Richard Thurston (Dick) HAWTHORN


HAWTHORN, Richard Thurston

Service Number: 431448
Enlisted: 2 July 1943, Melbourne, Vic.
Last Rank: Flight Sergeant
Last Unit: No. 463 Squadron (RAAF)
Born: Mildura, VIC, 19 May 1925
Home Town: Red Cliffs, Mildura Shire, Victoria
Schooling: Mildura High School
Occupation: Not yet discovered
Died: Flying Battle, Germany, 7 December 1944, aged 19 years
Cemetery: Hanover War Cemetery
5 F 18
Memorials: Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, International Bomber Command Centre Memorial, Mildura High School WW2 Honour Roll
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World War 2 Service

3 Sep 1939: Involvement Flight Sergeant, SN 431448
2 Jul 1943: Enlisted Royal Australian Air Force, Flight Sergeant, SN 431448, No. 463 Squadron (RAAF), Melbourne, Vic.

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Biography contributed by Faithe Jones

Son of Henry Rupert and Ruby Amelia Hawthorn, of Red Cliffs, Victoria


Final honours
for WWII crew
By Andrew Stackpool
SEVEN of the more than 4000 RAAF airmen who lost their lives over Europe and the UK in World War II have been laid to rest. Defence Attache to Berlin, Group Captain Steven Huckstepp, representing CAF, Air Force members in the UK on Exercise Longlook and other Air Force representatives joined family members at the Flanover War Cemetery
on September 1 3 as the remains of the last three crew-members of No. 463 Squadron Lancaster PB290 were interred with full military honours. 
The Lancaster's crew were the pilot Flying Officer Richard Young, navigator Flying Officer Alan Bond, wireless operator Flying Officer Gwynne Thomas, bomb aimer Flying  Officer Henry MacMeikan, mid upper gunner Flight Sergeant Richard Hawthorn, rear gunner Flight Sergeant Joslyn Henderson, and flight engineer Sergeant Phillip Gwynne.
On December 7, 1 944, the aircraft was shot down by a German Ju-88 night fighter and crashed about 3km northeast of Giessen, Germany. After the crash, the bodies of  Flying Officers Young and MacMeikan, Flight Sergeant Hawthorn and Sergeant Gwynne were recovered and buried in the Giessen local cemetery.
At the time, the remains of Flight Sergeant Hawthorn could not be identified, but were buried with the others at Giessen. After the war, all four were exhumed and re-buried at  Hanover War Cemetery.
In 2004, a group of German amateur historians, who describe themselves as an "aircraft recovery team", discovered part of the aircraft's wreckage with some human remains  and notified the Australian Embassy in Berlin. Wing Commander Rowley Tompsett, who led the Air Force party for the service, said the Embassy notified Air Force Headquarters.
"We gave approval for them to go ahead and then arranged with a couple of local forensic experts to have a look at the remains for us," he said. Air Force provided the  available records and "from that we were able to establish the identities of the three remaining aircrew Flying Officers Bond and Thomas, and Flight Sergeant Henderson. We  then were able to identify the unknown body at Hanover as Flight Sergeant Hawthorn.
"The job then became the appropriate burial of the remains and, as is our practice, even 60 years after the end of the war, we normally bury our personnel in the nearest  available Commonwealth War graves cemetery, in this case Hanover."
Air Force made arrangements with Berlin for a full military funeral. Headquarters contacted relatives of the three men and then two of the families were escort ed to Germany,  where they were joined by the third. After arriving, the group visited the crash site, which Wing Commander Tompsett described as "a very peaceful spot, a clearing in the  forest. It was very emotional for them."
As well as the Australians, the local Luftwaffe commander, the four historians, an old man who as a 12-year-old boy was an eyewitness to the crash and local officials attended the funeral.
"It was a very emotional time, especially for the families, but one which I think they appreciated," Wing Commander Tompsett said. Along with the Australian Government, Air  Fame News acknowledges the efforts of German historian Mr Mirko Mank, forensic anthropologist Dr Kirsten Kreutz and forensic specialist Dr Marcel Verhoff, whose discovery of the wreck and dedication in identifying the remains made the service possible. (