LEST WE FORGET

Flight Lieutenant Richard Arthur OAKLEY

Service No: 215
Born: Brisbane QLD, 24 February 1917
Enlisted in the RAAF: 21 July 1937 (at RAAF Station Point Cook VIC)
Unit: No. 217 Squadron (RAF), RAF Station St Eval
Died: Air Operations: (No. 217 Squadron Beaufort aircraft L9835), English Channel, 1 February 1941, Aged 23 Years
Buried: Phen-les-Guines Communal Cemetery, Pas-de-Calais, France
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Leonard Joseph and Mary Dorrell Oakley, of Ashburton, Victoria, Australia
Roll of Honour: Unknown
Remembered: Panel 128, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT

On 1 February 1941, Beaufort L9835 failed to return from a bombing raid on the German Battleship Admiral Hipper in Brest Harbour, France. It was believed that the aircraft crashed into the sea between Ushant and England after a daylight bombing raid. A message had been received from the aircraft at 1616 hours saying that the port engine had failed and the aircraft was losing height. The aircraft failed to return to base and it was later learned that all four crew members had been killed.

The crew members of L9835 were:

Sergeant Arthur James Crocker (527080) (RAF)
Sergeant Arthur George Hayman (580515) (RAF)
Flight Lieutenant Richard Arthur Oakley (215) (Pilot)
Sergeant Kenneth George Rowley (755531) (RAFVR)

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 Veterans’ Affairs On-Line WWII Nominal Roll
National Archives of Australia On-Line Record A705, 163/50/19

Bibliography:

Nesbit, Roy Conyers An Expendable Squadron: the Story of 217 Squadron, Coastal command 1939-1945, Pen & Sword Books, South Yorkshire UK 2014