LEST WE FORGET

Sergeant Henry WITTE

Service No: 404149
Born: Brisbane QLD, 25 February 1916
Enlisted in the RAAF: 24 May 1940
Unit: No. 455 Squadron, RAF Station Leuchars
Died: Air Operations: (No. 455 Squadron Hampden aircraft X3140), North Sea, 26 January 1943, Aged 26 Years
Buried: Unrecovered
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Charles and Louisa Witte, of Samson-Vale, Queensland, Australia
Roll of Honour: Wynnum QLD
Remembered: Panel 197, Runnymede Memorial, Surrey UK
Remembered: Panel 106, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT

Hampden X3140 took off from Leuchars at 1330 hours on 26 January 1943 to carry out an armed reconnaissance off the Norwegian coast. Eleven aircraft from the Squadron took part in the mission and of these X3140 failed to return. At 1912 hours X3140 asked for a QDM (magnetic heading) which was given as 269 degrees and acknowledged. No further messages were received from X3140 and it did not return to base. Air sea rescue searches were carried out but no trace of the missing aircraft or crew was found.”

The crew members of X3140 were:

Sergeant Ronald James Booth (404395) (Wireless Operator Air Gunner)
Pilot Officer Eric John Gleeson (404707) (Pilot)
Flying Officer Kevin James Murphy (404766) (Navigator Bomb Aimer)
Sergeant Henry Witte (404149) (Wireless Operator Air Gunner)

X3140 was airborne Leuchars in formation with AE228 ‘S’ flown by Flight Lieutenant O’Connor. Flight Lieutenant O’Connor’s flight report reads as follows “Set course for Naze. 1610 Lista and followed coast at 213 miles distance to Mandal. 1622 set course for Christiansund closing to one mile from coast. 1633 Oksoy Island off Christiansund thence GSAA000. Visibility fair. Set course for base at 1645 hours. Landed at 2025 hours.” The Squadron Operations Record Book also records “X3140 carried out the same flight as ‘S’ flown by Flight Lieutenant O’Connor”.

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, 166/43/38

Bibliography:

Gordon, I. (Ian) Strike and Strike Again: 455 Squadron 1944-5, Banner Books Belconnen ACT 2616, 1995
Lawson, John Horwood Wightman (251634) The Story of No. 455 Squadron (RAAF), Wilke and Company, Melbourne VIC, 1951