LEST WE FORGET

Flying Officer Edward James LOONAM

Service No: 428725
Born: Glebe NSW, 14 March 1923
Enlisted in the RAAF: 10 October 1942
Unit: No. 455 Squadron
Died: Air Operations: (No. 455 Squadron Beaufighter aircraft NE207), off Hareid Island, 5 April 1945, Aged 22 Years
Buried: Unrecovered
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Edward Patrick and Margaret Mary Loonam, of Maroubra, New South Wales, Australia
Roll of Honour: Sydney NSW, Randwick NSW
Remembered: Panel 283, Runnymede Memorial, Surrey UK
Remembered: Panel 106, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT
Remembered: University of Sydney World War II Roll of Honour, Camperdown NSW

The RAAF Beaufighters began April with an abortive attack against Egersund on the 3rd but next day they scored two wet and two dry hits on a merchantman at Aardals Fiord. Sykes (1) was badly injured during this sortie and two Beaufighters were lost on 5th April near Hareid Island when the Dallachy Wing was attacked by fighters.

(1) Flight Lieutenant Stephen Joseph Sykes DSO DFC (422751) of No. 455 Squadron was discharged from the RAAF on 25 February 1946 and killed in an aircraft accident on 19 January 1957.

Extract from Herington, J. (John) (406545) Air War Over Europe 1944-1945, Australian War Memorial, Canberra, 1963 – Page 383

Beaufighter NE207 took off from RAF Dallachy, Moray, at 1345 hours on 5th April 1945 to carry out an anti shipping reconnaissance of Svinoy-Aalesund – Yttergene and Cutvaer- Bremanger. In addition to the No. 455 Squadron aircraft 10 Rock Beaufighters (No. 144 Squadron (RAF)) 7 Anti Flak and 2 outriders (No. 489 Squadron (RNZAF)), 12 Mustangs (No. 65 Squadron (RAF)) and 2 ASR Warwicks took part. Eight aircraft from the Squadron took part in the operation and two of these including NE207 failed to return. During the patrol 6 ME 109s were sighted at 1625 hours flying a parallel course and same height 500/250 feet. Combat ensued. Two enemy aircraft attacked. Aircraft NT920 which was seen to pull up to starboard and climb collided with NE207. The wing of one aircraft broke off and falling knocked off another Beaufighter last seen with its port engine smoking. Both aircraft NT 920 and NE 207 failed to return.

The crew members of NE207 were:

Flying Officer Geoffrey William Hassell (437417) (Pilot)
Flying Officer Edward James Loonam (428725) (Navigator Wireless Operator)

The crew members of NT 920 were:

Flight Sergeant Ronald Eric Bull (432108) (Navigator Wireless Operator)
Flight Lieutenant Keith Anthony Vaughton Moore (411167) (Pilot)

References:

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, 166/25/297
Register of War Memorials in New South Wales On-Line

Bibliography:

Gordon, I. (Ian) Strike and Strike Again: 455 Squadron 1944-5, Banner Books Belconnen ACT 2616, 1995
Lawson, John Horwood Wightman (251634) The Story of No. 455 Squadron (RAAF), Wilke and Company, Melbourne VIC, 1951