25/26.04.1945 No. 463 Squadron Lancaster I RA542 JO-Z F/O. Arthur Cox DSO
Date: 25/26th April 1945 (Wednesday/Thursday)
Unit: 463 Squadron (RAAF)
Type: Lancaster I
Base: RAF Waddington, Lincolnshire
Location: Såtenäs, Sweden
Pilot: F/O. Arthur Cox DSO 184305 RAFVR Wounded - Interned
Fl/Eng: Sgt. George Wilfred Simpson CGM 1594208 RAFVR Interned
Nav: F/O. John A. Wainwright DSO 176147 RAFVR Wounded - Interned
Air/Bmr: Fl/Sgt. Robert Smurthwaite 1500268 RAFVR Wounded - Interned
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Frederick Emile Parent 1811416 RAFVR Age 19. Interned (1)
Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Fred W.J.H. Logan 1853029 RAFVR Interned
Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. ‘Jock’ W.D. Hogg 1834114 RAFVR Interned
Update September 2017: We have been contacted by the son of Fl/Sgt. Robert Smurthwaite who is preparing to send further information.
REASON FOR LOSS:
Took off at 20:14 hrs from RAF Waddington, Lincolnshire to attack the oil refineries at Vallö near Tönsberg in southern Norway. This was one of the last night time operations of Bomber Command in WW2. It also is listed as one of the last air combats between a German night fighter and a Bomber Command 4 engine aircraft.
At 23:00 hrs and at 19,600 ft RA542 was attacked as it approached the target by a Schräge Musik- equipped Ju88 of 4./NJG3 (Upward firing 20 mm canon) flown by Fw. Kurt Gross.
RA542 was heavily damaged with 3 crew members wounded but despite that, returned fire during this combat hit the Ju88 G-6 with all the crew killed when it crashed at Støledalen. The crew being Fw. Kurt Gross, Uffz. Reinhard johnson, Fw. Otto Müller.
The Lancaster continued to fly and despite frostbite the crew managed to set a course for Sweden when they made an emergency landing at Satanäs airfield.
Fl/Sgt. Smurthwaite was taken to Lidköping hospital. On the 27th April the rest of the crew travelled to Korsnäs, where they arrived on the same day and interned and spent the rest of the war confined (some 2 weeks!). Sgt. Smurthwaite recovered from his wounds and was repatriated directly from the Hospital.
After this F/O. Cox and F/O. Wainwright received the DSO while Sgt. Simpson received the CGM. It states in the recommendations for these decorations that 'the coolness, courage and devotion to duty of these officers and airman were an inspiration to their Squadron'.
The Swedish airforce repaired RA542, but it is unknown if it ever flew again - it was subsequently scrapped on 23rd August 1946.
(1) We were contacted by the ex-wife of Fl/Sgt Fred Parent, Shirley, who informed that he had sadly died on the 24th August 2011. Fred was the last member of this crew to pass away.
Left: One of the 'Other Few' - Fred Parent.
Such is the importance that we try and gather as much information as we are able to place in our archives for future generations to remember. Obituary to another one of the ‘other few’.