LEST WE FORGET

Sergeant Benjamin Watson SHEARER

Service No: 407255
Born: Adelaide SA, 6 September 1915
Enlisted in the RAAF: 17 August 1940
Unit: No. 69 Squadron (RAF), RAF Station Luqa, Malta
Died: Air Operations (No. 69 Squadron Wellington aircraft HX471), Sicily, 8 January 1943, Aged 27 Years
Buried: Catania War Cemetery, Sicily
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Murray Darwin Shearer and Lucy Marie Shearer, of Mannum, South Australia
Roll of Honour: Mannum SA
Remembered: Panel 130, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT
Remembered: World War II Honour Roll, National War Memorial of SA, North Terrace, Adelaide

Wellington HX471 took off from Luqa at 0620 hours on 8 January 1943, detailed to carry out a shipping strike. Nothing was heard from the aircraft and it failed to return to base. Later it was discovered that all the crew members had been killed.

The crew members of HX471 were:

Flight Lieutenant John Francombe (83117) (RAFVR) (Radio Operator)
Pilot Officer Allan Thomas Gell (402440) (Observer)
Warrant Officer Leonard Courtney Laver (400228) (Pilot)
Flight Sergeant Eric Frank Saggers (404425) (Wireless Air Gunner)
Sergeant Benjamin Watson Shearer (407255) (Second Pilot)
Flight Sergeant David Alexander Smith (404414) (Wireless Air Gunner)

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, 166/37/5

Bibliography:

Ilbery, P.L.T. (Peter Leslie Thomas) (422957) Hatching an Air Force: 2SFTS, 5SFTS, 1BFTS Uranquinty and Wagga Wagga, Banner Books Maryborough QLD 4650, 2002