LEST WE FORGET

Flying Officer Seth Tilstone MANNERS

Service No: 403142
Born: Otford NSW, 2 September 1915
Enlisted in the RAAF: 9 December 1940
Unit: No. 455 Squadron, RAF Station Wigsley
Died: Air Operations: (No. 455 Squadron Hampden aircraft AE291), Germany, 11 April 1942, Aged 26 Years
Buried: Rheinberg War Cemetery, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Henry Briggs Manners and Ellen Elizabeth Manners, of Taree, New South Wales, Australia
Roll of Honour: Taree NSW
Remembered: Panel 106, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT
Remembered: Taree World War 2 and Post War Memorials, Taree NSW

Hampden AE291 took off from Wigsley at 2145 hours on the night of 10/11April 1942 to bomb the main square at Essen, Germany. The aircraft carried “G13” 6 Bundles of Nickels, 1 x 2000lb and 2 x 250lb bombs. Nothing was heard from the aircraft after take-off and it did not return to base. Seven aircraft from the Squadron took part in the raid and two of these including AE291 failed to return. Post war it was established that all the crew members had been killed.

The crew members of AE291 were:

Flying Officer Charles Antony Harland (404790) (Navigator Bomb Aimer)
Sergeant Joseph Anthony Larkin (1310060) (RAFVR) (Wireless Operator Air Gunner)
Flying Officer Seth Tilstone Manners (403142) (Pilot)
Sergeant Charles Kay Ormston (1355088) (RAFVR) (Wireless Operator Air Gunner)

No. 455 Squadron lost Hampden AT221 (Flying Officer Robert Charles Roberts (3200) (Pilot)) on 11 April 1942.

The loss of Hampdens AE291 and AT221 were the final losses suffered by No. 455 Squadron as a Bomber Command Squadron. By 28 April 1942 the Squadron had moved to RAF Leuchars, Scotland, to continue Hampden operations under Coastal Command authority.

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, 163/44/137
Register of War Memorials in New South Wales On-Line