MITCHELL William Hewitt 415345

LEST WE FORGET

Flight Lieutenant William Hewitt Power MITCHELL

Service No: 415345
Born: Nedlands WA, 11 March 1920
Enlisted in the RAAF: 14 September 1941
Unit: No. 192 Squadron (RAF), RAF Foulsham, Norfolk
Died: Air Operations (No. 192 Squadron Halifax aircraft NA241), Germany, 23 February 1945, Aged 24 Years
Buried: Durnbach War Cemetery, Bad Tolz, Bayern, Germany
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Leslie Campbell Mitchell and Sarah Jane Mitchell, of North Perth, Western Australia; husband of Beatrice Joan Mitchell, of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.
Roll of Honour: Perth WA
Remembered: Panel 127, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT
Remembered: Cenotaph Undercroft, State War Memorial, Kings Park WA

Halifax NA241 took off from RAF Foulsham at 1610 hours on the night of 23 February 1945, detailed to carry out a special duty (radar counter-measures) flight to support the Bomber Command Force attacking the marshalling yards at Pforzheim, Germany. Nothing was heard from the aircraft after take off and it failed to return to base. A Missing Research & Enquiry team later reported that “the aircraft was shot down by a night fighter and crashed near Mauren on 23 February 1945. Seven of the crew were killed and Pilot Officer Powell became a Prisoner of War.

The crew members of NA241 were:

Flight Sergeant Thomas George Campbell (R/197245) (RCAF) (Mid Upper Gunner)
Flying Officer Anthony William Clark (163920) (RAFVR) (Air Bomber)
Sergeant Alan Keith Goodall (1803943) (RAFVR) (Navigator)
Sergeant John Langley Kerr (1801030) (RAFVR) (Wireless Air Gunner)
Flight Lieutenant William Hewitt Power Mitchell (415345) (Pilot)
Sergeant Frederick Parkins (2222307) (RAFVR) (Flight Engineer)
Pilot Officer R Powell (188218) (RAFVR) (Special Duties Operator) PoW
Sergeant Roy Norman Seager (1862444) (RAFVR) (Rear Gunner)

Pilot Officer Powell later reported “On being hit by cannon fire from a night fighter, I saw the mid Upper Gunner vacate his seat and adjust his chute. I could receive nothing on the intercom, I therefore did likewise (put on chute). I beckoned to the Mid Upper to bale out but he refused to move. I therefore bypassed him. The aircraft seemed to go in a vertical dive as I left by the side door, but as I was about to hit the deck, I saw a sheet of flame and the aircraft burning. The Germans told me that all the others were dead. “.

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, 166/27/799