LEST WE FORGET

Sergeant Frank Hill CANNING

Service No: 408045
Born: Evandale TAS, 24 August 1920
Enlisted in the RAAF: 15 August 1940
Unit: No. 455 Squadron, RAF Station Wigsley
Died: Air Operations (No. 455 Squadron Hampden aircraft AT221), Germany, 11 April 1942, Aged 21 Years
Buried: Rheinberg War Cemetery, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Thomas Ashley Canning and Annie Leonie Irene Canning, of New Norfolk, Tasmania, Australia
Roll of Honour: Queenstown TAS
Remembered: Panel 106, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT

Hampden AT221 took off from Wigsley at 2146 hours on the night of 10/11 April 1942 to bomb the main square of Essen, Germany. AT221 carried “G13” 6 Bundles of Nickels, 1 x 2000lb and 2 x 250lb bombs. Nothing was heard from the aircraft after take-off and it did not return to base. Seven aircraft from the Squadron took part in the raid and two of these including AT221 failed to return. Post war it was established that the aircraft crashed at Sturzelberg on the west bank of the Rhine, 11kms south east of Neuss and all the crew members had been killed.

The crew members of AT221 were:

Sergeant Frank Hill Canning (408045) (Wireless Operator Air Gunner)
Flying Officer Frederick Abbey Keck (400623) (Navigator Bomb Aimer)
Flying Officer Robert Charles Roberts (3200) (Pilot)
Sergeant John Ripley Wright (1057411) (RAFVR) (Wireless Operator Air Gunner)

No. 455 Squadron lost Hampden AE291 (Flying Officer Seth Tilstone Manners (403142) (Pilot)) on 11 April 1942.

The loss of Hampdens AE291 and AT221 were the final losses suffered by No. 455 Squadron as a Bomber Command Squadron. By 28 April 1942 the Squadron had moved to RAF Leuchars, Scotland, to continue Hampden operations under Coastal Command authority.

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 Veterans’ Affairs On-Line WWII Nominal Roll
National Archives of Australia On-Line Record A705, 163/95/255

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