WASHBOURNE Gordon 427175

LEST WE FORGET

Flight Sergeant Gordon WASHBOURNE

Service No: 427175
Born: Perth WA, 4 November 1923
Enlisted in the RAAF: 24 May 1942
Unit: No. 115 Squadron (RAF), RAF Witchford, Cambridgeshire
Died: Ground Operations (Shot) (following the loss of No. 115 Squadron Lancaster aircraft HK548 on 8 June 1944), France, 8 June 1944, Aged 20 Years
Buried: Unrecovered
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Frederick and Florence Washbourne, of Perth, Western Australia.
Roll of Honour: Perth WA
Remembered: Panel 262, Runnymede Memorial, Surrey UK
Remembered: Panel 132, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT
Remembered: Cenotaph Undercroft, State War Memorial, Kings Park WA

Lancaster HK548 of 115 Squadron took off from RAF Station Witchford on the night of 7/8th June 1944 to carry out an attack against Massy Paliseau, Chevreusse, France. Nothing was heard from the aircraft after take off and it did not return to base. Two crew members were killed and five evaded capture.

The crew members of HK548 were:

Pilot Officer Eric Aubrey Law (422207) (Pilot) Evaded Capture, Discharged from the RAAF: 25 September 1945
Sergeant P Murphy (1004461) (RAF) Evaded Capture
Sergeant Harry Newton (1896256) (RAFVR)
Flight Sergeant John Roland Nurse (427540) Evaded Capture, Discharged from the RAAF: 3 October 1947
Sergeant J E Parkinson (1479296) (RAFVR) Evaded Capture
Sergeant W Russell (1800836) (RAFVR) Evaded Capture
Flight Sergeant Gordon Washbourne (427175) (Navigator Bomb Aimer) Baled out, shot while evading capture

In a statement Flight Sergeant Nurse said “the aircraft was attacked by two fighters when commencing the run into the target. The port engine caught fire but was extinguished. The starboard inner engine was also hit and a fire started in the starboard wing. Efforts to extinguish were ineffective. The abandon order was given. I baled out at 6,000 feet. I later made contact with Pilot Officer Law and he informed me that Sergeant Parkinson, Sergeant Russell and Flight Sergeant Washbourne had baled out.” Pilot Officer Law later stated that all the crew had baled out.
German documents recorded that Flight Sergeant Washbourne had been shot as he tried to escape capture on 8 June 1944. No trace of his grave has been found.

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, 166/43/703