Flight Sergeant Vincent Gregory TANKARD

Service No: 410269
Born: Mathoura NSW, 1 January 1920
Enlisted in the RAAF: 5 December 1941 (at Melbourne VIC)
Unit: No. 83 Squadron (RAF), RAF Station Wyton
Died: Air Operations: (No. 83 Squadron Lancaster aircraft JB344), near Wyton, 17 December 1943, Aged 23 Years
Buried: Cambridge City Cemetery, Cambridgeshire
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Clarence and Eileen Tankard, of Footscray, Victoria, Australia
Roll of Honour: Footscray VIC
Remembered: Panel 131, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT

At 1639 hours on the night of 16 December 1943 Lancaster JB344 took off from Wyton detailed to bomb Berlin. Nothing was heard from the aircraft after take-off and it crashed when returning to base. Flight Sergeant Tankard was killed in the crash and all the others were injured.

The crew members of JB344 were:

Sergeant H Day (1677878) (RAFVR) (Flight Engineer)
Flight Sergeant Lawrence Edward Faithorn (422471) (Mid Upper Gunner) Killed on Air Operations: 14 August 1944
Sergeant John Henderson (1075987) (RAFVR) (Wireless Operator Air) Killed on Air Operations: 14 August 1944
Flight Sergeant R A Lindsay BEM (392047) (RNZAF) (Navigator)
Pilot Officer Francis Eric McLean DFC (413091) (Pilot) Killed on Air Operations: 14 August 1944
Sergeant C C Reid (1459932) (RAFVR) (Rear Gunner)
Flight Sergeant Vincent Gregory Tankard (410269) (Air Bomber)

Pilot Officer McLean later reported “we returned from the mission at approximately 0045 hours, in the neighbourhood of the RAF Wyton aerodrome over cloud with the SRA and Gee equipment unserviceable plus the TR 1196 receiver. Control was contacted by means of the Marconi equipment and a QFE obtained and set on the altimeter. Permission to land was obtained and I came through the cloud and crossed over the drome at 200 feet from south to north. While crossing I noticed a green flashed for me to land, and I commenced a left hand circuit preparatory to landing. Our height was 200 feet. I selected wheels down and was about to increase the engine revs when I noticed the ground. I attempted to level the aircraft laterally and gain height. The aircraft struck the ground slightly port wing low. I do not remember anything further.”

Flight Sergeant Lindsay who broke an arm in the crash, still managed to pull some of the injured from the burning wreck and was awarded the BEM (Military Division).


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, 166/39/185

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