Flying Officer Raymond Allan LEWIS

Service No: 19892
Born: Melbourne VIC, 30 March 1922
Enlisted in the RAAF: 4 December 1940
Unit: No. 207 Squadron (RAF), RAF Spilsby, Lincolnshire
Died: Air Operations: (No. 207 Squadron Lancaster aircraft PA196), Germany, 21 March 1945, Aged 22 Years
Buried: Unrecovered
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Allan Joseph and Mary Elizabeth Lewis, of Coburg, Victoria, Australia.
Roll of Honour: Coburg VIC
Remembered: Panel 283, Runnymede Memorial, Surrey UK
Remembered: Panel 125, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT

The Germans gave priority to repairing the Bohlen oil installations because of their relative distance from English bomber bases, and within a fortnight Bomber Command assessed that some units were again in operation. Thus on 20th-21st March No. 463 sent 16 and No. 467 17 crews in a force of 224 which in much better weather dropped 946 tons of bombs in the most concentrated of the series of attacks against Bohlen. Photographs, obtained 12 hours after the main attack, showed fires burning in various parts of the plant; apart from severe and widespread damage to vital units the internal marshalling yards had been heavily hit and it was estimated that Bohlen was unlikely to be substantially operative for at least two months. In the event, because of the progress of the armies, no further bombing attack was necessary, but this last attack was relatively costly as 10 bombers were lost, including one of No. 463 and one each piloted by Australians of Nos. 50, 57, 61, 97 and 207 Squadrons, while another Australian pilot failed to return from a small feint attack by 12 aircraft against Halle which was intended to divert enemy fighters from Bohlen.

Extract from Herington, J. (John) (406545) Air War Over Europe 1944-1945, Australian War Memorial, Canberra, 1963 – Page 427

Lancaster PA196 of 207 Squadron took off from RAF Station Spilsby at 2343 hours on 20 March 1945 to bomb the synthetic oil plant at Bohlen, Germany. It was armed with 1 x 4000 lb (pound) (1,800 kg) bomb HC, and 14 x 500 lb (225 kg) ARM bombs. The aircraft failed to return to base after the mission. In 1950 it was recorded that the crew were missing with no known grave.

The crew members of PA196 were:

Sergeant Henry Oswald Collin (1880273) (RAFVR) (Mid Upper Gunner)
Sergeant Charles James Dewdney (1837028) (RAFVR) (Flight Engineer)
Warrant Officer William Bruce Judd (429286) (Wireless Operator/Air Gunner)
Sergeant Thomas Arnold Lawton (2222713) (RAFVR) (Rear Gunner)
Flying Officer Raymond Allan Lewis (19892) (Pilot)
Flight Sergeant Gerald Matsumoto (1585927) (RAFVR) (Air Bomber)
Flying Officer John Duncan Smith (164200) (RAFVR) (Navigator)

No. 463 Squadron lost Lancaster PB845 (Flying Officer Richard Stewart Bennett (436327) (Pilot)) on 21 March 1945.

No. 50 Squadron (RAF) lost Lancaster ME441 (Pilot Officer Allan Neil Levy (429153) (Pilot)) on 21 March 1945.

No. 57 Squadron (RAF) lost Lancaster LM653 (Flight Lieutenant Aubrey Robert Palling (428261) (Pilot)) on 21 March 1945

In addition to the loss of LM653, No. 57 Squadron (RAF) lost Lancaster RA530 (Flying Officer Charles Alan Cobern (5870) (Pilot)) which crashed soon after take-off on 20 March 1945.

No. 61 Squadron (RAF) lost Lancaster RA560 (Flying Officer John Frederick Swales (422989) (Pilot)) on 21 March 1945.

No. 97 Squadron (RAF) lost Lancaster PA973 (Flight Lieutenant John Dennis Cottman (418813) (Pilot)) on 21 March 1945.

In the small feint attack against Halle, No. 227 Squadron (RAF) lost Lancaster PA 259 (Flying Officer Warren Henry Pitts (436480) (Pilot)) on 21 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, 166/24/743

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