Flying Officer Graham Douglas MITCHELL

Service No: 416693
Born: Glenelg SA, 26 April 1923
Enlisted in the RAAF: 16 August 1941
Unit: No. 467 Squadron, RAF Bottesford, Lincolnshire
Died: Air Operations (No. 467 Squadron Lancaster aircraft ED531), Switzerland, 12 July 1943, Aged 20 Years
Buried: Vevey (St Martin’s) Cemetery, Switzerland
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Douglas and Dorothy Mitchell, of Tusmore, South Australia
Roll of Honour: Unknown
Remembered: Panel 111, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT
Remembered: World War II Honour Roll, National War Memorial of SA, North Terrace, Adelaide

Date: 12-13 July 1943
Target: Turin
Total Force: Dispatched – 299, Attacking – 277
RAAF Force: No. 460 Dispatched -22, Attacking – 20; No. 467 Dispatched – 18, Attacking – 17
Tons of Bombs Dropped: 734
Total Aircraft Lost: 13
RAAF Aircraft Lost: No. 467 – 2

This table does not include the loss of Lancaster LM311 which crashed on return to base.

This devastation of Hamburg (between 23 July and 2 August 1943) occurred mid-way in a series of twelve raids against cities in northern Italy designed to cripple Italian will to resist the invasion of Sicily and then of the mainland. Australian Lancaster squadrons flew on eight of these raids. The small losses reflect the weakness of Italian opposition compared with that met at German targets and although a round trip of some 2,000 miles was entailed in each case, crews generally felt that the task was easy. Thus on 12th-13th July, when electrical storms and icing conditions prevailed along the route, two pilots of No. 467 flew their Lancasters most of the way on three engines, although having to make twice the dangerous crossing of the Alps . Their perseverance was rewarded for all crews found clear weather over Turin, and the Fiat steel, aircraft-engine and automobile factories were heavily hit in a deliberate attack. Wing Commander Martin (1) of No. 460 Squadron reported that the actual defences were so weak and uncoordinated that, if necessary, a ten-minute bombing run could have been made without interference.

(1) Wing Commander Charles Ernest Martin DSO DFC (402059) was discharged from the RAAF on 29 October 1945.

Extracts from Herington, J. (John) (406545) Air War Against Germany and Italy 1939-1943, Australian War Memorial, Canberra, 1954 – Pages 589, 590

Lancaster ED531 took off from RAF Bottesford at 2249 hours on the night of 12/13th July 1943 to bomb Turin, Italy. Nothing further was heard from the aircraft and it failed to return to base. Advice was later received from the British Consul General at Basle in Switzerland that the aircraft had crashed at Sion on the night of 12/13th July 1943, and that crew of seven had been killed.

The crew members of ED531 were:

Flight Sergeant Hugh Burke Bolger (414193) (Mid Upper Gunner)
Sergeant Benjamin Kenneth Hall Evans (1031846) (RAFVR) (Flight Engineer)
Flight Sergeant John Martin Maher (409844) (Wireless Operator Air Gunner)
Flying Officer Graham Douglas Mitchell (416693) (Pilot)
Flying Officer Walter Henry Morgan (134667) (RAF) (Bomb Aimer)
Flying Officer Harold Raymond St. George (414737) (Navigator)
Flight Sergeant Anthony David Terry (19117) (Rear Gunner)

No. 467 Squadron lost Lancaster JA676 (Flight Lieutenant Robert Winton Arnold Gibbs (40468) (RAF) (Pilot)) on 13 July 1943.

No. 467 Squadron lost Lancaster LM311 (Pilot Officer Cedric Arthur Chapman (415117) (Pilot)) on 13 July 1943.


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, 166/27/169

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