05/06.06.1944 No 464 Squadron Mosquito NS897 Sq/Ldr. Oxlade
Operation: Long Range Intruder Patrol
Date: 05/6th June 1944 (Monday/Tuesday)
Unit: No. 464 Squadron (RAAF)
Type: Mosquito IV
Base: RAF Gravesend, Kent
Location: 1 Mile North of Gueures, South West of Dieppe, France.
Pilot: Sq/Ldr. Arthur Geoffrey Oxlade AUS/400733 RAAF Age 23. Killed
Nav: Fl/Lt. Donald McKenzie Shanks AUS/400839 RAAF Evaded capture.
REASON FOR LOSS:
Taking off from RAF Gravesend in Kent at 22:50 hrs joining another 19 aircraft on an intruder operation to bomb rail yards and other targets in support of the armies during the 'D' Day landings.
Sq/Ldr. Arthur Geoffrey Oxlade (courtesy Michel Beckers)
On the way to the target area at Mayenne the Mosquito was hit by flak, which set fire to the underneath of the aircraft. However the crew (having been together for since 1942 and therefore trusted one another judgement totally) they decided to continue to the target. The flames went out and they continued the patrol for another thirty minutes before making their return flight. En route the Port engine cut out due to the earlier damage and the Pilot tethered the engine. Very shortly afterwards the Starboard engine then cut out whilst they were at about 10,000 ft. Sq/Ldr. Oxlade ordered Fl/Lt. Shanks to bale out which he did at about 1,500 ft. landing just North of the village Gueuress at 01.00 hrs.
As he was descending he saw the aircraft crash and explode. 45 minutes later the main bombs on the aircraft exploded.
With the help of the French Resistance and local people Fl/Lt. Don Edwards managed to evade capture, returning to his unit on the 3/4th September 1944.
Left: The Gazette, 1947 (courtesy Michel Beckers)
Sq/Ldr. Arthur Geoffrey Oxlade. Gueures Communal Cemetery. Son of Arthur Harold and Olive May Oxlade, of 16 Hannaslea Street Box Hill, Croydon, Victoria. Australia. Born in Etuca, Victoria on the 8th April 1920, enlistered in Melbourne, Australia on the 13th October 1940.
Right: Grave of Sq/Ldr. Occlude (courtesy Kate Tame) Any relative requiring a higher resolution of the grave please dont hesitate to contact us.
Researched for relatives of the crew with thanks to Kate Tame for grave photographs, National Archives of Australia, Commonwealth Graves Commission. Our colleague in the Netherlands, Michel Beckers.