Squadron Leader Arthur Geoffrey OXLADE

Service No: 400733
Born: Echuca VIC, 8 April 1920
Enlisted in the RAAF: 13 October 1940
Unit: No. 464 Squadron
Died: Air Operations: (No. 464 Squadron Mosquito aircraft NS897), France, 6 June 1944, Aged 24 Years
Buried: Gueures Communal Cemetery, Seine-Maritime, France
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Arthur Harold and Olive May Oxlade, of Croydon, Victoria. Australia
Roll of Honour: Unknown
Remembered: Panel 109, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT

Mosquito NS897 took off from RAF Gravesend at 2250 hours on the night of 5 June 1944, being one of twenty aircraft from the Squadron detailed to bomb road and rail junctions, convoys, trains and bridges in support of the landing in Normandy. NS897 failed to return from the mission.

The crew members of NS897 were:

Squadron Leader Arthur Geoffrey Oxlade (400733) (Pilot) (A Flight Commander)
Flight Lieutenant Donald McKenzie Shanks (400839) (Navigator) Safe, Discharged from the RAAF: 7 March 1946

Flight Lieutenant Shanks returned safe to the UK. He reported as follows: “We took off at 2300 hours to do a recce of roads south of the invasion area. We were coned at 2,000 feet to the south of Montfoe and the aircraft caught fire from flak hits. We carried on and the fire went out. On the return journey over Yvetot one engine cut out and the pilot was forced to feather it. No sooner was that done when the other engine caught fire. The bale out was ordered and I did so when under 2,000 feet. I don’t think the pilot had time to bale out. I landed north of Gueures. The aircraft hit the ground and blew up. Later the bombs blew up. The chute was tangled in a tall tree. I was forced to leave it there and climb down.. I went south and shortly knocked on the door of a farmhouse. A Frenchman and woman told me to get away quickly as the farm was a German Headquarters. I walked past a German guard on the gate and walked east for 2 kms. I hid for 2 days in a hedge living on escape tablets. At dusk on 7 June I walked cross country, reached Ablement and entered a farmhouse. The farmer sheltered me until 13 June when I moved to Mont Candon in order to see a flying bomb site close by and wanted to study the thing at close quarters. Flying
bombs commenced on 16 June. On 25 June I was moved by the Resistance organization to Montreuil en Caux. On 1 September I made contact with Canadian troops.” Flight Lieutenant Shanks returned to No. 464 Squadron on 7 September 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 Veterans’ Affairs On-Line WWII Nominal Roll
National Archives of Australia On-Line Record A705, 166/31/204


Lax, M. (Mark) and Leon Kane-Maguire The Gestapo Hunters: 464 Squadron RAAF 1942-5, Banner Books Maryborough QLD 4650, 1999
Vincent, D. (David) Mosquito Monograph: A history of Mosquitoes in Australia and RAAF operations, David Vincent Highbury SA 5089, 1982

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