LEST WE FORGET

Flight Sergeant Keith Arthur George REED

Service No: 437544
Born: Crows Nest NSW, 17 August 1915
Enlisted in the RAAF: 27 February 1943 (at Adelaide SA)
Unit: No. 463 Squadron, RAF Waddington, Lincolnshire
Died: Air Operations (No. 463 Squadron Lancaster aircraft PD338), Germany, 2 November 1944, Aged 29 Years
Buried: Rheinburg War Cemetery, Kamp Lintfort, Nordrhein-Westfal, Germany
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Arthur Alfred and Patricia Edith Reed; husband of Hannah Patricia Reed, of Chatswood, New South Wales, Australia.
Roll of Honour: Chatswood NSW
Remembered: Panel 109, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT
Remembered: World War II Honour Roll, National War Memorial of SA, North Terrace, Adelaide
Remembered: Knox Grammar School Old Boys’ War Memorial, Wahroonga NSW
Remembered: Tumbarumba District War Memorial World War II, Tumbarumba NSW

Date: 2-3 November 1944
Target: Dusseldorf
Total Force: Despatched – 992, Attacking – 946
RAAF Force: No. 460 Dispatched – 23, Attacking – 23; No. 462 – 15, 15; No. 463 – 15, 15; No. 466 – 14, 14; No. 467 – 15, 15
Tons of Bombs Dropped: 4,484
Total Aircraft Lost: 16
RAAF Aircraft Lost: No. 462 – 2; No. 463 – 1; No. 467 – 1

Dusseldorf was the next target, and on 2nd-3rd November 992 Lancasters and Halifaxes dropped 4,484 tons of bombs from a cloudless sky on this administrative centre of the steel industry which had practically recovered from the 1943 raids. All five RAAF squadrons joined in this attack and the 82 crews were unanimous in their reports of accurate ground marking, good concentration of bombing and the incidence of extensive fires and major explosions while they were over the target. They also met much more spirited opposition, especially from fighters, than on recent raids. Aircraft piloted by Flying Officer Maxton (1) and Flying Officer Maurice Claude Norfolk Gray (428772) of No. 460 each sustained several attacks while Flying Officer Waxman (2) and Warrant Officer Willington (3) of No. 466 had inconclusive combats with enemy jet aircraft. Four RAAF bombers failed to return but almost all the crews survived. Some became prisoners of war but one crew baled out near the American front line and were quickly rescued. Pilot Officer Jubb (4) made a hazardous journey on foot (sometimes posing as an idiot) from near Dusseldorf to American positions close to Aachen; and Warrant Officer Scott (5), although arrested and detained in a house 20 miles south of Cologne, escaped and, after five days of hunger and exhaustion, found refuge with a civilian family near Duren and remained in hiding until rescued by American troops on 26th November.

(1) Flying Officer William Campbell Murray Maxton (415675) was discharged from the RAAF on 6 February 1946.
(2) Flying Officer Joseph Herbert Waxman DFC (418994) was discharged from the RAAF on 7 September 1945.
(3) Flying Officer Allan Frank Willington DFC (417142) was discharged from the RAAF on 4 September 1945.
(4) Flying Officer Robert Venters Jubb DFC (426609) was discharged from the RAAF on 31 august 1945.
(5) Warrant Officer Robert Walter Scott (418184) was discharged from the RAAF on 5 April 1947.

Extracts from Herington, J. (John) (406545) Air War Over Europe 1944-1945, Australian War Memorial, Canberra, 1963 – Pages 302, 305-6

Lancaster PD338 took off from RAF Waddington at 1641 hours on the night of 2/3rd November 1944 to bomb Dusseldorf, Germany. Nothing was heard from the aircraft after take off and it did not return to base. Fifteen aircraft from the Squadron took part in the raid and of these PD338 failed to return.

The crew members of PD338 were:

Flight Sergeant Bruce Lambert Collins (430853) (Rear Gunner) PoW, Discharged from the RAAF: 4 February 1946
Flight Sergeant David William Davidson (418355) (Wireless Operator Air Gunner)
Sergeant A F Hale (1809792) (RAFVE) (Flight Engineer) PoW
Flight Sergeant Keith Arthur George Reed (437544) (Mid Upper Gunner)
Flight Sergeant William Benton Scott (424825) (Bomb Aimer) PoW, Discharged from the RAAF: 29 October 1945
Flying Officer Donald Gilmour Smith (428370) (Pilot) PoW, Discharged from the RAAF: 29 October 1945
Flying Officer Jack Raymond Sweeney (432379) (Navigator) PoW, Discharged from the RAAF: 26 October 1945

In 1945 Flying Officer Smith reported “the aircraft was hit by cannon shells in the starboard inner and starboard petrol tanks, and immediately burst into flames. Engine feathered and emergency ‘jump jump’ order given. To my knowledge no one was injured. The Bomb Aimer, Engineer and Nav baled out before me. I assumed they were all out and started to leave as the starboard wing fell off at a height of 17/18,000 feet. Aircraft completely out of control and burning. It crashed approximately 15 miles south west of Dusseldorf. Walked from Dusseldorf to Aachen in 6 days and captured in house by German patrol. Released by British Army, Lubeck on 2 May 1945.”

Flying Officer Sweeney reported “a night fighter set fire to both starboard engine and wing. Captain warned crew and ordered Engineer to assist feathering then ‘jump jump order given. The Bomb Aimer and Engineer went through the hatch ahead of me. Aircraft was out of control and on fire. Height 18,000ft. It crashed some 15 miles SW of Dusseldorf. Saw Bomb aimer and Engineer and met Captain in camp. Captured on hitting the ground. Released on 2 May 1945.”

Flight Sergeant Scott reported “hit in Starboard wing by night fighter. Jump ordered. No one injured prior to order. Was first out height 19,000 feet. Landed in village and captured. Liberated by Russians. With the exception of the WOP and Mid Upper, all others back in UK.”

No. 462 Squadron lost Halifax MZ401 (Pilot Officer Robert Richard Mitchell (418452) (Pilot)) on 2 November 1944.

No. 462 Squadron lost Halifax LL610 (Flight Sergeant Robert Venters Jubb DFC (426609) (Pilot)) on 2 November 1944.

No. 467 Squadron lost Lancaster DV396 (Flying Officer Leslie Keith Landridge (429972) (Pilot)) on 2 November 1944.

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, 166/35/380
Register of War Memorials in New South Wales On-Line

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