WITHERS Kenneth Fred 406893

LEST WE FORGET

Pilot Officer Kenneth Fred WITHERS

Service No: 406893
Born: Fremantle WA, 26 August 1919
Enlisted in the RAAF: 28 February 1941
Unit: No. 78 Squadron (RAF), RAF Breighton, Yorkshire
Died: Air Operations (No. 78 Squadron Halifax aircraft LW517), France, 14 March 1944, Aged 24 Years
Buried: Le Mans West Cemetery, Sarthe, France
CWGC Additional Information: Son of George Frederick and Mary Withers, of Kirup, Western Australia.
Roll of Honour: Kirup WA
Remembered: Panel 132, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT
Remembered: Cenotaph Undercroft, State War Memorial, Kings Park WA

Halifax LW517 took off from RAF Breighton at 2241 hours on the night of 13 March 1944, detailed to bomb the railway facilities at Le Mans, France. Nothing was heard from the aircraft after take off and it failed to return to base. The aircraft was hit by anti-aircraft fire at 14,000 feet and crashed in the target area. Five of the crew were killed and two became prisoners of War.

The crew members of LW517 were:

Sergeant Ernest Buckland (1314518) (RAFVR) (Wireless Air Gunner)
Sergeant Allan Cantle-Jones (1387255) (RAFVR) (Mid Upper Gunner)
Sergeant Andrew Currie (1566601) (RAFVR) (Flight Engineer)
Sergeant A A Jeffries (1557416) (RAFVR) (Navigator) PoW
Sergeant Douglas William McMillan DFM (1672812) (RAFVR) (Rear Gunner)
Flight Sergeant G Tipping (1437929) (RAFVR) (Air Bomber) PoW
Pilot Officer Kenneth Fred Withers (406893) (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, 166/43/558