WHITFORD Alan Pluis 406587

LEST WE FORGET

Flight Lieutenant Allan Pluis WHITFORD DFC

Service No: 406587
Born: Perth WA, 23 February 1921
Enlisted in the RAAF: 3 February 1941
Unit: No. 83 Squadron (RAF), RAF Coningsby, Lincolnshire
Awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC), 10 December 1943 (Citation Title: No. 467 Squadron)
Died: Air Operations (No. 83 Squadron Lancaster aircraft ND818), France, 9 May 1944, Aged 23 Years
Buried: Lanveoc Communal Cemetery, Finistere, France
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Percy Russell Whitford and Hilda Grace Whitford, of Rivervale, Western Australia.
Roll of Honour: Rivervale WA
Remembered: Panel 132, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT
Remembered: Cenotaph Undercroft, State War Memorial, Kings Park WA

The award of DFC to the then Pilot Officer Whitford was a General Citation promulgated in the London Gazette of 10th December 1943, Page 5381.

The campaign against German airfields on northern France was initially made to destroy maintenance, repair and servicing facilities rather than to block the aerodromes by craters which could be speedily filled in. The only attack of this type made by RAAF squadrons was on 8th-9th May when Nos. 463 and 467 provided more than half a force of 40 Lancasters which attacked Lanveoc-Poulmic aerodrome near Brest. The bombing was done from heights as low as 6,000 feet and, although several aircraft were damaged by gunfire, only the aircraft piloted by Flight Lieutenant Whitford of No. 83 Squadron was shot down. The result of this attack, as confirmed by later reconnaissance photographs, revealed five hangars and nine barrack buildings destroyed and five oil storage sheds damaged, and this target was put at the bottom of the list of those still requiring attention.

Extract from Herington, J. (John) (406545) Air War Over Europe 1944-1945, Australian War Memorial, Canberra, 1963 – Page 21

Lancaster ND818 took off from RAF Coningsby at 2116 hours on the night of 8/9th May 1944, detailed to bomb the Lanveoc-Poulmic airfield and seaplane base at Brest. Nothing was heard from the aircraft after take off and it failed to return to base. The aircraft was hit by anti-aircraft fire and disintegrated over the target area. All the crew were killed.

The crew members of ND818 were:

Flight Sergeant Leonard William John Arnold (1330980) (RAFVR) (Rear Gunner)
Warrant Officer Dennis Harold James Cross 91313572) (RAFVR) (Mid Upper Gunner)
Pilot Officer Robert Joseph Dobbyn (414211) (Air Bomber)
Pilot Officer Newman Jack Higgins (420192) (Wireless Air Gunner)
Flight Lieutenant Watson Temple Loftus DFC (420573) (Navigator)
Sergeant Harold George Millard (165720) (RAFVR) (Flight Engineer)
Flight Lieutenant Allan Pluis Whitford DFC (406587) (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 Veteran’s Affairs On-Line WWII Nominal Roll
National Archives of Australia On-Line Record A705, 166/43/662

Bibliography:

Gaston, Bruce DFC (406646), Harry Horner DFC OAM (406595), Raymond Storer (406666) (Editors), Aircrew for the Duration: of and by members of RAAF EATS Courses 10, 11, 12 & 13, Gaston Horner and Storer, Nedlands WA, 1990