LEST WE FORGET

Flight Sergeant Reginald John BIGLANDS

Service No: 407282
Born: Adelaide SA, 23 May 1914
Enlisted in the RAAF: 17 August 1940
Unit: No. 460 Squadron, RAF Breighton, Yorkshire
Died: Air Operations (No. 460 Squadron Wellington aircraft Z1394), Netherlands, 3 June 1942, Aged 28 Years
Buried: Unrecovered
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Percy and Pearl Martha Biglands; husband of Olive May Biglands, of Kilburn, South Australia.
Roll of Honour: Unknown
Remembered: Panel 111, Runnymede Memorial, Surrey UK
Remembered: Panel 107, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT
Remembered: World War II Honour Roll, National War Memorial of SA, North Terrace, Adelaide

Date: 2-3 June 1942
Target: Essen
Total Force: Dispatched – 195, Attacking – 144
RAAF Force: No. 460 Dispatched – 10, Attacking – 10
Tons of Bombs Dropped: 309
Total Aircraft Lost: 13
RAAF Aircraft Lost: No. 460 – 2

On 2-3 June a normal-sized attack was projected, again using the illuminating technique. This time the flares were very helpful (when compared with the previous raid on 1-2 June) in bringing the bomber stream over the target, and most of the crews were satisfied that their bombs dropped on built-up areas, even though the prevalent haze prevented them from identifying Krupps.

Extracts from Herington, J. (John) (406545) Air War Against Germany and Italy 1939-1943, Australian War Memorial, Canberra, 1954 – Pages 323, 325

Wellington Z 1394 of No. 460 Squadron RAAF took off from RAF Breighton at 2326 hours on 2 June 1942 detailed to carry out a raid on Essen, Germany. The bomb load was 720 x 4 lb (pound) (2 kg) incendiaries. Nothing was heard from Z 1394 after take off and it did not return to base.

The crew members of Z1394 were:

Flight Sergeant Reginald John Biglands (407282) (Rear Gunner)
Sergeant Douglas Graham Butterworth (404471) (Front Gunner) POW, Discharged from the RAAF: 12 September 1945
Flying Officer John Walter Keene (402742) (Pilot and Aircraft Captain)
Sergeant William Kendall (1309012) (RAFVR) (Wireless Operator Air Gunner)
Flight Sergeant Ronald Frederick Waldon (400894) (Observer)

Sergeant Butterworth later made the statement that after bombing the target and flying out low at 2/300 feet over the Dutch coast in the vicinity of Flushing, the aircraft crashed into the sea without warning. It sank immediately. He was captured by a crew in a launch about 3 hours after the crash. Biglands and Kendall had been killed. Keene was still alive when last seen and said he had not been badly wounded. They started swimming together but got separated. Waldon was still alive when last seen, but nothing was seen of Kendall or Biglands.”

No. 460 Squadron lost Wellington Z1249 (Flight Sergeant Solomon Levitus (402910) (Pilot)) on 3 June 1944.

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, 163/92/143

Bibliography:

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

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