LEST WE FORGET

Flying Officer Francis William RUSH

Service No: 30245
Born: Hobart TAS, 28 July 1920
Enlisted in the RAAF: 13 May 1940
Unit: No. 7 Squadron (RAF), RAF Oakington, Cambridgeshire
Died: Air Operations (No. 7 Squadron Lancaster aircraft JB656), Netherlands, 16 December 1943, Aged 23 Year
Buried: Osterleek (Stompetoren) Churchyard, Noord-Holland, Netherlands
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Francis John and Myrtle Elsie Rush, of Battery Point, Tasmania, Australia.
Roll of Honour: Hobart TAS
Remembered: Panel 129, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT

Lancaster JB656 took off form RAF Oakington at 1617 hours on the night of 16/17th December 1943 to bomb Berlin. Nothing was heard from the aircraft after take off and it failed to return to base. JB 656 was one of four aircraft from the Squadron that failed to return from the mission. Post war it was established by a Missing Research and Enquiry Unit that the aircraft was hit by ack-ack fire and crashed near Alkmaar. Alkmaar is 18 miles north West of Amsterdam, Holland. Six of the crew were killed and Sergeant Ogg evaded capture.

The crew members of JB656 were:

Sergeant Henry Bernard Bushell (1079812) (RAFVR) (Wireless Air Gunner)
Sergeant William Robert Buntain (1822100) (RAFVR) (Rear Gunner)
Flying Officer Clive Prosdocimi Luther (424546) (Mid Upper Gunner)
Sergeant J S Ogg (1956604) (RAFVR) (Flight Engineer) Evaded Capture
Flying Officer Francis William Rush (30245) (Pilot)
Flying Officer William Verdun Scott (413277) (Bomb Aimer)
Sergeant Kenneth Wightman (642881) (RAF) (Navigator)

In a later report Sergeant Ogg stated “the aircraft crashed near Bergen-on Zee, Holland. The aircraft blew up and no trace could be found of the rest of the crew and it is fairly certain that all were killed. Those still in the aircraft when I left were Pilot, Bomb Aimer, WAG and Mid Upper. Rear Gunner unknown.”

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, 166/36/159

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