LEST WE FORGET

Flying Officer Ernest Thomas JETSON

Service No: 428009
Born: Carlton VIC, 4 June 1924
Enlisted in the RAAF: 14 August 1942 (at Hobart TAS)
Unit: No. 44 Squadron (RAF), RAF Station Spilsby
Died: Air Operations (No. 44 Squadron Lancaster aircraft NN768), Germany, 7 March 1945, Aged 20 Years
Buried: Unrecovered
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Ernest Robert James Jetson and Katherine Eileen Jetson, of Launceston, Tasmania, Australia
Roll of Honour: Launceston TAS
Remembered: Panel 283, Runnymede Memorial, Surrey UK
Remembered: Panel 124, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT

At 1826 hours on 7 March 1945 Lancaster NN768 took off from Spilsby to carry out a bombing attack on Harburg, Germany. Nothing further was heard from the aircraft which did not return to base. The aircraft was lost near the target area and Flying Officer Jetson was killed.

The crew members of NN768 were:

Flight Sergeant R A Bosley (1836435) (RAFVR) (Air Gunner) PoW
Sergeant W J Florence (1370405) (RAFVR) (Flight Engineer) PoW
Sergeant W P Gazaly (1808592) (RAFVR) (Air Gunner) PoW
Flying Officer Ernest Thomas Jetson (428009) (Pilot)
Flight Sergeant R C Silson (2202845) (RAFVR) (Wireless Operator/Air) PoW
Flight Sergeant B Smith (1520935) (RAFVR) (Flight Engineer) PoW
Flight Sergeant R Stevens (1802081) (RAFVR) (Air Bomber) PoW

In a later statement, Flight Sergeant Bosley reported: “I baled out at roughly 500 feet. Ernie was uninjured but having extreme difficulty in maintaining height (two engines being on fire). The kite hit the ground about the same time I did. As we had a full bomb load on, I don’t think Ernie would have had much chance if he had baled out. What I believe happened is that as soon as he let go of the controls the aircraft dived straight into the ground. At my interrogation the German officer told me that Ernie had been killed, but I don’t know if they had found his body or were just trying to find out whether I knew anything about him.” In a 1946 report it stated that the site of the crash was located at Verlussmoor in the district of Teufelsmoor, Germany when the aircraft exploded on crashing at that village. Flying Officer Jetson’s body was not recovered, and he was recorded as missing in action with no known grave.

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, 166/20/236
Register of War Memorials in New South Wales On-Line

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