SPROGE Richard Henry 427266

LEST WE FORGET

Sergeant Richard Henry SPROGE

Service No: 427266
Born: Jardee WA, 30 September 1921
Enlisted in the RAAF: 15 June 1942
Unit: No. 2 (Observer) Advanced Flying Unit RAF
Died: Aircraft Accident (No. 2 (Observer) Advanced Flying Unit Avro Anson aircraft MG385), Northern Ireland, 27 March 1944, Aged 22 Years
Buried: Killead Presbyterian Churchyard, County Antrim, UK
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Richard Peter and Claudia Sproge, of Manjimup, Western Australia.
Roll of Honour: Manjimup WA
Remembered: Panel 130, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT
Remembered: Cenotaph Undercroft, State War Memorial, Kings Park WA

On 14 July 1943, Sergeant Sprogue survived the loss of Anson DJ497 near Wagga Wagga, New South Wales, in which Leading Aircraftman John Gregory Thomson (423564) was killed.

On the 27th March 1944, Anson MG385 on a night non-operational navigation flight, crashed at 0120 hours at Bowhill Farm, County Antrim Northern Ireland. Sergeant Sproge was killed in the crash. Flight Sergeant Britt who was uninjured in the crash, later reported; “At 0021 we received a
diversionary message from Ramsay instructing us to land at Bishop Court. The Pilot and Nav were informed, and QDMs (magnetic headings to destination) were obtained from Bishop Court High Frequency Direction Finding Station. A short time after that one of the engines cut, I think it was the starboard. The Pilot increased power from the other one, but a few seconds later that one failed. The Pilot ordered abandon aircraft at a height of about 2,500 feet. The second WOP was first to leave followed by the Nav and then myself. On the way down I saw the aircraft with its landing lights on and guessed the Pilot was looking for a place to force land.” An Inquiry into the accident found that “both outboard cocks were in the “ON” position, both outboard fuel tanks were empty. Both Inboard tanks contained at least 15 gallons of fuel. Both cocks were OFF. It was considered that the engines failed because of shortage of fuel.”

The crew members of MG385 were:

Flight Sergeant J Britt (1222649) (RAFVR) (Staff Wireless Operator) Uninjured
Flight Sergeant Jack Graeme Breathour (432100) (Student Wireless Operator) Uninjured, Discharged from the RAAF: 12 September 1945
Pilot Officer R C Gillespie (138700) (RAFVR) (Pilot) Injured
Sergeant J Pickaunce (R/168249) (RCAF) (Air Bomber) Injured
Sergeant Richard Henry Sproge (427266) (Navigator)

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, 166/38/466