Flying Officer John Percy RAFFEN

Service No: 407183
Born: Adelaide SA, 29 February 1920
Enlisted in the RAAF: 20 July 1940
Unit: No. 3 Squadron, Cutella, Italy
Died: Air Operations (No. 3 Squadron Kittyhawk MkII aircraft FF429), Ortona, Italy, 30 December 1943, Aged 23 Years
Buried: Moro River Canadian War Cemetery, Italy
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Percy Edward Leonard and Vera Violet Raffen, of Hilton, South Australia.
Roll of Honour: Unknown
Remembered: Panel 98, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT
Remembered: World War II Honour Roll, National War Memorial of SA, North Terrace, Adelaide

Brother of Sergeant George Frederick Raffen (416364)

The next highlight came on 20th December when 45 sorties were flown by Nos. 3 and 450 in support of the 1st Canadian Division as it battled its way into the outskirts of Ortona. Other activity had been against gun positions in the area around Orsogna where German troops proved particularly stoical in the face of repeated air assault, and where XIII Corps was forced to break off its costly frontal assault on 20th December. The fighter-bomber effort tapered off rapidly after this date and indeed on the 23rd ceased entirely for a week. Both Australian squadrons moved forward on 28th December to Cutella and ended the year in a burst of activity, flying 83 sorties against enemy positions near Miglianico and Tollo.

Extract from Herington, J. (John) (406545) Air War Over Europe 1944-1945, Australian War Memorial, Canberra, 1963 – Page 70

On 30 December 1943, Kittyhawk FF429 was one of a formation of aircraft detailed to bomb gun emplacements, 2 miles south of Chieti, just inland from Pescara on the Adriatic coast, Italy. Intense anti-aircraft fire was encountered from Breda guns, and the Squadron broke away towards the coast at ground level. FF429 was seen to be hit by the 20mm guns, and the aircraft seen to turn over the coast towards the land where it hit a small hill about 8 kms north of Orton at about 1400 hours.


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, 166/35/201

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