Flight Lieutenant Oscar Gladwin ROWCROFT

Service No: 401196
Born: Fairfield VIC, 6 April 1919
Enlisted in the RAAF: 4 January 1941
Unit: No. 467 Squadron, RAF Station Bottesford, Lincolnshire
Died: Air Operations: (No. 467 Squadron Lancaster aircraft ED526), Germany, 25 February 1943, Aged 23 Years
Buried: Durnbach War Cemetery, Bad Tolz, Bayern, Germany
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Thomas Wilson Rowcroft and Gertrude May Rowcroft, of Elwood, Victoria, Australia
Roll of Honour: Mildura VIC
Remembered: Panel 111, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT

Date: 25-26 February 1943
Target: Nuremberg
Total Force: Dispatched – 337, Attacking – 278
RAAF Force: No. 460 Dispatched – 8, Attacking – 7; No. 467 Dispatched – 9, Attacking – 8
Tons of Bombs Dropped: 749
Total Aircraft Lost: 9
RAAF Aircraft Lost: No. 467 – 1

During March and April 1943 Bomber Command also made a series of raids on cities in southern Germany. Nuremberg, Munich, Stuttgart and Frankfurt-on-Main were all industrial centres of importance and each had escaped lightly in previous attacks. The purpose now was not only to damage them, but also to perfect a long-range technique for Pathfinder-led raids using H2S instead of Oboe. Moreover there was a deliberate linking of these attacks with the Ruhr campaign insofar as they kept German ground and air defences spread out as widely and as long as possible . The threat, however, could not be maintained during the short nights of May and June. These attacks were only partly effective in their main object. The first attack on Nuremberg (February 25-26, 1943) failed entirely as the Pathfinders were fifteen minutes late and then dropped their flares north-west of the town.

Extracts from Herington, J. (John) (406545) Air War Against Germany and Italy 1939-1943, Australian War Memorial, Canberra, 1954 – Pages 496

Lancaster ED526 took off from RAF Bottesford at 1946 hours on the night of 25/26th February 1943 to bomb Nurnberg, Germany. Nothing was heard from the aircraft after take off and it failed to return to base. Eight aircraft from the Squadron took part in the raid and one of these ED526 failed to return. Following post war enquiries and investigations, it was established that the aircraft crashed near Wisendorf on the 25 February 1943, presumably as a result of enemy action and all seven crew members had been killed.

The crew members of ED526 were:

Warrant Officer Joseph Louis Bernard Larin (R/73774) (RCAF) (Rear Gunner)
Sergeant Edward O’Kane (1479311) (RAFVR) (Bomb Aimer)
Flight Lieutenant Oscar Gladwin Rowcroft (401196) (Navigator) Squadron Navigation Officer
Warrant Officer Maxwell Phillip Stewart (405189) (Pilot)
Sergeant Richard Wiggins (1321793) (RAFVR) (Mid Upper Gunner)
Warrant Officer Robert Stanley Woolley (R/77317) (RCAF) (Wireless Operator Air Gunner)
Sergeant Robert McKenzie Wylie (982917) (RAFVR) (Flight Engineer)


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, 166/36/30

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