LEST WE FORGET

Pilot Officer Harold William BIRD

Service No: 417330
Born: 3 August 1915, Location Unavailable
Enlisted in the RAAF: Date, Location Unavailable
Unit: No. 77 Squadron (RAF), RAF Full Sutton, Yorkshire
Died: Air Operations (No. 77 Squadron Halifax aircraft NA545), North West Europe, 17 June 1944, Aged 28 Years
Buried: Terschelling (West Terschelling) General Cemetery, Friesland, Netherlands
CWGC Additional Information: Son of David and Hilda Emily Bird; husband of Joyce Emily Bird, of Hilton, South Australia.
Roll of Honour: Unknown
Remembered: Panel 257, Runnymede Memorial, Surrey UK
Remembered: Panel 119, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT
Remembered: World War II Honour Roll, National War Memorial of SA, North Terrace, Adelaide

Halifax NA545 took off from RAF Full Sutton at 2315 hours on the night of 16/17th June 1944, detailed to bomb Sterkrade, Germany. Nothing was heard from the aircraft after take off and it failed to return to base. NA545 was one of seven aircraft from the Squadron that failed to return from the mission. It was later established that the aircraft crashed in the sea off the coast of Holland, and all the crew were killed.

The crew members of NA545 were:

Pilot Officer Harold William Bird (417330) (Pilot)
Sergeant Reginald Alfred Castle-Hall (1893225) (RAFVR) (Flight Engineer)
Sergeant Alfred Basil Freemantle (1603837) (RAFVR) (Navigator)
Sergeant John Adam Lauder (1570546) (RAFVR) (Rear Gunner)
Flying Officer Stuart Walter Mackay (414809) (Air Bomber)
Flight Sergeant Frederick Arthur Meeghan (900604) (RAFVR) (Mid Upper Gunner)
Flight Sergeant Robert James Warren (429838) (Wireless Air Gunner)

Seven aircraft from the Squadron failed to return from the mission. Other RAAF members were lost on 17 June 1944 in Halifax NA 508 (Pilot Officer Robert Alexander Walton Blair (415498) (Pilot)) and Halifax MZ 715 (Pilot Officer Alan Irvine Crain (415308) (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, 166/5/572

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