John Samuel FREETH


FREETH, John Samuel

Service Number: 411768
Enlisted: 25 May 1941
Last Rank: Sergeant
Last Unit: No. 455 Squadron (RAAF)
Born: Coogee, Randwick, New South Wales, 23 May 1920
Home Town: Coogee, Randwick, New South Wales
Schooling: Not yet discovered
Occupation: Jewelry Salesman Angus & Coote Sydney
Died: Accidental (Flying Accident), North Sea, 24 May 1943, aged 23 years
Cemetery: No known grave - "Known Unto God"
Memorials: Australian War Memorial, Roll of Honour, Runnymede Air Forces Memorial
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World War 2 Service

25 May 1941: Enlisted Royal Australian Air Force, Aircraftman, SN 411768, Aircrew Training Units
26 May 1941: Involvement Royal Australian Air Force, Aircraftman, SN 411768, Aircrew Training Units, Empire Air Training Scheme
10 Jan 1943: Involvement Royal Australian Air Force, Sergeant, SN 411768, No. 455 Squadron (RAAF), Battle of the Atlantic - RAN and RAAF Operations

The Death of U-227

30 April 1943

The spring of 1943 saw desperate British efforts to cover the 'Northern Transit Zone' between the Shetland and Faeroe islands, where U-boats leaving Germany entered the Atlantic. Part of this effort included patrols by twin-engined Hampden torpedo bombers of 455 RAAF Squadron. The Australian crews had to improvise, without any specialised training or equipment for this role. They flew many lonely missions in their slow and obsolete aircraft, which also lacked search radar. Despite this, Hampden X/455, flying from Sumburgh in the Orkneys, at the far northern tip of the UK, spotted U-227 north of the Shetlands. The Hampden's pilot, Sergeant J. S. Freeth, executed two accurate depth-charge attacks to sink the boat. None of the U-boat men survived. They had been outward bound on their maiden voyage.

Sgt Freeth was killed in a flying accident three weeks later.

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