Flight Lieutenant Francis Eric McLEAN DFC

Service No: 413091
Born: Dorrigo NSW, 4 March 1923
Enlisted in the RAAF: 15 August 1941
Unit: No. 83 Squadron (RAF), RAF Station Coningsby
Awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC), 12 February 1946
Died: Air Operations: (No. 83 Squadron Lancaster aircraft ND854), off Brest, France, 14 August 1944, Aged 21 Years
Buried: Cameret-sur-Mer Communal Cemetery, Finistere, France
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Eric Francis and Katherine McLean
Roll of Honour: Unknown
Remembered: Panel 126, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT

DFC Citation: Flight Lieutenant McLean has taken part in attacks on vital and heavily defended targets in Germany and occupied Europe. In December 1943, on returning from an attack against the German capital he encountered very adverse weather over the landing field. The navigation systems and the wireless communication system of the aircraft were unserviceable, and the aircraft hit an obstruction and burst into flames. Although injured himself, Flight Lieutenant McLean helped to extricate his crew and despite this harassing experience, he immediately, on recovery, resumed operational flying with undiminished enthusiasm. An excellent captain of aircraft he has consistently maintained a high standard of efficiency and imbued his crew with his fine fighting spirit. (London Gazette 12 February 1946 Page 903)

Flight Lieutenant McLean was the pilot of Lancaster JB344 that crashed near Wyton on 17 December 1943 killing Flight Sergeant Vincent Gregory Tankard (410269).

At 1728 hours on the night of 14 August 1944 Lancaster ND854 took off from Coningsby detailed to attack shipping at Brest, France. Nothing was heard from the aircraft after take off and it failed to return to base. It was presumed that the aircraft crashed into the sea off Brest. All the crew members were killed.

The crew members of ND854 were:

Flight Lieutenant Cecil Ford Bedell DFC & Bar (129540) (RAFVR) (Navigator)
Pilot Officer Lawrence Edward Faithorn (422471) (Mid Upper Gunner)
Pilot Officer Brian Bruce Furniss (178724) (RAFVR) (Flight Engineer)
Flight Sergeant John Henderson (1075987) (RAFVR) (Wireless Operator Air)
Warrant Officer Graham Marsden Jones (1108838) (RAFVR) (Rear Gunner)
Flying Officer Edward Alexander Louis Kemp DFC (149253) (RAFVR) (Air Bomber)
Flying Officer John Leonard (J/29987) (RCAF) (Navigator B)
Flight Lieutenant Francis Eric McLean DFC (413091) (Pilot)


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 Veterans’ Affairs On-Line WWII Nominal Roll
National Archives of Australia On-Line Record A705, 166/26/318

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