Flying Officer Thomas STEPHENS

Service No: 418036
Born: Brunswick VIC, 24 April 1912
Enlisted in the RAAF: 24 April 1942
Unit: No. 518 Squadron (RAF), RAF Station Tiree
Died: Aircraft Accident (No. 518 Squadron Halifax aircraft LL296), Scotland, 16 August 1944, Aged 32 Years
Buried: Soroby Burial Ground, Isle of Tiree, Argyllshire
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Thomas Edward and Emily Stephens; husband of Eleanor Betsy Stephens, of East St. Kilda, Victoria, Australia
Roll of Honour: Brunswick VIC
Remembered: Panel 130, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT

On the 16 August 1944, Halifax LL296 was detailed to carry out a non-operational air test. The aircraft collided with Halifax LL186 also on an air test and both aircraft crashed at 1325 hours and all on board both aircraft were killed.

The crew members of LL296 were:

Pilot Officer Frank Bradley (J/89746) (RCAF) (Wireless Air Gunner)
Warrant Officer Philip Heslop Milne (1325513) (RAFVR) (Wireless Air Gunner)
Pilot Officer Mortimer Regenstreif (J/89747) (RCAF) (Wireless Air Gunner)
Flying Officer Leonard Revilliod (153375) (RAFVR) (Second Pilot)
Flying Officer Thomas Stephens (418036) (Navigator Bomb Aimer)
Sergeant Roy Stevenson (1816730) (RAFVR) (Meteorological Officer)
Pilot Officer Neil Douglas Thomson Turner (173971) (RAFVR) (Pilot)
Sergeant Kenneth Williams (2209196) (RAFVR) (Flight Engineer)

The crew members of LL186 were

Flight Sergeant Ronald Victor Cresswell (1293794) (RAFVR) (Wireless Air Gunner)
Warrant Officer William Arthur Graham (421205) (Wireless Air Gunner)
Sergeant Arthur Marshall (1037484) (RAFVR) (Flight Engineer)
Flying Officer Kenneth Oates (152366) (RAFVR) (Navigator)
Flying Officer Kenneth William Organ (172532) (RAFVR) (Pilot)
Flying Officer John Alexander Peterson (421385) (Wireless Air Gunner)
Pilot Officer Barry Waltham Smith (176409) (RAFVR) (Second Pilot)
Sergeant Peter Geoffrey Smith (1821720) (RAFVR) (Meteorological Officer)

An inquiry into the accident by the Flight Commander, Flight ‘A’ stated that: “it would appear that Halifax LL296 “S” having been given permission by radio to land, was flying in an upwind direction above the runway in use in order to set the directional Gyro. Having reached a point approximately 1,000 yards from the end of the runway, LL186 “M” broke cloud dead ahead, and then banked violently to starboard but the starboard wing of “”S” collided with the port wing of “M”. Both aircraft burst into flames on impact, the fragment falling to the north and south of the island of Loch. The weather conditions at the time were 5/10ths cloud at 300 feet. Visibility was 7 miles with a cloud base of 10/10ths at 1000 feet.”


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, 166/38/652

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