LEST WE FORGET

Flight Sergeant Ronald Edward WALKER

Service No: 408430
Born: Launceston TAS, 27 November 1922
Enlisted in the RAAF: 22 May 1942
Unit: No. 83 Squadron (RAF), RAF Station Wyton
Died: Air Operations (No. 83 Squadron Lancaster aircraft JB365), Germany, 21 January 1944, Aged 21 Years
Buried: Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery, Germany
CWGC Additional Information: Son of William Edward and Stella May Walker, of Launceston, Tasmania, Australia
Roll of Honour: Launceston TAS
Remembered: Panel 132, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT

At 2005 hours on the night of 21 January 1944 Lancaster JB365 took off from Wyton detailed to bomb Magdeburg, Germany. Nothing was heard from the aircraft after take-off and it failed to return to base. The aircraft was shot down over the target area by a night fighter from 20,000 feet. It crashed near Pretsien, 9 miles south east of Magdeburg, at about 2230 hours. Three crew members were killed and the other four were taken prisoner.

The crew members of JB365 were:

Pilot Officer Gregory Michael Drysdale Breaden (408323) (Navigator) PoW, Discharged from the RAAF: 6 March 1946
Sergeant Ronald Herbert Easton (1456823) (RAF) (Rear Gunner)
Flying Officer J W Houston (51221) (RAF) (Wireless Air Gunner) PoW
Flying Officer Wallace Kenneth Hutton (408296) (Pilot)
Sergeant J O Lightfoot (1654342) (RAFVR) (Flight Engineer) PoW
Flight Sergeant Alan Firthie McInnes (410702) (Air Bomber) PoW, Discharged from the RAAF: 3 June 1946
Flight Sergeant Ronald Edward Walker (408430) (Mid Upper Gunner)

Pilot Officer Breaden later reported “the Captain gave the order to abandon the aircraft. The last I saw of Flying Officer Hutton, just before I left, he was alive and holding the aircraft steady. I spoke to him. I have since heard that he was killed.”

Flight Sergeant McInnes reported “we were attacked by an enemy fighter. One of the shells severed the inter com. Shortly afterwards, the navigator gave me a signal to bale out. Owing to the inter com I did not hear any order. At Dulag Luft an interrogator informed me that Flying Officer Hutton had been killed.”

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, 166/43/496

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