STUART Raymond Clarence 406702

LEST WE FORGET

Flight Sergeant Raymond Clarence STUART

Service No: 406702
Born: Fremantle WA, 9 May 1921
Enlisted in the RAAF: 3 March 1941
Unit: No. 467 Squadron, RAF Bottesford, Wiltshire
Died: Air Operations (No. 467 Squadron Lancaster aircraft ED780), France, 17 April 1943, Aged 21 Years
Buried: Poix-de-Picardie Churchyard, Somme, France
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Clarence Gordon and Rosalie Frances Stuart, of Fremantle, Western Australia.
Roll of Honour: Fremantle WA
Remembered: Panel 111, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT
Remembered: Cenotaph Undercroft, State War Memorial, Kings Park WA

Date: 16-17 April 1943
Target: Pilsen
Total Force: Dispatched – 327, Attacking – 242
RAAF Force: No. 460 Dispatched – 17, Attacking – 15; No. 467 – 17, 15
Tons of Bombs Dropped: 617
Total Aircraft Lost: 37
RAAF Aircraft Lost: No. 460 – 3; No. 467 – 2

This diversion (attack on Mannheim, Germany) was indeed more successful than the main effort because Australian and other crews reported navigational difficulties in locating distant Pilsen. One Australian bombed Nuremberg, two others searched over a wide area without finding the Pathfinder flares and then set course for base, attacking Erlangen and Koblenz en route. Night fighters harried the Lancasters which found that the bright moonlight was hazard outweighing the expected advantage of easier navigation, and this view appears substantiated by the heavy losses. To add to these disappointments the Pathfinder flares were misplaced and most of the bombs fell on a small town south-west of Pilsen.

Extract from Herington, J. (John) (406545) Air War Against Germany and Italy 1939-1943, Australian War Memorial, Canberra, 1954 – Pages 497-8

Lancaster ED780 took off from RAF Bottesford at 2133 hours on the night of 16/17 April 1943 to bomb the Skoda Works at Pilsen, Czechoslavia. Nothing was heard from the aircraft after take off and it did not return to base. Sixteen aircraft from the Squadron took part in the mission and two of these including ED 780 failed to return.

The crew members of ED780 were:

Sergeant Ronald Claude Anderson (NZ415980) (RNZAF) (Wireless Operator Air Gunner)
Flight Sergeant Peter Leonard Boase (405819) (Mid Upper Gunner)
Sergeant Ronald Joseph Johnson (1453416) (RAFVR) (Rear Gunner)
Sergeant Thomas Martin (636646) (RAF) (Flight Engineer)
Sergeant Albert Frederick McDonald (1338233) (RAFVR) (Bomb Aimer)
Flying Officer Brian Robert McNair DFC (80418) (RAFVR) (Navigator)
Flight Sergeant Raymond Clarence Stuart (406702) (Pilot)

No. 460 Squadron lost Lancaster W4331 (Flight Sergeant Ian Gordon Miller (411165) (Pilot)) on 17 April 1943.

No. 460 Squadron lost Lancaster aircraft W4942 (Flight Sergeant John Norman Williams (416135) (Pilot)) on 16 April 1943.

No, 460 Squadron lost Lancaster ED711 (Pilot Officer David Edward White DFM (408896) (Pilot)) on 17 April 1943.

During the diversion attack on Mannheim, No. 466 Squadron lost Wellingtons HE501 (Pilot Officer Colin Foley Tozer (406585) (Pilot)) on 16 April 1943.

No. 467 Squadron lost Lancaster ED651 (Sergeant Bruce Craig Wilson (408545) (Pilot)) on 17 April 1943.

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, 166/38/98

Bibliography:

Gaston, Bruce DFC (406646), Harry Horner DFC OAM (406595), Raymond Storer (406666) (Editors), Aircrew for the Duration: of and by members of RAAF EATS Courses 10, 11, 12 & 13, Gaston Horner and Storer, Nedlands WA, 1990