Group portrait of the crew of "K" for Kitty, a Vickers Wellington bomber of 458 Squadron RAAF ...

Accession Number P05660.001
Collection type Photograph
Object type Black & white - Print silver gelatin
Maker Unknown
Date made 12 December 1941
Conflict Second World War, 1939-1945

Item copyright: Copyright expired - public domain

Public Domain Mark This item is in the Public Domain


Group portrait of the crew of "K" for Kitty, a Vickers Wellington bomber of 458 Squadron RAAF after a raid. Identified, left to right: 404455 Sergeant (Sgt) James Howard "Rupe" Holmes, captain of Brisbane, Qld; 404611 Sgt Sven Ivanouw Hansen, 2nd pilot of Brisbane, Qld; 1261126 Sgt Les H Empson RAF, front gunner; 407199 Sgt Robert McKerlie (Bob) Croft, rear gunner of Adelaide, SA; probably 404343 Sgt Norman Henry Kobelke, observer of Brisbane, Qld (originally of Bulawayo, Rhodesia); 1283720 Sgt Ken A Cousins, RAF, wireless operator. Croft was later lost on operations whilst flying with 463 Squadron RAAF. The accident report describes the events: Lancaster LL882 took off from RAF Waddington at 2200 hours on the night of 10/11th May 1944 to bomb the marshalling yards at Lille, France. Bomb load 1 x 4000lb and 16 x 500lb bombs. Nothing was heard from the aircraft after take off and it did not return to base. Fourteen aircraft from the Squadron took part in the raid and three of these including LL882 failed to return. Post war it was established that the aircraft was shot down by a night fighter and dived into an old waterlogged clay pit at the Dumoulin brickworks some 2kms west of Langemark (West-Vlaanderen) and about 8kms north of Ieper (Ypres). All the crew were killed and they are buried in the Wevelgem Communal Cemetery which is located about 22kms east of Ieper a town centre on the Meenseweg NB connecting Ieper to Menin, Wevelgem and Kortrijk, Belgium. The crew were: RAAF 402817 Sqn Ldr M Powell, DFC Captain (Pilot); RAF FO Jaques, R (Navigator); RAF Flt Sgt B Fraser, (Bomb Aimer); RAAF 406700 Flt Lt Read, W N (Wireless Operator Air Gunner); RAF Sgt H L Molyneux, (Flight Engineer); RAAF 407199 FO Croft, R McK (Air Gunner); RAAF 407821 FO Croston, D P (Air Gunner).