LEST WE FORGET

Sergeant Elton Roy RITCHIE

Service No: 421626
Born: Marrickville NSW, 17 December 1923
Enlisted in the RAAF: 28 February 1942
Unit: No. 32 Operational Training Unit (RAF)
Died: Aircraft Accident (No. 32 Operational Training Unit Hampden aircraft), off the British Columbia Coast, 14 June 1943, Aged 19 Years
Buried: Unrecovered
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Sydney and Kate Ritchie, of Homebush, New South Wales, Australia
Roll of Honour: Strathfield NSW
Remembered: Panel 3, Column 1, Ottawa Memorial, Ontario
Remembered: Panel 133, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT

A Hampden aircraft of No 32 Operational Training Unit took off at 0515 hours on 14 June 1943 to carry out a navigational, bombing and firing exercise over the Pacific Ocean. The last message received from the aircraft was at 0600 hours. The aircraft failed to return from the exercise. Five other aircraft took off on the same exercise at about the same time, but all had returned to base about 0645 hours due to bad weather. The weather deteriorated further during 14 June, and searches by aircraft could not take place until the 15 June. Naval vessels sighted some wreckage, and on 16 June wrecked parts of a Hampden aircraft were identified as belonging to the missing aircraft but no survivors were found.

The crew members were:

Flying Officer George Cospatrick Douglas-Home (126996) (RAFVR)
Sergeant Allan Spencer Lynch (420751) (Wireless Operator Air Gunner)
Sergeant Elton Roy Ritchie (421626) (Wireless Operator Air Gunner)
Pilot Officer Charles Sugden (151391) (RAFVR)

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 Veterans’ Affairs On-Line WWII Nominal Roll
National Archives of Australia On-Line Record A705, 166/35/81