LEST WE FORGET

Flight Sergeant William PRYDE

Service No: 417232
Born: Ethelton SA, 7 June 1923
Enlisted in the RAAF: 31 January 1942
Unit: No. 57 Squadron (RAF), RAF East Kirkby, Lincolnshire
Died: Air Operations: Hamburg and Raids on Italy (No, 57 Squadron Lancaster aircraft W4948), Lincolnshire, 23 September 1943, Aged 20 Years
Buried: Cambridge City Cemetery, Cambridgeshire
CWGC Additional Information: Son of William and Edith Fairweather Pryde, of Rosewater Park, South Australia.
Roll of Honour: Port Adelaide SA
Remembered: Panel 129, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT
Remembered: World War II Honour Roll, National War Memorial of SA, North Terrace, Adelaide

Lancaster W4948 took off from RAF East Kirkby at 1918 hours on the night of 22/23rd September 1943, detailed to bomb Hanover, Germany. When returning to base W 4948 was intercepted by an enemy intruder aircraft and shot down at 0043 hours over Driby, 15 kms south south east of Louth, Lincolnshire. Five of the crew were killed and two baled out as the aircraft fell out of control.

The crew members of W4948 were:

Sergeant R C Brown (1320770) (RAFVR) (Air Bomber) Baled out
Flight Sergeant A Cherrington (941337) (RAFVR) (Flight Engineer) Baled out
Pilot Officer Gordon Alexander Duff (413078) (Pilot)
Sergeant Harold Roy Ellmer (1294158) (RAFVR) (Wireless Air Gunner)
Flight Sergeant William Pryde (417232) (Rear Gunner)
Flying Officer Phillip Neville Rolfe (136361) (RAFVR) (Navigator)
Sergeant Raymond Purser Smith (420780) (Mid Upper Gunner)

Extract from Headquarters Bomber Command Routine Order, Serial No A161 of 6/10/43. “The Commander-in-Chief wishes to bring to the notice of all ranks in the command the courage and devotion to duty displayed by the undermentioned members of a crew of No. 57 Squadron on the night of 22/23rd Sept. 1943, when returning from an attack on Hanover.

A413078 PO G A Duff, Pilot and Captain
A417232 Flt Sgt W Pryde, Rear Gunner

A Lancaster Aircraft captained by Pilot Officer Duff was attacked by an unidentified enemy Aircraft at 4000 feet, while in the circuit at Base. The Aircraft was set on fire by the fighter’s first burst and a violent explosion occurred in the port wing. Pilot Officer Duff succeeded in retaining control of the Aircraft which was burning along the port wing and almost unmanageable. The Bomb Aimer and Flight Engineer baled out safely at 2000 and 1000 feet respectively. Pilot Officer Duff remained at the controls and succeeded in keeping the Aircraft level until at 1, 000 feet it made a tight turn and dived into the ground. The two members of the crew who landed safely undoubtedly owe their lives to Pilot Officer Duff’s efforts to give his crew the chance to abandon the Aircraft. Throughout the entire incident, Flight Sergeant Pryde the engaged the enemy Aircraft with fire from the rear turret and was seen to be still firing as the Aircraft went into its last dive.”

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 A9301, 417232

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