LOUTHLEAN Donald 38780

LEST WE FORGET

Flight Sergeant Donald LOUTHEAN

Service No: 38780
Born: North Fremantle WA, 20 April 1914
Enlisted in the RAAF: 28 May 1941
Unit: No. 460 Squadron, RAF Binbrook, Lincolnshire
Died: Air Operations: (No 460 Squadron Lancaster aircraft W4162), Germany, 23 November 1943, Aged 29 Years
Buried: Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery, Germany
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Robert and Isabella Mary Louthean; husband of Shirley Doreen Louthean, of Perth, Western Australia.
Roll of Honour: Fremantle WA
Remembered: Panel 107, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT
Remembered: Cenotaph Undercroft, State War Memorial, Kings Park WA

Date: 23-24 November 1943
Target: Berlin
Total Force: Dispatched – 382, Attacking – 332
RAAF Force: No. 460 Dispatched – 16, Attacking – 15; No. 467 – 16, 12
Tons of Bombs Dropped: 1,335
Total Aircraft Lost: 20
RAAF Aircraft Lost: No. 460 – 2

The air campaign to cripple Berlin began in earnest in mid-November, and eight heavy attacks were made before the end of 1943. … Both the RAAF Lancaster squadrons returned on the following night (23 November) in a smaller raid lasting only twenty-three minutes. The cloud was thinner on this occasion and the target indicators could be seen burning on the ground and Squadron Leader Arthur Whichelo Nichols (483) of No. 460 judged that bombing was fairly concentrated, the resultant fires giving a larger and stronger glow than previously. The German gun barrage was lessened to allow free play to night fighters, but although losses were relatively heavier, none of the RAAF crews which returned was actually intercepted. There was no diversion staged for this raid and the safety of the bombers was ensured by the short time over the target in conjunction with a new radio counter-measure which gave apparently genuine but unsettling instructions to the German fighter pilots. The result was exasperation and doubt in the minds of the pilots who were further confused by simulated fighter-type flares dropped by Mosquitos well to the north of the bomber stream.

Extracts from Herington, J. (John) (406545) Air War Against Germany and Italy 1939-1943, Australian War Memorial, Canberra, 1954 – Pages 637-9

Lancaster W4162 took off form RAF Binbrook at 1711 hours on 23 November 1943 to bomb Berlin. The bomb load was 1 x 4,000 lb (pound) (1,800 kg) bomb, 56 x 30 lb (14 kg) and 1230 x 4 lb (2 kg) incendiaries.. Nothing was heard from the aircraft after take off and it did not return to base.

The crew members of W4162 were:

Flight Sergeant Roy Brown (412003) (Pilot)
Sergeant Gilbert Simpson Camm (1098538) (RAF) (Wireless Operator Air Gunner)
Pilot Officer Duncan Alexander Crookston (402770 (Air Gunner) PoW, Discharged from the RAAF: 25 January 1946
Flight Sergeant Robert Malcolm Henderson (420013) (Navigator)
Flight Sergeant Donald Louthean (38780) (Bomb Aimer)
Flight Sergeant Joseph William Muntz (410846)
Sergeant Graham White (1773015) (RAF) (Flight Engineer)

Pilot Officer Crookston in a later statement reported that “the aircraft was attacked by fighters at 21,000 feet over Luebben-Unter-Spree. Fire broke out and the Captain ordered abandon. Almost immediately the aircraft exploded. I was blown out and landed by chute. I was wounded and in a local hospital. The Germans told me that all the rest of the crew were found near the wreck and buried in Luebben”. Luebben is approximately 44 miles south east of Berlin.

No. 460 Squadron lost Lancaster ED644 (Pilot Officer Maurice John Freeman (413561) (Pilot)) on 23 November 1943.

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, 166/25/92

Bibliography:

Firkins, P. C. (Peter Charles) (441386) Strike and Return, Westward Ho Publishing City Beach WA, 1985