LEST WE FORGET

Flight Sergeant John Arthur DIETMAN

Service No: 417816
Born: Evandale SA, 17 July 1924
Enlisted in the RAAF: 18 July 1942
Unit: No. 460 Squadron, RAF Binbrook, Lincolnshire
Died: Air Operations (No. 460 Squadron Lancaster aircraft ND419), Lincolnshire, 21 February 1944, Aged 19 Years
Buried: Cambridge City Cemetery, Cambridgeshire
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Arthur Ernest and Lillian May Dietman, of Evandale, South Australia
Roll of Honour: St Peters SA
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: 21-22 February 1944
Target: Stuttgart
Total Force: Despatched – 598, Attacking – 552
RAAF Force: No. 460 Despatched – 21, Attacking – 21; No. 463 – 14, 14; No. 466 – 11, 10; No. 467 – 15, 13
Tons of Bombs Dropped: 1,990
Total Aircraft Lost: 9
RAAF Aircraft Lost: – (loss of ND419 omitted in the Official History)

Incorrect wind forecasts on 20th-21st February resulted in many crews reaching Stuttgart early, and Brill (1) of No. 463 saw many Lancasters make premature attacks while he circled to await the Pathfinders. It was fortunate that a spoof raid on Munich, intruder activity over Dutch airfields, and a large demonstration by Operational training Unit aircraft over the North Sea successfully preoccupied German fighter. Most RAAF crews waited until the indicators went down, but as these were misplaced to the north of the city the most conscientious bombing was in fact the least effective. However, some valuable, if scattered, damage was done throughout the city, but the only target of special importance to the campaign against the RAF which received bombs was the Bosch works, Germany’s largest manufacturer of sparking plugs and fuel-injection pumps.

(1) Group Captain William Lloyd Brill DSO DFC & Bar (O21977) was discharged from the RAAF on 12 October 1964.

Extracts from Herington, J. (John) (406545) Air War Against Germany and Italy 1939-1943, Australian War Memorial, Canberra, 1954 – pages 658,9

Lancaster ND419 took of from RAF Binbrook at 2330 hours on 20 February 1944 to bomb Stuttgart, Germany. The bomb load was 1 x 4000 lb (pound) (1,800 kg) and 6 x 1000 lb (450 kg) bombs. On return from the mission, in blizzard conditions ND 419 flew into trees and crashed at 0650 hours on the 21 February half a mile south of North Witham, which is 10 miles south of Grantham in Lincolnshire. All the crew members were killed.

The crew members of ND419 were:

Flying Officer Francis Allan Cleveland (422261) (Navigator)
Flight Sergeant John Arthur Dietman (417816) (Rear Gunner)
Pilot Officer Graham Athol Grant (416953) (Pilot)
Flight Sergeant Edward Hurtle Lawrie (417085) (Bomb Aimer)
Sergeant John Emmanuel McCarthy (1836186) (RAFVR) (Mid Upper Gunner)
Sergeant Peter Dearnley Rawson (1683124) (RAFVR) (Flight Engineer)
Flight Sergeant Allan Geoffry Young (421426) (Wireless Operator Air Gunner)

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, 166/9/256

Bibliography:

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

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