LEST WE FORGET

Flight Sergeant Russell George SALTER

Service No: 414601
Born: Inglewood QLD, 9 May 1915
Enlisted in the RAAF: 12 October 1941
Unit: No. 172 Squadron (RAF)
Died: Air Operations: (No. 172 Squadron Wellington aircraft MP630), Devon, 13 August 1943, Aged 28 Years
Buried: Henton Puncharden (St Augustine) Churchyard, Devon
CWGC Additional Information: Son of George and Lucy Salter; husband of Eunice Agnes Salter, of Jondaryon, Queensland, Australia
Roll of Honour: Acland QLD
Remembered: Panel 129, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT

On the night of 12/13 August 1943 Wellington MP630 took off detailed to carry out a night anti-submarine patrol. Nothing was heard from the aircraft after take-off and it failed to return to base. The aircraft was returning from its sortie when it flew into a hill while making an approach to land and crashed at Luscott Barton, North Devon, at 1445 hours on 13 August 1943. All the crew members were killed.

The crew members of MP630 were:

Sergeant Kenneth Harry Francis (1314970) (RAFVR) (Wireless Air Gunner)
Sergeant Sydney Charles Hasler (1382529) (RAFVR) (Wireless Air Gunner)
Sergeant Jack Saul Lockwood (658536) (RAFVR) (Second Pilot)
Flight Sergeant Russell George Salter (414601) (Observer)
Sergeant William Frederick Oliver Sayle (1124419) (RAFVR) (Wireless Air Gunner)
Sergeant Edgar Robert Howard Widdows (1121303) (RAFVR) (Pilot)

The aircraft flew over the aerodrome and asked for permission to land. The Airfield Controller gave the green and switched on the chance light. The aircraft answered by switching the downward recognition light on and commenced a circuit prior to approaching to land. The aircraft disappeared over the brow of the nearest hill and almost immediately a violent crash and explosion followed. All the aerodrome lighting was on but the weather was deteriorating at the time and may have been a factor.

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, 166/37/173