TREWERN William Charles 415197

LEST WE FORGET

Pilot Officer William Charles TREWERN

Service No: 415197
Born: Perth WA, 13 February 1918
Enlisted in the RAAF: 21 July 1941
Unit: No. 466 Squadron, RAF Leconfield, Yorkshire
Died: Air Operations (No. 466 Squadron Halifax aircraft ZW369), Germany, 18 March 1944, Aged 26 Years
Buried: Durnbach War Cemetery, Bad Tolz, Bayern, Germany
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Robert and Euphemia Emily Trewern; husband of Gertrude Mary Trewern, of Perth, Western Australia.
Roll of Honour: Perth WA
Remembered: Panel 110, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT
Remembered: Cenotaph Undercroft, State War Memorial, Kings Park WA

Date: 18-19 March 1944
Target: Frankfurt
Total Force: Dispatched – 846, Attacking – 769
RAAF Force: No. 460 Dispatched – 21, Attacking – 21; No. 463 – 18, 16; No. 466 – 12, 10; No. 467 – 22, 22
Tons of Bombs Dropped: 3,086
Total Aircraft Lost: 22
RAAF Aircraft Lost: No. 463 – 1; No. 466 – 3

When Bomber Command returned to Frankfurt-on-Main on 18th-19th March 1944, however, it carried a record bomb load. No. 5 Group alone dropped over 1,000 tons of bombs and No. 467 earned special praise in creating a record for a two-flight squadron in dispatching twenty-two aircraft carrying 118 tons of bombs. As cover for this vast air armada a diversion was made by 100 aircraft which laid mines near Heligoland, and these machines pre-occupied the enemy fighters from northern Germany until it was too late for them to catch up with the bomber stream. Local fighter defences were active over Frankfurt-on-Main but although four Lancasters of No. 467 were intercepted each escaped without damage. Despite thick haze the Pathfinder markers were easily seen and checked by H2S which gave a good picture of the target. Australians were particularly careful to avoid dummy target indicators, which were again in evidence, as well as decoy fires blazing in open country six miles north of the city. The only hindrance to good bombing was an undue concentration of aircraft over the target, so that, unable to manoeuvre, some RAAF crews had to bomb outer markers with the result that the attack strayed to the east of the city centre and the largest concentration of bombs ultimately occurred in the river-dock areas.

Extract from Herington, J. (John) (406545) Air War Against Germany and Italy 1939-1943, Australian War Memorial, Canberra, 1954 – Pages 651-2

Halifax ZW369 took off from RAF Leconfield at 1931 hours on the night of 18/19th March 1944 to bomb Frankfurt, Germany. Twelve aircraft from the Squadron took part in the raid and three of these including ZW369 failed to return. Post war enquiries and investigations by a Missing Research and Enquiry Unit reported that the aircraft crashed near Pfungstadt on 18 March 1944 presumably as a result of enemy action. Pfungstadt is approximately 5 miles south west of Darmstadt, Germany.

The crew members of ZW369 were:

Flight Lieutenant Lancelot Douglas Curnow (286104) (Pilot)
Sergeant W Forrester (1546290) (RAFVR) (Rear Gunner) PoW
Pilot Officer Richard Henry Garbutt (172928) (RAFVR) (Wireless Operator Air Gunner)
Sergeant Ernest Thomas Stallard (1609434) (RAFVR) (Flight Engineer)
Pilot Officer Stanley Ralph Taylor (160846) (RAFVR) (Navigator)
Pilot Officer William Charles Trewern (415197) (Bomb Aimer)
Flight Sergeant Leslie Clarence Williamson (424811) (Mid Upper Gunner)

Sergeant Forrester reported “The Germans told me that five of the crew got out and one body was in the aircraft. They gave me the names of all of them with the exception of Pilot Officer Taylor. So he must have been the one left in the aircraft. The rest got out but their chutes did not open apparently. I was told by a German doctor that I could see where they were buried but was moved before I could walk. Resting place about 6 kms west of Darmstadt.”

No. 463 Squadron lost Lancaster EE191 (Pilot Officer James William Gardner (1043255) (413977) (Pilot)) on 18/19 March 1944.

No. 466 Squadron lost Halifax HX231 (Flight Sergeant John Edward Richards (415357) (Pilot)) on 18/19 March 1944.

No. 466 Squadron lost Halifax LV827 (Pilot Officer Malcolm Douglas Watson (420314) (Pilot)) on 18/19 March 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, 1660/40/160