06.01.1944 No. 464 Squadron Mosquito FB Mk VI LR259 SB-Q F/Sgt. Kenneth Royce Russell
Date: 6 January 1944
Unit: No. 464 Squadron - Motto: "Aequo animo" ("Equanimity").
Badge: A demi piping shrike. The emblem adopted by the squadron is appropriately Australian, the piping shrike being a bird which is indigenous to the Australian mainland. Authority: King George VI, July 1945.
Type: De Havilland DH98 Mosquito FB Mk VI
Base: RAF Hunsdon, Hertfordshire
Location: RAF Chipping Norton, Northamptonshire
Pilot: P/O. Kenneth Royce Russell NZ415023 RNZAF Age 24 - Killed (1)
Nav: W/O. Ernest Roy Lumsdaine Aus/402372 RAAF Age 25 - Killed (2)
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REASON FOR LOSS
According to an entry in No. 464 Squadron Operations Record Book for 7 December 1943:
"A new crew arrived, NZ. F/Sgt. Russell and Aus. W/O. Lumsdaine".
Just over a week later on 15 December another entry reads:
"F/Sgt. Russell did some dual with F/O Monaghan"
And on 6 January 1944:
"F/Sgt Russell and W/O. Lumsdaine killed in low flying accident"
F/Sgt. Russell (actually Pilot Officer but his commission presumably not promulgated at the time) and W/O. Lumsdaine's brief career with the Squadron recorded in fewer words than the 31 days they served in it.
And indeed most sources record little more i.e.
While low flying over the Northamptonshire airfield of Chipping Warden, crashed and caught fire on striking the ground, and hit a hangar, at 1415.
A little more detail of the circumstances can be found in the Report on Flying Accident or Forced Landing not Attributable to Enemy Action dated 21 January 1944 in particular the following report by the Station Commander of 464 (RAAF) Squadron of 10 January 1944.
"This is a case of gross disobedience of flying orders resulting in the loss of two lives, an aircraft and other damage to service property. At an earlier date this pilot was on the strength of RAF Chipping Warden and it appears that he was indulging in a demonstration to impress any who may have been watching. All pilots are aware of the penalties following low flying offences".
At the time of the accident Russell had a total of 874 hours (11 solo on mosquitos)
However, a first hand account of the crash is contained in the Diary of Bruce Johnson. Compiled by his children, this excellent website chronicles the training and tour of operation of Lancaster bomber pilot Bruce Johnston, through the diary he kept during his time with the RCAF in 1944. See: http://lancasterdiary.net/January%201944/january_0...
In January 1944 he was stationed at RAF Chipping Warden with 12 OTU. His diary entry for 6 January 1944 includes the following record of the crash.
"There was a big prang today – a Mossie was doing a beat up of the field (ex BAT flight instructor) and he went in too low! Tore a hole in the roof of the BAT flt after bouncing off the field itself. The tail was torn off and rammed into a hangar and hung there. The rest of the plane bounced over the CGI block where I was and landed two hundred yards away in a field across the road. Nothing left at all. When it exploded on landing pieces flew all over the place and I got one. There was ammo exploding for three quarters of an hour and clouds of black smoke. An example of what not to do!"
BIOGRAPHICAL DETAILS OF THE CREW
(1) P/O. Kenneth Royce Russell was born on 26 November 1919 at Ulverstone, Tasmania the son of Frank Dicker Russell and Hilda May Russell, nee Bramich. The family immigrated to Auckland, New Zealand in 1925 where Frank Russell worked as a Soft Goods Traveller. There were five children of the marriage which was dissolved in 1936.
Hilda May Russell lived at 84 Sarsfield Street Herne Bay, Auckland.
Kenneth Russell was educated at Seddon Memorial Technical College in Auckland and worked as a Salesman for the Robertson Sewing Machine Co. Auckland.
Enlisting in the Royal New Zealand Air Force in 1941 he was posted on 7 September for six weeks basic training as an Airman Pilot under training to the Initial Training Wing at RNZAF Levin (about 50 miles north of Wellington). On 18 October he was posted to No. 4 Elementary Flying Training School at RNZAF Whenuapai at Auckland where he began pilot training on DH82 Tiger Moths. Six weeks later on 29 November 1941 he was posted to No. 3 Flying Training School where he was to continue his pilot training on Airspeed Oxfords.
He was awarded his Pilots Badge (wef 10 January 1942) and promoted to Sergeant on 28 February 1942.
On 14 March 1942 he became engaged to Gwyneth Enid Howard the only daughter of Mr. and Mrs D.B. Howard.
