Keith Courtney DONALD

DONALD, Keith Courtney

Service Number: 426265
Enlisted: 25 May 1942
Last Rank: Flight Sergeant
Last Unit: No. 466 Squadron (RAAF)
Born: Townsville, Qld., 30 March 1923
Home Town: Cardwell, Queensland
Schooling: Toowoomba Grammar School, Townsville Grammar School
Occupation: Clerk at Standply Timber Company
Died: Flying Battle, Denmark, 16 September 1944, aged 21 years
Cemetery: Aabenraa Cemetery
5 13, Aabenraa Cemetery, Aabenraa, Sonderjylland, Denmark
Memorials: Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, Cardwell War Memorial, Qld, City of Townsville WW2 HR, International Bomber Command Centre Memorial, Toowoomba Grammar School WW2 Honour Board, Toowoomba WW2 Roll of Honour Book, Townsville Grammar School Roll of Honour, Townsville Grammar School War Service Honour Roll
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World War 2 Service

3 Sep 1939: Involvement Flight Sergeant, 426265
25 May 1942: Enlisted Royal Australian Air Force, Flight Sergeant, 426265
16 Sep 1944: Enlisted Royal Australian Air Force, Flight Sergeant, 426265, No. 466 Squadron (RAAF)

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Biography contributed by Faithe Jones

Son of James Stirling Donald and Mary Clare Donald, of South Townsville, Queensland

Flight Sergeant Keith Donald was a Wireless Operator and member of the crew of a No. 466 Squadron Royal Australian Air Force Halifax Bomber MZ915 that left its base at Royal Air Force Station Driffield to attack a target at Keil in Germany that crashed at Osterholm in Denmark on the 15th/16th September 1944.

Before you receive this letter, you will have been notified by the Air Board, Melbourne, that your son, Flight Sergeant Keith Courtney Donald, was reported missing from an operational flight from this country.  It is with deep regret that I am writing to confirm this unhappy news and to convey to you the heartfelt sympathy of the Squadron in your great anxiety.

The aircraft, in which your son was Wireless Operator, took off to carry out an attack on enemy territory, but unfortunately it did not return.  This flight was one of those great efforts called for from the Royal Australian Air Force, which we all hope have contributed enormously to the shortening of the war.  It was undertaken with resolution and efficiency, so typical of your son and his crew.  They set an example on the Squadron during the short time that they were with us, which was an inspiration to all.  The most searching enquiries through all possible channels have so far revealed nothing, but naturally it will take some time for possible information to reach this country from enemy sources.  Meanwhile we can only hope that Flight Sergeant Donald and the other members of his crew are prisoners of war.  May I express my personal sympathy and profound regret that it should fall to my lot to convey to you tidings such as these knowing as I do what an anxious time it will mean to you.  Yours sincerely.

“PERSONAL – Word has been received by Mr and Mrs J.S. Donald, 6 Hubert Street, South Townsville, that their second son, Flight Sergeant Keith Courtney Donald, has been reported missing after an operational flight in the European area. Keith was of a cheery temperament, just 21 years of age, and had marked success in his examinations in Canada and England under the Empire Training Scheme. Flight Sergeant Donald received his education at the Toowoomba and Townsville Grammar Schools. An enthusiastic footballer, he played with the Estates football club, and at date of enlistment was employed in the office of Standply Ltd., Kennedy. The Donald family have their only three sons in the fighting forces.”

In September 1946 No. 18 Section of the Missing Research & Enquiry Service exhumed the bodies in the cemetery and another two that had been buried in a wood near Norreskev. As a result of the exhumation of the bodies it was possible to positively identify 9 members of the two aircraft and they were reburied in individual graves. It was not possible to identify the remains of Keith Donald and four others therefore they were buried in a communal grave alongside the graves of those that were identified in the Aabenraa Cemetery, Denmark.