Personnel Index - Detail
Served in the RAF but as an Australian national
No. 35 Bombing Leaders Course, No. 1 Air Armament School, Lincolnshire, 3rd July 1942
Part of the panel at Runnymede
6/7 June, 1942; EMDEN:
In good weather conditions, a main force of 233 aircraft set out to attack the German town of Emden. With only a slight ground haze over the target, successful bombing results were achieved by the crews. 49 Squadron detailed 7 aircraft for the operation, but only 5 managed to become airborne from Scampton by 23.30hrs. The price of success was paid for in the loss of 9 crews out of the total force - 3 Manchesters, 3 Wellingtons, 2 Stirlings and 1 Halifax failed to return. Tragically, two extremely experienced aircraft captains and their crews from 49 Squadron were amongst those reported missing: Five crew members of the aircraft piloted by S/Ldr Peter De Mestre DSO DFC (L7469) were killed and the captain plus two others were reported missing.
S/L P.M. De Mestre DSO DFC Pilot (Missing)
Sgt A.F. Buttel RAAF 2nd Pilot (Killed)
P/O R.H.J. Thorndyke A/OB (Missing)
F/S M.E. Whitehill RAAF A/G (Killed)
Sgt G.C. Whitfield W/AG (Killed)
Sgt L.J. Jones W/AG (Missing)
Sgt D.S. Halliday W/AG (Killed)
Their Manchester was intercepted at 3500m over the North Sea, 20km NW of Borkum by a night-fighter captained by Nacht Jagd "Experten" Oblt Ludwig Becker (VI/NJG2) and shot down at 0044 for his 20th Abschusse.
The aircraft crashed into the North Sea with the loss of all seven crew, three of which have no known grave.