Flying Officer Thomas Edward William DAVIS

Service No: 420173
Born: Sydney NSW, 10 December 1922
Enlisted in the RAAF: 11 October 1941
Unit: No. 467 Squadron, RAF Waddington, Lincolnshire
Died: Air Operations: (No. 467 Squadron Lancaster aircraft R5485), France, 19 July 1944, Aged 21 Years
Buried: Heiltz-Le-Maurupt Churchyard, Marne, France
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Thomas and Amy Florence Davis, of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.
Roll of Honour: Sydney NSW
Remembered: Panel 110, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT

Revigny, already the objective of two abortive raids by other groups on 12th-13th and 14th-15th July, was nominated as a target for No. 5 Group on 18th-19th July. This was an ill-fated attack as no fewer than 24 of the force of 110 bombers failed to return to base. It was a case of the elaborate nightly RAF tactical deception plan misfiring for once. The enemy ignored the raid against Scholven-Buer, being deceived into thinking it was a diversionary sweep. The Luftwaffe’s strength in Belgium was sent westward into France and ran headlong into the force attacking Revigny. Fighter attacks began over the target and the fighters then hung determinedly around the skirts of the retiring bombers until they crossed the coast. Few crews saw obvious signs of success because long-delay fuses were again used, but later evidence showed that after the attack only one through line remained open. One RAAF pilot criticised the chosen route, which crossed an active searchlight belt in the Pas de Calais. After seeing four Lancasters shot down over the target within two minutes he swung out of the stream and skirted this searchlight belt and reported that other aircraft which had kept to track were shot down. Australian losses were particularly severe. Aircraft piloted by Flying Officer Beverley Hudson Gifford (415220) and Flying Officer James Robert Worthington (406417) of No. 463, Flying Officer Thomas Edward William Davis (420173) and Flying Officer David Beharrie (418334) of No. 467, Flying Officer William David Appleyard (415716) of No. 49, Flying Officer Frank Francis Molinas (425454) of No. 619 and Flying Officer Peter Buck Dennett (418927), Flying Officer Gordon Edward Maxwell (425331) and Flying Officer Bruce William Brittain (414756) (Flight Sergeant Gordon Edwin Beckhouse (424354) (Wireless Air Gunner)) of No. 630 were all shot down.

Herington, J. (John) Air War Over Europe 1944-1945, Australian War Memorial, Canberra, 1963 Pages 236-7

Lancaster R5845 took off from RAF Waddington at 2256 hours on the night of 18/19th July 1944 to destroy a railway junction at Revigny, France. Bomb load 11 x 1000 lb (pound) (450 kg), 3 x 500 lb (225 kg) bombs. Nothing was heard from the aircraft after take off and it did not return to base. Eight aircraft from the Squadron took part in the raid and two of these including R5845 failed to return. Post war it was established that the aircraft when homebound was intercepted by a night fighter.

The crew members of R5485 were:

Flight Sergeant Colin Frederick Allen (434218) (Air Gunner)
Flying Officer Thomas Edward William Davis (420173) (Pilot)
Pilot Officer Mark William Edgerley (417466) (Navigator) Evaded Capture, Discharged from the RAAF: 4 March 1946
Flying Officer E F Haddlesey DFC (26846) (RCAF) (Air Gunner) PoW
Sergeant Dennis Vaughan Kelly (418751) (Wireless Operator Air Gunner) Evaded Capture, Discharged from the RAAF: 21 August 1945
Sergeant W F Marshall (650996) (RAF) (Flight Engineer) Evaded Capture
Flight Sergeant Lawrence William McGowen (424274) (Bomb Aimer) Evaded Capture, Discharged from the RAAF: 13 September 1945

In a Feb 1945 report Pilot Officer Edgerley said “I baled out at 0240 hours on 19 July and landed near Heilitz-le Maurupt. I buried my chute and Mae West in the undergrowth and set out walking west along a river. Next day I met a Frenchman who said he could help me. He took me to a house in Juissecourt-Minecourt where I stayed four weeks. On 19 August taken to a farmhouse outside Cheminon where I remained until 1st September 1944 when Allied troops entered town. On 2 Sept sent to Paris and interrogated by IS9. Arrived UK September 44.

No. 463 Squadron lost Lancaster DV374 (Flying Officer James Robert Worthington (406417) (Pilot)) on 19 July 1944.

No. 463 Squadron lost Lancaster LM551 (Flying Officer Beverley Hudson Gifford (415520) (Pilot)) on 19 July 1944.

No. 467 Squadron lost Lancaster PB234 (Flying Officer David Beharrie (418334) (Pilot)) on 19 July 1944.


Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour On-Line Records (RAAF Casualty Information compiled by Alan Storr (409804))
Commonwealth War Graves Commission On-Line Records
Department of Veteran’s Affairs On-Line WWII Nominal Roll
National Archives of Australia On-Line Record A705, 166/9/357

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