SHOESMITH George Arthur 427560

LEST WE FORGET

Flight Sergeant George Arthur SHOESMITH

Service No: 427560
Born: Bridgetown WA, 16 October 1923
Enlisted in the RAAF: 19 July 1942
Unit: No. 467 Squadron, RAF Waddington, Lincolnshire
Died: Air Operations (No. 467 Squadron Lancaster aircraft LM267), Germany, 30 August 1944, Aged 20 Years
Buried: Unrecovered
CWGC Additional Information: Son of William and Charlotte Annie Shoesmith, of Boyup Brook, Western Australia.
Roll of Honour: Boyup Brook WA
Remembered: Panel 261, Runnymede Memorial, Surrey UK
Remembered: Panel 111, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT
Remembered: Cenotaph Undercroft, State War Memorial, Kings Park WA

The mining of the Stettin canal (on 16/17 August 1944) and the bombing of the city temporarily immobilised the port but it was realised that the Germans would take energetic steps to reopen this vital supply centre. Accordingly on 29th-30th August No. 460 contributed 24 to a force of 403 Lancasters with a predominantly incendiary load sent to burn out as much of Stettin as possible. Despite the loss of 23 aircraft the raid was successful and additional large areas of the town and dock area were damaged. Meanwhile No. 5 Group, which had hit the eastern sector of Konigsberg and laid mines in the port on 26th-27th August, again struck at this target on 29th-30th. As at Stettin the same night the bombing was successful but enemy defences, in particular fighters, were active, and 5 out of 39 aircraft from Nos. 463 and 467 failed to return.

Extract from Herington, J. (John) (406545) Air War Over Europe 1944-1945, Australian War Memorial, Canberra, 1963 – Page 296

Lancaster LM267 took off from RAF Waddington at 2038 hours on the night of 29/30th August 1944 to bomb Konigsberg, Russia. Bomb load 1 x 2000 lb (pound) (900 kg) bomb and 12 x J clusters. Nothing was heard from the aircraft after take off and it did not return to base. Nineteen aircraft from the Squadron took part in the raid and three of these including LM 267 failed to return.

The crew members of LM267 were:

Sergeant D J Andrews (1636735) (RAFVR) (Flight Engineer) PoW
Flying Officer Thomas Norman Dinsdale (424997) (Bomb Aimer) PoW, Discharged from the RAAF: 8 November 1945
Flight Sergeant Maurice John Mahar (417590) (Air Gunner)
Flight Sergeant Mervyn George Muirhead (427136) (Navigator) PoW, Discharged from the RAAF: 12 October 1945
Flying Officer John Arthur Richards (427149) (Pilot) PoW, Discharged from the RAAF: 28 November 1945
Flight Sergeant George Arthur Shoesmith (427560) (Wireless Operator Air Gunner)
Flight Sergeant Ronald George Stockdill (427957) (Air Gunner) PoW, Discharged from the RAAF: 5 March 1946

In a later report Flying Officer Richards stated “The aircraft was coned (illuminated by search lights) at 8000 feet and hit several time by flak with the port inner engine on fire. Ordered crew ‘jump, jump’ but not acknowledged. Bomb Aimer, Navigator, Engineer and Rear Gunner baled out before me at approx 3,500 feet. Aircraft very difficult to control and on fire. Aircraft crashed approximately 30 miles west south west of Konigsberg. Captured on 2/9/44 with Muirhead. We were looking for water around an apparently disused house – an old man spoke to us and we pretended to be Italians. He gave us water. Luftwaffe guard stopped us 2 miles further on. He apparently had been warned by the old man. Released in May 1st 1945 when Germans left camp ahead of advancing Russian units.”

Flying Officer Dinsdale reported “Aircraft hit by several bursts of Flak on way out of target. Captain ordered ‘jump jump’ but did not hear any acknowledgements. First out were Nav and Engineer behind me. Rear Gunner went out about the same time Aircraft out of control and on fire. Crashed on Baltic coast north of Konigsberg. Five baled out. Unsure about WOP and Mid Upper gunner. They were unable to open the rear escape hatch. Captured by Germans on 30/8/44. Released by Russians 1st May 1945.

No. 463 Squadron lost Lancaster LL790 (Flying Officer Morris James Roe (425809) (Pilot)) on 30 August 1944.

No. 463 Squadron lost Lancaster aircraft PD258 (Warrant Officer Noel Charles Barrett (409364) (Navigator)) on 30 August 1944.

No. 467 Squadron lost Lancaster LM583 (Flying Officer David John Sandell (423334) (Pilot)) on 30 August 1944.

No. 467 Squadron lost Lancaster LM237 (Flight Lieutenant Dennis Boden Tattersall (117655) (RAFVR) (Pilot)) on 30 August 1944.

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, 166/37/528

Bibliography:

Walley, B (Brian) (Editor) Silk and Barbed Wire, RAF Ex-Prisoners of War Association (Australian Division), Sage Pages Warwick WA 6024, 2000 – By Lancaster to Koenigsberg by Arthur Richards, Page 286