Flight Sergeant Stanley John Fielding PALMER

Service No: 415677
Born: Subiaco WA, 2 November 1917
Enlisted in the RAAF: 7 December 1941
Unit: No. 463 Squadron, RAF Waddington Lincolnshire
Died: Air Operations (No. 463 Squadron Lancaster aircraft ME573), Germany, 15 March 1944, Aged 26 Years
Buried: Durnbach War Cemetery, Bad Tolz, Bayern, Germany
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Stanley Lyle Palmer and Ellen Jeanette Palmer, of West Perth, Western Australia.
Roll of Honour: Perth WA
Remembered: Panel 109, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT
Remembered: Cenotaph Undercroft, State War Memorial, Kings Park WA
Remembered: Honour Avenues, Kings Park WA

Date: 15-16 March 1944
Target: Stuttgart
Total Force: Dispatched – 863, Attacking – 813
RAAF Force: No. 460 Dispatched – 24, Attacking – 24; No. 463 Dispatched – 17, Attacking – 17; No. 466 Dispatched – 17, Attacking – 16; No. 467 Dispatched – 19, Attacking – 19
Tons of Bombs Dropped: 2,609
Total Aircraft Lost: 36
RAAF Aircraft Lost: No. 460 – 1; No. 463 – 2; No. 466 – 2

The maximum strength raid (on Stuttgart) a fortnight later (March 15-16) was almost a complete failure, because after struggling against incorrectly forecasted winds and many attacks by fighters the Australians arrived over Stuttgart to find Pathfinder markers in clusters miles apart with dummy enemy markers further adding to the confusion. Two pilots of No. 460 described the attack as “irresponsible, scattered and unimpressive” and criticised the “wild bombing” which put most of the weight of the attack near fourteen villages to the south-west of the target.

Extracts from Herington, J. (John) (406545) Air War Against Germany and Italy 1939-1943, Australian War Memorial, Canberra, 1954 – Page 658-660

Lancaster ME573 took off from RAF Waddington at 1904 hours on the night of 15/16th March 1944 to bomb Stuttgart, Germany. Bomb load 1 x 4000 b (pound) (1,800 kg) bomb, 64 x 30 lb (14 kg), 600 x 4 lb (2 kg) incendiaries. Nothing was heard from the aircraft after take off and it did not return to base. Seventeen aircraft from the Squadron took part in the raid and one of these ME573 failed to return. Post war it was established that the aircraft crashed near Kornwesheim approximately 10 kms north of Stuttgart.

The crew members of ME573 were:

Flight Sergeant James MacAdam Benzie (413526) (Bomb Aimer)
Flying Officer Peter Charles Russell Brown (145370) (RAFVR) (Navigator)
Pilot Officer Jack Leslie Childs (414813) (RNZAF) (Air Gunner)
Flight Sergeant Stanley John Fielding Palmer (415677) (Wireless Operator Air Gunner)
Sergeant Ronald Pead (1818530) (RAFVR) (Air Gunner)
Flying Officer John Roberts (416893) (Pilot)
Sergeant James Wilby (1584697) (RAFVR) (Flight Engineer)

No. 460 Squadron lost Lancaster ND393 (Pilot Officer George Edward Parkinson (413416) (Pilot)) on 15 March 1944.

No. 463 Squadron lost Lancaster ED606 (Pilot Officer William Alexander Graham (413988) (Pilot)) on 15 March 1944.

No. 466 Squadron lost Halifax HX341 (Flying Officer Harold Callaway Wills (412787) (Pilot)) on 15 March 1944.

No. 466 Squadron lost Halifax LM521 (Flight Sergeant John Cecil Bond (420433) (Pilot)) on 15 March 1944 and one crew member (Flying Officer Oswald Kenneth Chrimes (151348) (RAFVR) (Navigator)) was killed. LM521 ditched off Salcombe, Devon.


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, 166/32/217

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