LEST WE FORGET

Flight Sergeant Charles Leslie WILKEN

Service No: 408448
Born: North Carlton VIC, 20 August 1912
Enlisted in the RAAF: 25 May 1942 (at Hobart TAS)
Unit: No. 530 Squadron, No. 380th Bombardment (Heavy) Group, USAAF
Died: Air Operations (No. 530 Squadron Liberator aircraft 42-110120), at sea, Indonesian Archipelago, 29 October 1944, Aged 32 Years
Buried: Unrecovered
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Henry Peter and Chrisella Wilken; husband of Marie Amy Wilken, of New Town, Tasmania
Roll of Honour: Hobart TAS
Remembered: Panel 9, Northern Territory Memorial, Adelaide River NT
Remembered: Panel 134, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT

Liberator 42-110120 of No. 530 Squadron failed to return from a mission to Macassar on the night of 28 October 1944. The aircraft took off from Darwin at 1751 hours manned by a RAAF crew of eleven. The following sequences of messages were received by Ops Room No 380 (Bomber) Group: 281420Z No 3 out, Position 06.25S 120.50E; 281555Z 2 engines out, 08.00S 123.35E; 281628Z Not likely to reach base. No 4 giving trouble. Preparing to ditch. Darwin obtained a bearing of 340 degrees at 281604Z. Search ships, Liberators, Mitchells and Catalinas on subsequent days were unable to locate aircraft or crew. In 1949 it was recorded that the aircraft and crew were lost at sea.

The crew members of 42-110120 were:

Flight Sergeant Frederick William Anstey (116993) (Flight Engineer)
Flight Sergeant William Ronald Barber (423587) (Navigator Bomb Aimer)
Sergeant Walter James Bird (62526) (Fitter IIA/Gunner)
Sergeant James Edward Cook (429432) (Air Gunner)
Flight Lieutenant Alan Arthur Cropley (416078) (Navigator)
Warrant Officer Stuart Hugh Davidson (413969) (Second Pilot)
Flying Officer Alan Lindsay Harrison (408190) (Pilot)
Sergeant Stewart Hugh Jamieson (36474) (Armament/Gunner)
Warrant Officer Keith Leonard James Killen (416861) (Wireless Operator/Air Gunner)
Major Henry Robert Latreille (VX21828) (Australian Army) (HQ RAAF Command – Observer)
Flying Officer Donald John O’Dea (408590) (Wireless Operator/Air Gunner)
Flight Sergeant Charles Leslie Wilken (408448) (Wireless Operator/Air Gunner)

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, 166/43/916

Bibliography:

Horton, G.R. Jr. (Glenn) The Best in the Southwest: The 380th Bombardment Group (H) in World War II Southwest Pacific Area, Mosie Publications, Savage Minnesota US, 1995
Nelmes, M.V. (Michael) Tocumwal to Tarakan: Australians and the Consolidated B-24 Liberator, Banner Books Belconnen ACT 2616, 1994

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