RICHARDS Stephen Eddy 415550

LEST WE FORGET

Warrant Officer Stephen Eddy RICHARDS

Service No: 415550
Born: Perth WA, 9 May 1922
Enlisted in the RAAF: 9 November 1941
Unit: No. 98 Squadron (RAF), B58 Airfield Melsbroek, Belgium
Died: Air Operations (No. 98 Squadron Mitchell aircraft AD380), Netherlands, 6 February 1945, Aged 22 Years
Buried: Unrecovered
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Stephen Eddy Thomas Richards and Mary Richards, of Herne Hill, Western Australia
Roll of Honour: Herne Hill WA
Remembered: Panel 284, Runnymede Memorial, Surrey UK
Remembered: Panel 129, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT
Remembered: Cenotaph Undercroft, State War Memorial, Kings Park WA

Mitchell AD380 of 98 Squadron took off from Melsbroek airfield at 0845 hours on 6 February 1945 to bomb a railway bridge at Deventer, Holland. At a height of between 10,500 to 14,000 feet, the box (aircraft formation) in which AD 380 was flying reached the target and AD 380 was making a target run but the bombs doors would not open. Flames were seen in the rear part of the fuselage directly after the order to release bombs was given by the box leader and almost immediately AD380 went into a vertical dive, minus its tail. Nothing more was seen of AD 380 which disappeared into cloud and was not seen to strike the ground. It was established post war that the aircraft had been hit by anti-aircraft fire near the target, exploded and caught fire. The remains of Sergeant Quick and Sergeant Locke were identified and interred, with the other two crew members listed as missing. A memorial plaque was erected in the General Cemetery at Deventer to perpetuate the memory of the crew members.

The crew members of AD380 were:

Sergeant Harry Clifford Locke (3011540) (RAFVR) (Wireless Operator Air Gunner)
Sergeant John Anthony Quick (1603128) (RAFVR) (Navigator Bomb Aimer)
Warrant Officer Stephen Eddy Richards (415550) (Pilot)
Sergeant Jack Ward (2222501) (RAFVR) (Air Gunner)

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 Veteran’s Affairs On-Line WWII Nominal Roll
National Archives of Australia On-Line Record A705, 163/157/171