of DV396 were:

Sergeant D J Allen (1880966) (RAFVR) (Mid Upper Gunner) Survived
Flight Sergeant Douglas Gilpin Beverley (429913) (Navigator) Survived, Discharged from the RAAF: 21 September 1945
Flight Sergeant William Calder Denny (425572) (Wireless Operator Air) Survived, Discharged from the RAAF: 6 December 1945
Sergeant J Halstead (1593147) (RAFVR) (Flight Engineer) Survived
Flying Officer Leslie Keith Landridge (429972) (Pilot)
Flight Sergeant William John Lemin (427203) (Rear Gunner)
Flight Sergeant Keith Charles Woollam (434111) (Bomb Aimer) Survived, Discharged from the RAAF: 5 October 1945

No. 462 Squadron lost Halifax MZ401 (Pilot Officer Robert Richard Mitchell (418452) (Pilot)) on 2 November 1944.

No. 462 Squadron lost Halifax LL610 (Flight Sergeant Robert Venters Jubb DFC (426609) (Pilot)) on 2 November 1944.

No. 463 Squadron lost Lancaster PD338 (Flight Sergeant David William Davidson (418355) (Wireless Operator Air Gunner)) on 2 November 1944.


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 A9301, 427230

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