Flight Sergeant Ronald Herbert LAWN

Service No: 427652
Born: Boulder WA, 24 April 1912
Enlisted in the RAAF: 16 August 1942
Unit: No. 460 Squadron, RAF Binbrook, Lincolnshire
Died: Air Operations: (No. 460 Squadron Lancaster aircraft JB606), Germany, 2 January 1944, Aged 31 Years
Buried: Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery, Germany
CWGC Additional Information: Son of George Herbert and Esther Ellen Lawn; husband of Leonie Beatrice Lawn, of Subiaco, Western Australia.
Roll of Honour: Subiaco WA
Remembered: Panel 107, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT
Remembered: Cenotaph Undercroft, State War Memorial, Kings Park WA
Remembered: Honour Avenues, Kings Park WA

Date: 2-3 January 1944
Target: Berlin
Total Force: Dispatched – 383, Attacking – 311
RAAF Force: No. 460 Dispatched – 19, Attacking – 15; No. 463 Dispatched – 8, Attacking – 6; No. 467 Dispatched – 8, Attacking – 7
Tons of Bombs Dropped: 1,116
Total Aircraft Lost: 27
RAAF Aircraft Lost: No. 460 – 1; No. 463 – 1

Note: The above table does not include the loss on take-off of No. 460 Squadron Lancaster JB738.

Equally disappointing was the repeat attack made the following night when a number of small factors again combined to prevent good results. Five of thirteen Lancasters of No. 467 could not be prepared in time and one of No. 460 crashed on take-off. The late start made to avoid moonlight and gale conditions over Germany ruled out feint routeing tactics, and the bomber stream was hotly beset throughout its passage. Icing conditions forced several crews to jettison all or part of their bomb load before reaching Berlin, and some crews who received orders during flight to abandon their sortie had actually bombed alternative targets before over-riding instructions were issued for them to carry on to Berlin. The capital was still covered by cloud and the Australians, worried persistently by a swarm of night fighters, were forced to choose between widely-placed sky markers. There was little confidence in the accuracy of the bombing. The casualty rate (nearly 7 per cent) compared with the military results of these last two attacks appeared unduly high.

Extract from Herington, J. (John) (406545) Air War Against Germany and Italy 1939-1943, Australian War Memorial, Canberra, 1954 – Pages 643-4

Lancaster JB606 took off from RAF Binbrook on 2 January 1944 to bomb Berlin. Bomb load 1 x 4000 lb (pound) (1,800 kg) bomb, 48 x 30 lb (14 kg), 840 x 4 lb (2 kg) incendiaries. Twenty aircraft from the squadron were detailed to take part in the raid. Nothing was heard from the aircraft after take off and it did not return to base. It was established post war that the aircraft crashed at approximately 0300 hours on 2 January 1944 2 kms from Muckendorf (1).

The crew members of JB606 were:

Pilot Officer Henry Edward Bennett (14538) (RAFVR) (Air Gunner)
Flight Sergeant Lambert Albert Chester (420146) (Wireless Operator Air Gunner)
Sergeant William Fleming (1294322) (RAFVR) (Flight Engineer)
Flight Sergeant Ronald Herbert Lawn (427652) (Air Gunner)
Flying Officer Aubrey Robinson (420402) (Bomb Aimer)
Flight Sergeant Reginald William Rowley (409747) (Pilot)
Flying Officer Edward Charles Truscott (409619) (Navigator)

(1) The Missing Research and Enquiry Team report shows the aircraft lost about 0300 hours on 2 January 1944 and casualty dates have been taken from this document. The report was compiled some two years after the event and relied on information to be translated and almost certainly states the loss occurring 24 hours earlier that it happened. JB606 was tasked to fly on the night of 2/3 January 1944 (No. 460 Squadron Operations Record Book shown at NAA A9186, 147) and the aircraft could not have been over Germany until the early hours of 3 January 1944.

No. 460 Squadron lost Lancaster JB738 (Flight Lieutenant Barring Armitage Knyvett (402869) (Pilot)) on 2 January 1944.

No. 463 Squadron lost Lancaster JA902 (Pilot Officer Jack Weatherill (410021) (Pilot)) on 2/3 January 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, 166/24/249


Firkins, P. C. (Peter Charles) (441386) Strike and Return, Westward Ho Publishing City Beach WA, 1985

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