Sergeant Ashleigh Thomas MEARS

Service No: 405094
Born: Wellington, New Zealand, 15 December 1916
Enlisted in the RAAF: 6 January 1941 (at Brisbane QLD)
Unit: No. 50 Squadron (RAF), RAF Station Swinderby
Died: Air Operations: (No. 50 Squadron Lancaster aircraft R5639), North West Europe, 17 August 1942, Aged 25 Years
Buried: Unrecovered
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Geoffrey and Ethel Maude Mears; husband of Joan Mears, of Chatswood, New South Wales, Australia
Roll of Honour: Sydney NSW
Remembered: Panel 113, Runnymede Memorial, Surrey UK
Remembered: Panel 127, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT

At 2135 hours on 17 August 1942 Lancaster R5639 took off from Swinderby to attack Osnabruck, Germany. Nothing further was heard from the aircraft after take-off, and it did not return to base. Following extensive searches and enquiries by the Missing Research and Enquiry service which failed to find any trace of the missing aircraft or crew, in 1949 it was recorded that the missing crew members had no known graves.

The crew members of R5639 were:

Flying Officer John Shirley Bunbury (101535) (RAFVR) (Pilot)
Sergeant Maurice Patrick Gallagher (574930) (RAF) (Flight Engineer)
Flying Officer Alexander Gordon MacDonald (400476) (Navigator)
Sergeant Ashleigh Thomas Mears (405094) (Wireless Operator/Air)
Sergeant Stewart Robertson Mitchell (1058531) (RAFVR) (Air Bomber)
Sergeant Glyndwr Phillips (630457) (RAF) (Rear Gunner)
Sergeant Peter Simpson (965570) (RAFVR) (Mid Upper Gunner)


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, 163/143/102