Attached to the RAF he embarked for the UK on or about 8 April 1942 and on arrival was posted to No. 3 Personnel Reception Centre (PRC) at RAF Bournemouth on 11 May where from 21 May to 2 June he was confined in the Station Sick Quarters.
On 18 June he was posted to No. 2 (Pilots) Advanced Flying Unit at RAF Brize Norton, Oxfordshire.
On 8 July he was posted to No. 1517 Beam Approach Training Flight at RAF Chipping Warden, Northampstonshire where from 14 July he was an instructor on Airspeed Oxfords.
The following year on 28 June 1943 he was posted to No. 13 Operational Training Unit at RAF Hinton-in-the-Hedges Northamptonshire where he was introduced to the de Havilland Mosquito.
Commissioned as a Pilot Officer on 19 November 1943 he was later posted to No 464 Squadron RAAF at RAF Sculthorpe in Norfolk on 7 December 1943.
On 31 December 464 Squadron relocated to RAF Hunsdon, Hertfordshire.
(2) W/O. Ernest Roy Lumsdaine was born on 8 January 1918 at Meppershall, Bedfordshire the son of 6812 Lance Corporal Russell Robberds Lumsdaine of 1 Division Signal Company AIF, and Rose Victoria (nee Taylor), a Meppershall girl whom he had married during the war. Russell Lumsdaine left England for Australia, with his wife and son, on 12 July 1919 aboard the SS Indarra and settled on the outskirts of Sydney.
In 1930 Roy Lumsdaine was the recipient of one of two scholarships awarded for that year by the Board of Control of the Bathurst Soldiers and Sailors War Memorial Scholaship Fund. The scholarships were tenable at the Bathurst High School and were for a period of three years, a grant of £20 per annum being allowed to each scholarship holder.
After completing his schooling, Ernest Lumsdaine worked in a brick factory and then as a wool presser in Bathurst, NSW. An accomplished and well known local cricketer he also played Rugby Union for Manly.
He enlisted in the RAAF on 19 August 1940 at Sydney, NSW and was almost immediately chosen by the selectors to play for a strong RAAF Rugby XV against the second Metropolitan team at North Sydney Oval on Saturday 7 September 1940.
His initial training took place at Bradfield Park, NSW, and after completing his basic aircrew training in early October, Lumsdaine embarked from Sydney in early November.
He arrived in Durban, South Africa, on 10 December 1940 and proceeded to Rhodesia where he trained as an observer. He completed this course in February 1941 and was posted to Queenstown, South Africa, to train as a navigator. During the course, he was promoted to sergeant. On completion of his training in October 1941 he was sent to England where he was posted to No. 14 Operational Training Unit (OTU) at RAF Cottesmore, Rutland.
On 8 March 1942, he was one of two crewmen who survived the crash of a Hampden bomber when the pilot crashed the plane during a night landing, killing himself and the rear gunner. Lumsdaine and the other survivor's lives were saved when a quick thinking farm labourer extinguished a fire that had started in one of the plane's engines. To read the story of this loss please click here
Having survived the crash with minor injuries, he soon returned to duty and on 23 December 1942 was promoted to Warrant Officer.
On Saturday 6 February 1943 Roy was selected to play for the RAAF against New Zealand Combined Services in the first iner-Dominion rugby union match since the outbreak of the war. Played at Old Deer Park, Richmond, London the RAAF were defeated by 8 points to 5.
On 27 June 1943, he was briefly posted to No. 16 OTU for two days before being posted to No. 13 OTU at RAF Hinton-in-the-Hedges Oxfordshire where he became a navigator in Mosquito aircraft. On 6 December 1943, he was posted to No. 464 Squadron as a navigator.
Killed just 2 days before his 26th birthday he is commemorated on Panel No. 109 of the Australian War Memorial at Canberra, The Manly War Memorial NSW and Meppershall St. Mary's Church War Memorial, Bedfordshire, England
BURIAL DETAILS, MEMORIALS AND EPITAPHS
P/O. Kenneth Royce Russell was buried with full Service honours at 10.30 a.m. on 12 January 1944 at Botley Cemetery, North Hinksey, Oxford - Section 1.2 Grave 132. (1)
W/O. Ernest Roy Lumsdaine was buried with full Service honours at 10.30 a.m. on 12 January 1944 Botley Cemetery, North Hinksey, Oxford - Section 1.2 Grave 132B
Researched by Aircrew Remembered researcher Roy Wilcock for all the relatives and friends of the members of this crew - January 2018
With thanks to the sources quoted below.