LEST WE FORGET
Flying Officer Henry Frederick ROOME
Service No: 434016
Born: Gayndah QLD, 5 September 1923
Enlisted in the RAAF: 9 October 1942
Unit: No. 514 Squadron, RAF Waterbeach, Cambridgeshire
Died: Air Operations: (No. 514 Squadron Lancaster aircraft LM265), Germany 13 August 1944, Aged 20 Years
Buried: Reichswald Forest War Cemetery, Kleve, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Frederick and Lorna Eileen Roome, of Gayndah, Queensland, Australia
Roll of Honour: Gayndah QLD
Remembered: Panel 129, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT
The force assembled for the first raid on Russelsheim on 12th-13th August was composed of 287 Halifaxes and Lancasters drawn from five separate groups, the Australian contribution being 17 Lancasters from No. 463, 17 from No. 467 and 22 aircraft with RAAF captains spread among the other squadrons. There was little cloud and the main bomber stream arrived to find that ground markers had been laid on time by the pathfinders and were both plentiful and well grouped. Moderate heavy ground defences could not spoil the rhythm of attack and German fighters appeared in force only towards the end of the operation, being particularly persistent in their attacks as the gaggle of bombers streamed homewards. Despite these favourable bombing conditions only a dispersed attack developed, although some heavy explosions were reported and many fires seen.
Australian crews gave very conflicting reports at their debriefing. Some thought that bombing was concentrated, others believed it was scattered; many stated that fires were of no great magnitude, but some said that they covered the whole area. Subsequent photographs showed that there was damage only in the south-west area of the huge works and was confined mainly to storage, loading and dispatch sections; residential property to the south-east of the factory had suffered considerably and there was evidence of fires in the surrounding woods. The bomb-load expended had been some 510 tons of high explosive and 450 tons of incendiary bombs, so that as a whole the raid could not be described as having achieved great success. For this moderate result Bomber Command lost
20 aircraft including one from No. 467 and 3 piloted by Australians of Nos. 50, 102 and 622 Squadrons.
Extract from Herington, J. (John) Air War Over Europe 1944-1945, Australian War Memorial, Canberra, 1963 – Page 183
On the night of 12 August 1944, Lancaster LM 265 took off from RAF Waterbeach at 2345 hours, detailed to bomb Russelsheim, Germany. Nothing was heard from the aircraft after take off, and it failed to return to base. The aircraft crashed at 0030 hours on the 13th August, in the village of Engegstadt, about 15 kms south west of Mainz, Germany. Seven of the crew were killed and one became a prisoner of War.
The crew members of LM265 were:
Sergeant G M Holt (2212994) (RAF) (Flight Engineer) PoW
Flight Sergeant William James McIntosh (550259) (RAF) (Navigator)
Pilot Edgar Richardson (179994) (RAF) (Pilot)
Flight Sergeant Cecil Burnley Robertshaw (1379027) (RAF) (Wireless Air Gunner)
Pilot Officer Henry Frederick Roome (434016) (Second Pilot)
Sergeant Philip Raymond Smith (1868834) (RAFVR) (Rear Gunner)
Sergeant George Henry Trigwell (1391956) (RAFVR) (Air Bomber)
Sergeant Bernard Reginald Vince (1486527) (RAFVR) (Mid Upper Gunner)
The aircraft lost identified in Herington’s extract were No. 467 Squadron Lancaster aircraft PD230 (Flying Officer Rodney James Mellowship (417870) (Pilot)), No. 50 Squadron Lancaster NE135 (Flying Officer Douglas Leslie Haynes (422517) (Pilot)), No. 102 Squadron Halifax MZ647 (Flight Lieutenant Philip Edward Young (422825) (Pilot)) and No. 622 Squadron Lancaster PD230 (Flying Officer John Harold Busby (418798) (Pilot)).
In addition, RAAF members were lost in No. 578 Squadron Halifax LM393 (Pilot Officer Owen Scott MacPhillamy MID (423850) (Pilot) and No. 635 Squadron Lancaster ND694 (Warrant Officer Alwyn Terence Till (410756) (Air Bomber)).
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