WEBB Albert Ernest 406272

LEST WE FORGET

Flying Officer Albert Ernest William WEBB

Service No: 406272
Born: Canterbury England, 21 February 1913
Enlisted in the RAAF: 7 October 1940 (at Perth WA)
Unit: No. 460 Squadron, RAF Breighton, Yorkshire
Died: Air Operations (No. 460 Squadron Wellington aircraft Z1470), Netherlands, 3 July 1942, Aged 29 Years
Buried: Unrecovered
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Mrs. E. L. Webb, of Cottesloe, Western Australia.
Roll of Honour: Unknown
Remembered: Panel 111, Runnymede Memorial, Surrey UK
Remembered: Panel 108, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT
Remembered: Cenotaph Undercroft, State War Memorial, Kings Park WA

Date: 2-3 July 1942
Target: Bremen
Total Force: Dispatched – 325, Attacking – 263
RAAF Force: No. 460 Dispatched – 18, Attacking – 14
Tons of Bombs Dropped: 511
Total Aircraft Lost: 12
RAAF Aircraft Lost: No. 460 – 2

Strong defences, coupled with heavy cloud extending upwards to 20,000 feet, also spoilt the last of this series of raids on Bremen during the night of 2nd-3rd July. Most of the RAAF crews were unable to identify the town, and Squadron Leader J W E Leighton (1) (RAF) of No. 460 who himself bombed from beneath the cloud, reported that he saw fires and explosions up to ten miles outside the city area . Photographic evidence showed little fresh damage, except at Delmenhorst, nine miles south-west of Bremen, where textile factories already had been heavily damaged by fire during the raid of 25th-26th June.

(1) Squadron Leader John William Edward Leighton MID (40053) (RAF) (Pilot and Aircraft Captain) was lost on 26 July 1942 in No. 460 Squadron Wellington Z 1462.

Extract from Herington, J. (John) (406545) Air War Against Germany and Italy 1939-1943, Australian War Memorial, Canberra, 1954 – Pages 315-7

Wellington Z1470 took off from RAF Breighton at 2331 hours on the 2 July 1942 to attack Bremen, Germany. Bomb Load was 1 x 4000 lb (pound) (1,800 kg) bomb, 48 x 30 lb (14 kg) and 540 x 4 lb (2 kg) incendiaries. Nothing was heard from the aircraft after take off and it did not return to base. Eighteen aircraft from the Squadron took part in the raid. Post war searches could not locate the aircraft or the other missing members of the crew.

The crew members of Z1470 were:

Sergeant John Douglas Hancocks (401237) (Wireless Operator Air Gunner)
Flying Officer Charles Roland Lark (403409) (Observer) PoW, Discharged from the RAAF: 22 September 1944
Sergeant Allan Edwin McCrae (406444) (Wireless Operator Air Gunner)
Flying Officer Albert Ernest William Webb (406272) (Observer)
Sergeant Alexander Frederick Whittick (404844) (Pilot)

Flying Officer Lark later reported “The aircraft was badly damaged by an enemy night fighter over Germany. I was wounded during the combat and on calling other members of the crew received no reply. The aircraft appeared to be diving and out of control with the fuselage on fire. I baled out landed in a lake and swam ashore. The Germans informed me later that the rest of the crew members were dead.”

No. 460 Squadron lost Wellington Z1381 (Flight Sergeant Arthur Maxwell Johnston (404784) (Pilot)) on 3 July 1942.

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, 163/63/156

Bibliography:

Firkins, P. C. (Peter Charles) (441386) Strike and Return, Westward Ho Publishing City Beach WA, 1985