LEST WE FORGET

Pilot Officer Vernon Rippon SHIELD

Service No: 428055
Born: Huon TAS, 20 December 1915
Enlisted in the RAAF: 9 October 1942
Unit: No. 248 Squadron (RAF), RAF Station Banff
Died: Air Operations (No. 248 Squadron Mosquito aircraft PZ346), off the Norwegian Coast, 7 December 1944, Aged 28 Years
Buried: Unrecovered
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Raymond John and Grace Lillian Shield; husband of Lynne Boyd Shield, of Newtown, Tasmania, Australia
Roll of Honour: Hobart TAS
Remembered: Panel 259, Runnymede Memorial, Surrey UK
Remembered: Panel 130, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT

On the afternoon of 7 December 1944 Mosquito PZ346 took off from Banff flying in a formation of four Squadron aircraft, detailed to attack shipping in Alesund Harbour, Norway. The formation overshot the Harbour and were turning over Gessen airfield to go back to make an attack, when 15 to 20 ME 109s intercepted and attacked. Two Mosquitoes including PZ346 did not return to base from this mission, and it was assumed that they had been shot down in the ensuing combat. It was reported that one aircraft had crashed into the sea and the other one had one engine on fire. Following post war enquiries and investigations, it was recorded in 1949 that the missing crew members had lost their lives at sea.

The crew members of PZ346 were:

Pilot Officer Vernon Rippon Shield (428055) (Navigator)
Flying Officer Kenneth Cecil Wing (J/23429) (RCAF) (Pilot)

The second Mosquito aircraft’s crew members were:

Flying Officer William Nathan Cosman DFC (J/23397) (RCAF)
Flying Officer Leslie Morris Freedman (152972) (RAFVR)

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, 166/37/649