The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (409265) Flight Sergeant William Victor Bryan Winchester, 466 Squardon, RAAF, Second World War.

Accession Number AWM2018.1.1.96
Collection type Film
Object type Last Post film
Physical description 16:9
Maker Australian War Memorial
Place made Australia: Australian Capital Territory, Canberra, Campbell
Date made 6 April 2018
Access Open
Conflict Second World War, 1939-1945
Copyright Item copyright: © Australian War Memorial
Creative Commons License This item is licensed under CC BY-NC
Copying Provisions Copy provided for personal non-commercial use

The Last Post Ceremony is presented in the Commemorative area of the Australian War Memorial each day. The ceremony commemorates more than 102,000 Australians who have given their lives in war and other operations and whose names are recorded on the Roll of Honour. At each ceremony the story behind one of the names on the Roll of Honour is told. Hosted by Sharon Bown, the story for this day was on (409265) Flight Sergeant William Victor Bryan Winchester, 466 Squardon, RAAF, Second World War.

Speech transcript

409265 Flight Sergeant William Victor Bryan Winchester, 466 Squardon, RAAF
Died in flying battle 12 August 1943
Story delivered 6 April 2018

Today we remember and pay tribute to Flight Sergeant William Victor Bryan Winchester.

Bryan Winchester was born on 12 June 1918 in East Maitland, New South Wales, one of three children born to Herbert and Addie Winchester.

Winchester attended Tenambit Public School and later Maitland Boys High School. He loved sport, particularly rugby union, as well as cricket, tennis, golf, and swimming.

After completing his studies, Winchester became a teacher. By the time the Second World War began, he was teaching at Albury Grammar School.

He enlisted for service in the Royal Australian Air Force in Sydney on 20 July 1941 and was accepted for aircrew training. Over the next 11 months, Winchester had a number of postings to training schools and on 29 June 1942, he qualified as an observer.

Winchester embarked from Sydney, bound for England, on 24 August 1942. There he had several months of intense training. In January 1943 he was promoted to flight sergeant and in April, joined No. 27 Operational Training Unit.

During this period, he became part of a Wellington bomber crew. At the end of their training in July, Winchester and his crewmates were posted to No. 466 Squadron, RAAF, which was based at RAF Leconfield in Yorkshire.
On 11 August, Winchester’s crew was detailed to fly what was known as a “gardening” operation, along with seven other aircraft: they were to drop sea mines off St Nazaire to disrupt German shipping.

Shortly before midnight, the Wellington Mk X Bomber, serial number LN442, flown by Warrant Officer Edmund Fogden, took off from Leconfield. Also aboard were Flight Sergeant Bryan Winchester as bomb aimer and a third Australian, Flight Sergeant Frank Hamood, as navigator. Two British airmen completed the crew: wireless operator/ air gunner Sergeant Richard Woosnam, and gunner Sergeant Ronald Richardson.

During the early hours of 12 August, the aircraft crashed near the French town of Lorient, killing all on board. Of the eight aircraft involved in the operation, only LN442 failed to return. There is no record of what caused the aircraft to crash.

The bodies of the crewmen were recovered and laid to rest on the 14th of August in Guidel Communal Cemetery. Bryan Winchester was 25 years old.

His name is listed on the Roll of Honour on my left, among almost 40,000 Australians who died while serving in the Second World War.

This is but one of the many stories of service and sacrifice told here at the Australian War Memorial. We now remember Flight Sergeant William Victor Bryan Winchester, who gave his life for us, for our freedoms, and in the hope of a better world.

Michael Kelly
Historian, Military History Section

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