Flight Sergeant Keith Balfour PHILLIPS

Service No: 409600
Born: Aspendale VIC, 9 February 1919
Enlisted in the RAAF: 12 September 1941
Unit: No. 166 Squadron (RAF), RAF Station Kirmington
Died: Air Operations: (No. 166 Squadron Wellington aircraft HE901), off the French Coast, 28 August 1943, Aged 24 Years
Buried: Cherbourg Old Communal Cemetery, Manche, France
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Balfour Burton Phillips and Ada Isabel Phillips, of Malvern, Victoria, Australia
Roll of Honour: Malvern VIC
Remembered: Panel 128, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT

Wellington HE901 took off from Kirmington at 1937 hours on the night of 27/28 August 1943, detailed to carry out a gardening mission (mine laying) off Lorient in French coastal waters. Nothing was heard from the aircraft after take off and it failed to return to base. HE901 was one of nine aircraft from the Squadron detailed to carry out the mission. Other crews reported that enemy defences off Lorient and the Isle de Croix were much more active than on previous occasions and appeared to have been increased. It was presumed that HE901 crashed in the target area. All the crew members lost their lives. Flight Sergeant Phillips’ body was recovered but the other four crew members have no known graves.

The crew members of HE901 were:

Sergeant Arthur Roy Harrup (1272474) (RAFVR) (Wireless Air Gunner)
Sergeant Ronald William Holmes (1530766) (RAFVR) (Air Bomber)
Sergeant Frank Jackson (1580041) (RAFVR) (Navigator)
Pilot Officer John Arthur Cyril Newman (156120) (RAFVR) (Pilot)
Flight Sergeant Keith Balfour Phillips (409600) (Air Gunner)


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 A707, 166/32/174

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