LEST WE FORGET

Flight Sergeant Charles Frederick WALTERS

Service No: 435468
Born: Ipswich QLD, 18 April 1925
Enlisted in the RAAF: 21 May 1943
Unit: No. 463 Squadron, RAF Waddington, Lincolnshire
Died: Air Operations: (No. 463 Squadron Lancaster aircraft PB695), France, 5 January 1945, Aged 19 Years
Buried: Unrecovered
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Charles Frederick and Josephine Walters, of Ipswich, Queensland, Australia
Roll of Honour: Ipswich QLD
Remembered: Panel 284, Runnymede Memorial, Surrey UK
Remembered: Panel 109, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT

No. 5 Group on 4th-5th January had taken advantage of local weather conditions to bomb Royan where the well-entrenched garrison had for months repulsed all efforts of French irregular troops investing the port. There were fears that this port, together with La Rochelle, St Nazaire and Lorient, all similarly garrisoned as enemy “coastal fortresses”, might again achieve some significance in the U-boat war. While Royan held out the Allies were denied free use of Bordeaux and the Gironde estuary. The bombing attack was well concentrated, but most of the bombs fell harmlessly on massive concrete fortifications and shelters. In the absence of a coordinated ground assault it failed therefore to do anything more than temporarily daze the defenders. One Lancaster of No. 463 was shot down and another of No. 467 was abandoned by its crew who parachuted safely after a collision over the target.

Extract from Herington, J. (John) (406545) Air War Over Europe 1944-1945, Australian War Memorial, Canberra, 1963 – Page 396

Lancaster PB 695 took off from RAF Waddington at 0041 hours on the morning of 5 January 1945 to destroy an enemy garrison at Royan, France. The bomb load 1 x 4000 lb (pound) (1,800 kg), 16 x 500 lb (225 kg). 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 raid and one of these PB 695 failed to return. It was later established that the aircraft came down in the target area and all the crew were killed.
A Missing Research and Enquiry team report stated “it was thought that the aircraft collided with another Lancaster PB617 and crashed.”

The crew members of PB695 were:

Flight Sergeant Sidney Arthur Brown (437400) (Navigator)
Flight Sergeant Charles Leslie Fincham (425630) (Bomb Aimer)
Sergeant Ernest Albert Freeman (2218746) (RAFVR) (Flight Engineer)
Flying Officer Jack Milne (418292) (Pilot)
Flight Sergeant John Francis Prince (424635) (Mid Upper Gunner)
Warrant Officer William Alfred Simpson (428367) (Wireless Operator Air)
Flight Sergeant Charles Frederick Walters (435468) (Rear Gunner)

No. 467 Squadron lost Lancaster PA169 (Flying Officer Maurice George Bache DSO (434095) (Pilot)) on 5 January 1945.

No. 106 Squadron (RAF) lost Lancaster PB617 (Flying Officer Andrew Hawkins Scott (205859) (Pilot)) on 4 January 1945.

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, 166/43/1064