Warrant Officer Laurence John NICHOLS

Service No: 413886
Born: Goulburn NSW, 30 September 1921
Enlisted in the RAAF: 13 September 1941
Unit: No. 466 Squadron, RAF Leconfield, Yorkshire
Died: Air Operations: (No. 466 Squadron Halifax aircraft LV826), Belgium, 13 May 1944, Aged 22 Years
Buried: Unrecovered
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Laurence Reginald and Grace Emmeline Nichols, of Summer Hill, New South Wales, Australia.
Roll of Honour: Unknown
Remembered: Panel 259, Runnymede Memorial, Surrey UK
Remembered: Panel 110, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT
Remembered: Goulburn-Mulwaree Honour Roll 1339-1945, Goulburn NSW

Date: 12-13 May 1944
Target: Hasselt Rail Centre
Total Force: Dispatched – 111, Attacking – 106
RAAF Force: No. 466 Dispatched – Unavailable, Attacking – 15
Tons of Bombs Dropped: 437
Total Aircraft Lost: 7
RAAF Aircraft Lost: No. 466 – 2

All the attacks except those on Aachen (Main) and Ottignies resulted in important damage, although at several places more than one attack was required, especially at Villeneuve St George and Aulnoye where the enemy made a surprising recovery from the earlier attacks, and at Hasselt where on the first occasion difficult bombing conditions led the master bomber to abandon the operation and send aircraft back with their bombs (which had occurred on the previous night – May 11-12).

Extract from Herington, J. (John) (406545) Air War Over Europe 1944-1945, Australian War Memorial, Canberra, 1963 – Page 28

Halifax LV826 took off from RAF Leconfield at 2153 hours on the night of 12/13th May 1944 to bomb Hasselt marshalling yards. Fifteen aircraft from the Squadron took part in the raid and two of these including LV 826 failed to return. Post war searches and enquiries found no trace of the missing aircraft or crew.

The crew members of LV 826 were:

Flight Sergeant Donald Anderson Bowern (420434) (Rear Gunner)
Flying Officer John Robert Brookes (160528) (RAFVR) (Wireless Operator Air Gunner)
Sergeant Hugh Forbes (1690225) (RAFVR) (Flight Engineer)
Pilot Officer Eric Henry Gaggin (425000) (Pilot)
Pilot Officer George Clifton Jennison (174541) (RAFVR) (Second Pilot)
Flight Sergeant Norman Edward Locklier (419321) (Mid Upper Gunner)
Flight Sergeant Peter William Nicholls (417507) (Bomb Aimer)
Warrant Officer Laurence John Nichols (413886) (Navigator)

RAF Leconfield Operation order No 164 required: 15 Aircraft from 466 Squadron.

Target: Hasselt
Route: Base – Orfordness – 51.50N 0230E – 51.32N 04.28E – Target – 50.52N 05.26E – 50.56N 05.34E – 51.32N 04.28E – 51.50N 02.30E – Orfordness – Base.
Bomb load for HD – J 18 x 500 lb (pound) (225 kg). H2S (radar) fitted to all aircraft except ‘M’.

No. 466 Squadron lost Halifax LV919 (Flying Officer Leonard Victor Barnett (418332) (Pilot)) on 12/13 May 1944.


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, 166/29/121
Register of War Memorials in New South Wales On-Line