SHARKEY Raymond John 402551

LEST WE FORGET

Sergeant Raymond John Bruce SHARKEY

Service No: 402551
Born: Claremont WA, 21 May 1912
Enlisted in the RAAF: 31 March 1941 (at Sydney NSW)
Unit: No. 460 Squadron, RAF Breighton, Yorkshire
Died: Air Operations (No. 460 Squadron Wellington aircraft Z1328), Frisian Islands, 12 July 1942, Aged 30 Years
Buried: Unrecovered
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Raymond John and Edith Florence Sharkey, of Cottesloe, Western Australia.
Roll of Honour: Claremont WA
Remembered: Panel 113, Runnymede Memorial, Surrey
Remembered: Panel 108, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT
Remembered: Cenotaph Undercroft, State War Memorial, Kings Park WA

Sergeant Sharkey was a QANTAS staff member serving with the RAAF.

Date: 12-13 July 1943
Target: Mine Laying
Total Force: Dispatched – 55, Attacking – 44
RAAF Force: No. 460Dispatched – 12, Attacking – 12
Mines Laid: 143
Total Aircraft Lost: 2
RAAF Aircraft Lost: No. 460 – 1

The subsidiary tasks of Bomber Command Nos. 455 and 460 Squadrons continued in March and April 1942 were to dispatch inexperienced crews mainly against lightly-defended French ports, or to drop leaflets over Lille and Paris exhorting French workers to refrain from making war munitions for Germany. These activities were then replaced by an intensive program of mine-laying, by crews not required for the main bomber force raids. No. 455 had always participated in mine-laying sorties, which previously were restricted to squadrons of No. 5 (Hampden) Group, but all groups were now ordered to perform this duty, and the number of mines laid off enemy-occupied coasts increased enormously. Besides replacing the initiation bombing raids, mine-laying was sometimes ordered as the main effort of a squadron on nights when it could be spared from the strategic offensive.

Herington, J. (John) (406545) Air War Against Germany and Italy 1939-1943, Australian War Memorial, Canberra, 1954 – Pages 307-8

Wellington Z1328 took off from RAF Breighton on 12 July 1942 to carry out a mine laying operation in the vicinity of the Frisian Islands off the North West coast of Holland. Nothing was heard from the aircraft after take off and it did not return to base. Twelve aircraft from the squadron took part in the mission. Following post war investigations when no trace of the missing aircraft was found, the names of the missing crew are recorded on the Runnymede Missing Memorial, Surrey, UK.

The crew members of Z1328 were:

Sergeant Thomas David Belford (404950) (Observer)
Sergeant Frederick Charles Brayne (404948) (Second Pilot)
Sergeant Leonard Charles Underwood Dreyer (407844) (Air Gunner)
Sergeant Alan Lipson Moyle (407534) (Pilot)
Sergeant Ronald John Perry (403785) (Wireless Operator Air Gunner)
Sergeant Raymond John Bruce Sharkey (402551) (Observer)

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, 163/161/237

Bibliography:

Firkins, P. C. (Peter Charles) (441386) Strike and Return, Westward Ho Publishing City Beach WA, 1985