Flight Sergeant John Owen LEWIS

Service No: 416972
Born: St Morris SA, 8 October 1919
Enlisted in the RAAF: 8 November 1941
Unit: No. 53 Squadron (RAF), RAF St Eval, Cornwall
Died: Air Operations (No. 53 Squadron Liberator aircraft BZ795), Bay of Biscay, 4 February 1944, Aged 24 Years
Buried: Unrecovered
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Henry Charles and Edith Florence Lewis, of Brighton, South Australia
Roll of Honour: Brighton SA
Remembered: Panel 261, Runnymede Memorial, Surrey UK
Remembered: Panel 125, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT
Remembered: World War II Honour Roll, National War Memorial of SA, North Terrace, Adelaide

Liberator BZ795 of No. 53 Squadron took off from RAF Station St Eval at 2220 hours on 3 February 1944 on an anti-submarine patrol in the Atlantic Ocean. At 0811 hours on 4 February a signal was received from the aircraft “U Boat sighted”. This was in position 45.30N 007.00W in the Bay of Biscay area. Nothing further was heard from the aircraft and it did not return to base. It was presumed that the aircraft was shot down while attacking a U boat. Following post war enquiries and investigations it was recorded in 1949 that the missing crew had lost their lives at sea.

The crew members of BZ795 were:

Flight Lieutenant Deryck Addison Bell (60573) (RAFVR) (Pilot)
Sergeant John Walter Churchman (551818) (RAF)
Flight Sergeant Ernest John Fowler (422163) (Wireless Operator Air)
Flight Sergeant Sydney George Hill (422557) (Wireless Operator Air)
Sergeant Reginald Donovan Howard (946434) (RAFVR)
Flight Sergeant John Owen Lewis (416972) (Navigator Bomb Aimer)
Sergeant Charles Lidgitt (1583827) (RAFVR)
Sergeant Vernon Trevor Alan Patey (1215935) (RAFVR)
Flying Officer Norman John Williams (420791) (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, 166/24/377

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