SAUNDERS Raymond Kenneth 406814

LEST WE FORGET

Warrant Officer Raymond Kenneth SAUNDERS

Service No: 406814
Born: Guildford WA, 26 June 1920
Enlisted in the RAAF: 26 April 1941
Unit: No. 432 Squadron (RCAF), RAF East Moor, Yorkshire
Died: Air Operations (No. 432 Squadron Lancaster aircraft DS831), Netherlands, 16 December 1943, Aged 23 Years
Buried: Leeuwarden (Huizum) Protestant Churchyard, Friesland, Netherlands
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Herbert Earl and Lillian Helen Saunders, of East Guildford, Western Australia.
Roll of Honour: Guildford WA
Remembered: Panel 133, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT
Remembered: Cenotaph Undercroft, State War Memorial, Kings Park WA

On the night of 16/17th December 1943, Lancaster DS831 took off from East Moor at 1629 hours, detailed to bomb Berlin. Nothing was heard from the aircraft after take off and it failed to return to base. The aircraft was shot down by an enemy night fighter, and crashed at 1841 hours between Wijlgaard and Wekdum (Friesland), 7 kms south of Leeuwarden, Holland. Six of the crew were killed and Sergeant Lewis and Flight Sergeant Brudell became Prisoners of War.

The crew members of DS832 were:

Flight Sergeant James Stuart Briegel (R/113427) (RCAF) (Navigator)
Flight Sergeant Montagu Anthony Thomas Brudell (413340) (Wireless Air Gunner) PoW, Discharged from the RAAF: 7 November 1945
First Lieutenant William Charles Fisher (T190910) (USAAF) (Pilot)
Sergeant Owen Donald Lewis (R/55041) (RCAF) (Second Pilot) PoW
Sergeant Raymond Hughes (1808927) (RAFVR) (Flight Engineer)
Flight Sergeant Thomas Walter Pragnell (1219197) (RAFVR) (Air Bomber)
Warrant Officer Raymond Kenneth Saunders (406814) (Mid Upper Gunner)
Flight Sergeant Herbert Albert Turner (18079) (RCAF) (Rear Gunner)

In a later report Flight Sergeant Brudell stated “I contacted the Second Pilot after touching the ground. He had a broken leg. I obtained assistance to move him to a farmhouse. Our clothes were soaked and we were freezing. We were forced to remain in the farmhouse and the Germans picked us up the next morning.”

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, 166/37/275