LEST WE FORGET

Pilot Officer Alan George SANDS

Service No: 402578
Born: Roseville NSW, 23 January 1917
Enlisted in the RAAF: 16 September 1940
Unit: No. 455 Squadron, RAF Station Swinderby
Died: Air Operations: (No. 455 Squadron Hampden aircraft P1272), Germany, 30 November 1941, Aged 24 Years
Buried: Hamburg Cemetery, Ohlsdorf, Germany
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Raymond John and Rita Constance Sands, of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Roll of Honour: Chatswood NSW
Remembered: Panel 106, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT
Remembered: Gordon Rugby Football Club, Chatswood NSW

Pilot Officer Sands and Sergeant Shannon are the first RAAF World War II operational casualties of the Squadron.

Hampden P1272 took off from RAF Swinderby at 1654 hours on the night of 30 Nov/1st December 1941 to bomb the Blohm & Voss Shipbuilding Yards at Hamburg, Germany. Nothing was heard from the aircraft after take off and it did not return to base. Five aircraft from the Squadron took part in the raid and two of these including P1272 failed to return. It was later established from German documents that the aircraft was shot down on 30 November 1941 and that Sergeant Shannon’s body had been recovered from the sea.

The crew members of P1201 were:

Pilot Officer Alan George Sands (402578) (Navigator)
Sergeant John Shannon (404264) (Pilot)
Sergeant Alexander Charles Shorey (1375139) (RAFVR) (Wireless Operator Air Gunner)
Sergeant Victor Edward Towers (1258909) (RAFVR) (Air Gunner)

No. 455 Squadron lost Hampden AE430 (Sergeant Charles John Harvey Blunt (1167740) (RAFVR) (Pilot)) on 30 November 1941.

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, 163/56/96
Register of War Memorials in New South Wales On-Line