McKNIGHT Kevin Harold 415347

LEST WE FORGET

Pilot Officer Kevin Harold McKNIGHT

Service No: 415347
Born: West Leederville, 22 November 1920
Enlisted in the RAAF: 14 September 1941
Unit: No. 463 Squadron, RAF Waddington, Lincolnshire
Died: Air Operations (No. 463 Squadron Lancaster aircraft DV274), France, 26 February 1944, Aged 23 Years
Buried: Liesse Communal Cemetery, Aisne, France
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Harold Arthur and Alice Mary McKnight, of Fremantle, Western Australia.
Roll of Honour: Unknown
Remembered: Panel 109, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT
Remembered: Cenotaph Undercroft, State War Memorial, Kings Park WA

Date: 25-26 February 1944
Target: Augsburg
Total Force: Dispatched – 594, Attacking – 528
RAAF Force: No. 460 Dispatched – 17, Attacking – 15; No. 463 – 13, 12; No. 466 – 9, 8; No. 467 – 12, 12
Tons of Bombs Dropped: 1,726
Total Aircraft Lost: 21
RAAF Aircraft Lost: No. 460 – 1; No. 463 – 1; No. 467 – 1

Bomber Command achieved a very notable success at Augsburg on 25th-26th February. Again this raid followed immediately upon a heavy American daylight attack, and as at Schweinfurt the force was split into two halves. The RAAF Lancasters were in the first wave which flew southwards across France before turning east towards the target. Only a few fighters were encountered although many were airborne searching for the bomber stream. In cloudless weather the Australians were able to identify the river and other landmarks in relation to the Pathfinder flares and carefully dropped their incendiaries into the heart of the city. The second force including No. 466 met very few fighters which were presumably back at their bases refuelling at the critical time. From Saarbrucken the Halifaxes were guided by the tremendous fires raging in Augsburg and simply flew on to drop their loads into the heart of the conflagration and to secure excellent night photographs. Over 60 per cent of Augsburg was devastated in this one raid and nearly all the MAN factory complex (the largest single producer of marine diesel engines) was damaged. Almost as badly affected was the works of Martin Schmittner, manufacturers of aircraft components.

Extract from Herington, J. (John) (406545) Air War Against Germany and Italy 1939-1943, Australian War Memorial, Canberra, 1954 – Pages 660-1

Lancaster DV274 took off from RAF Waddington at 1845 hours on the night of 25/26th February 1944 to bomb Augsburg, Germany. Bomb load 1 x 4000 lb (pound) (1,800 kg) bomb, 92 x 30 lb 914 kg), 750 x 4 lb (2 lb) incendiaries. Nothing was heard from the aircraft after take off and it did not return to base. Twelve aircraft from the Squadron took part in the raid and one of these DV 274 failed to return. Post war it was established that the aircraft crashed near Liesse in the Department of the Aisne, France

The crew members of DV274 were:

Flying Officer Stanley Alfred Isham (151994) (RAFVR) (Navigator)
Flying Officer Clifford James Johnson (418425) (Bomb Aimer)
Sergeant Kenneth Linford (1477129) (RAFVR) (Air Gunner)
Pilot Officer Kevin Harold McKnight (415347) (Pilot)
Flight Sergeant Stanley James Nelson (410710) (Wireless Operator Air Gunner)
Sergeant Leslie William Roberts (1603695) (RAFVR) (Flight Engineer)
Sergeant Thomas Winn (938040) (RAFVR) (Air Gunner)

No. 460 Squadron lost Lancaster JB742 (Pilot Officer Ronald Cecil Martin (420838) (Pilot)) on 26 February 1944.

No. 467 Squadron lost Lancaster LL756 (Pilot Officer Herbert Ronald Horton Stuchbury (415488), (Pilot)) on 26 February 1944.

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, 166/26/388

Bibliography:

Silbert, E. A. (Eric Abraham) (427030) Dinkum Mishpochah, Artlook Books Hay Street East WA, 1981