LEST WE FORGET

Flight Sergeant Desmond Nelson JAEKEL

Service No: 416680
Born: Pinnaroo SA, 10 July 1923
Enlisted in the RAAF: 16 August 1941
Unit: No. 460 Squadron, RAF Breighton, Yorkshire
Died: Air Operations (No. 460 Squadron Lancaster aircraft W4818), Germany, 5 May 1943, Aged 19 Years
Buried: Reichswald Forest War Cemetery, Kleve, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Wilhelm Heinrich Benjamin and Elsie Alwin Banks Jaekel; husband of Marie Hilda Jaekel, of Montacute, South Australia
Roll of Honour: Woodville 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

W R Chorley in the book RAF Bomber Command Losses of World War II – Volume 4 Aircraft and Aircrew Losses 1943 records that Flight Sergeant Jaekel at age 19 years 9 months was one of the youngest bomber pilots to be killed on operations during 1943.

Date: 4-5 May 1943
Target: Dortmund
Total Force: Despatched – 596, Attacking – 495
RAAF Force: No. 460 Despatched – 19, Attacking – 17; No. 466 – 14, 13; No. 467 – 20, 20
Tons of Bombs Dropped: 1,436
Total Aircraft Lost: 31
RAAF Aircraft Lost: No. 460 – 1; No. 466 – 1

During May two heavy attacks were projected against Dortmund (4 May and 23 May 1943) No. 30), an important steel, synthetic oil and transport centre. This is the largest town in the Ruhr after Essen and as the terminus of the Dortmund-Ems canal had the same importance to the eastern Ruhr that Duisburg had in the west. Both raids were favoured by excellent weather and visibility, so that although enemy defences were active the majority of the attackers arrived in a compact body. Three Australian bombers were damaged by gun fire on each occasion, but most crews reported that they ran in, aimed at well placed markers, and were away again before they could be singled out by searchlights or guns. Dense palls of smoke obscured huge fires on both nights and the centre of the city was almost entirely burnt out. Seven branches of the Hoesch combine, one of the largest steel-producing under takings in Germany, were temporarily put out of action and other steelworks, engineering factories and railway facilities were heavily damaged. The havoc caused by this simultaneous wrecking of industry, housing and transport for a short time made Dortmund the most disorganised city in Germany. In the second raid for the first time over 2,000 tons of explosive and incendiary bombs were dropped in one night. This scale of attack not only swamped enemy defences but resulted in geometric rather than arithmetic progression of damage compared with lighter attacks. In some respects the virtual elimination of this industrial centre after only two attacks, and at a total cost of sixty-nine aircraft, was one of the most remarkable successes yet gained.

Extracts from Herington, J. (John) (406545) Air War Against Germany and Italy 1939-1943, Australian War Memorial, Canberra, 1954 – Pages 485-6

Lancaster W4818 took off from RAF Breighton at 2220 hours on 4 May 1943 to bomb Dortmund, Germany. The bomb load was 1 x 4000 lb (pound) (1,800 kg) bomb, 48 x 30 lb (14 kg) and 540 x 4 lb (2 kg) incendiaries. Nothing was heard from the aircraft after take off and it did not return to base. Following post war enquiries it was established that the aircraft crashed at Schieringhausen, some 8 kms WSW of Lunen. And all the crew members on their first operation and were killed.

The crew members of W4818 were:

Flight Sergeant John Lawrence Barry (20047) (Air Gunner)
Flight Sergeant Eugene John Candish (412479) (Bomb Aimer)
Flight Sergeant Alan Hilton (412139) (Wireless Operator Air Gunner)
Flight Sergeant Desmond Nelson Jaekel (416680) (Pilot)
Flying Officer Sidney Michael Russ (414506) (Navigator)
Sergeant William James Turpin (1476394) (RAFVR) (Flight Engineer)
Flight Sergeant William Williams (405597) (Air Gunner)

No. 466 Squadron lost Wellington HE 530 (Sergeant Francis Graham Latham (412543) (Rear Gunner)) on 5 May 1943.

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, 166/20/41

Bibliography:

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

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