Flight Lieutenant John Hudson WILKINSON DFC

Service No: 400444
Born: Rutherglen VIC, 18 February 1914
Enlisted in the RAAF: 2 September 1940
Unit: No. 83 Squadron (RAF), RAF Station Coningsby
Awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC)
Died: Air Operations: (No. 83 Squadron Lancaster aircraft PB249), Germany, 30 August 1944, Aged 30 Years
Buried: Unrecovered
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Hudson Hall Wilkinson and Mary Ann Wilkinson, of Rutherglen, Victoria, Australia. Chemist
Roll of Honour: Rutherglen VIC
Remembered: Panel 257, Runnymede Memorial, Surrey UK
Remembered: Panel 132, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT

DFC Citation: Pilot Officer Wilkinson is an air gunner of great ability and determination who has taken part in a large number of operational sorties, many of which has been against some of Germany’s most heavily defended industrial targets. On one occasion in March 1944, when engaged in an attack on Stuttgart, a Junkers 88 attacked his aircraft five times but Pilot Officer Wilkinson, by his accurate directions to his Captain and his coolly aimed return fire, drove off the enemy aircraft in a badly damaged condition. At all times his unwavering devotion to duty and constant alertness has inspired confidence in his crew.

Flight Lieutenant Wilkinson was interned on the Canary Islands on 23 October 1942 when No. 43 Group Wellington aircraft HX775 force landed while on an aircraft delivery flight enroute to Bathurst, Gambia. The crew, none of whom were injured, were returned to the UK soon after.

At 2021 hours on 29 August 1944 Lancaster PB249 took off from Coningsby to attack Konigsberg, Germany. Nothing further was heard from the aircraft after take-off and it did not return to base. Following post war enquiries and investigations, it was established that the aircraft crashed on 30 August 1944 in the vicinity of Zielkeim, 12 miles north west of Konigsberg. Three crew members were killed and five became Prisoners of War.

The crew members of PB249 were:

Sergeant L G Batchelor (1735257) (RAFVR) (Flight Engineer) PoW
Flight Sergeant G W Chesters (636624) (RAF) (Air Gunner) PoW
Flying Officer L J Daniels (170443) (RAF) (Wireless Operator/Air) PoW
Flying Officer W H Pearson (J/21611) (RCAF) (Air Bomber) PoW
Flight Lieutenant Edwin John Clessie Richardson DFM (113496) (RAFVR) (Air Bomber)
Squadron Leader Robert Henry Schofield (120349) (RAFVR) (Navigator)
Squadron Leader E N M Sparks (43633) (RAF) (Pilot) PoW
Flight Lieutenant John Hudson Wilkinson DFC (400444) (Air Gunner)

Flight Sergeant Chester reported that Flight Lieutenant Wilkinson was killed by anti-aircraft fire before the aircraft crashed.

As it was not possible to visit Konigsberg in the Soviet controlled territory of East Prussia to establish the burial places of the three crew members, it was recorded that they had no known graves.


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, 163/178/441

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