LEST WE FORGET

Flying Officer Keith Cameron WATHEN

Service No: 401004
Born: Kew VIC, 13 January 1920
Enlisted in the RAAF: 7 December 1940
Unit: No. 415 Squadron (RCAF), Detachment RAF Station Thorney Island
Died: Air Operations: (No. 415 Squadron Hampden aircraft P1177), off the Dutch Coast, 18 May 1943, Aged 23 Years
Buried: Kiel War Cemetery, Schleswig-Holstein, Germany
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Louis Leslie and Hilda Rose Wathen, of Kew, Victoria, Australia
Roll of Honour: Kew VIC
Remembered: Panel 133, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT

At 1936 hours on 17 May 1943, Hampden P1177 took off from Thorney Island detailed to carry out a shipping strike off the Dutch coast. The aircraft reached the point of the strike after midnight local time, but thereafter its movements were unknown, and the aircraft failed to return to base. On the 22 July 1943, the body of Flying Officer Wathen was recovered from the sea at St Peter, in the district of Eiderstadt. The other three crew members have no known grave, and their names are commemorated on the Memorial to the Missing, Runnymede, UK.

The crew members of P1177 were:

Flying Officer John Maxwell Crawford (120922) (RAFVR) (Navigator)
Sergeant Jabez Harold Steward (1291128) (RAFVR) (Wireless Air Gunner)
Flight Sergeant Ian Murray Sykes (413786) (RNZAF) (Wireless Air Gunner)
Flying Officer Keith Cameron Wathen (401004) (Pilot)

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 Veterans’ Affairs On-Line WWII Nominal Roll
National Archives of Australia On-Line Record A705, 166/43/197

Bibliography:

Winter, V.A. (Vincent Adams) (408547) Noble Six Hundred: the story of the Empire Air Training Scheme with special reference to Australians who trained in Southern Rhodesia, V.A. Winter Brighton VIC 3186