Thomas William HENNESSY


HENNESSY, Thomas William

Service Number: 412314
Enlisted: 22 June 1941, Sydney
Last Rank: Flight Sergeant
Last Unit: No. 115 Squadron (RAF)
Born: Kempsey, New South Wales, 22 February 1913
Home Town: Kempsey, Kempsey, New South Wales
Schooling: Not known
Occupation: Sawmiller & Buttermaker
Died: Lost due to enemy action over Germany on Night Bombing raid to Frankfurt , Germany, 18 March 1944, aged 31 years
Cemetery: Rheinberg War Cemetery, Germany
Plot 8, Row B, Grave 15
Memorials: Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour
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World War 2 Service

22 Jun 1941: Enlisted Royal Australian Air Force, Leading Aircraftman, SN 412314, Aircrew Training Units, Sydney
22 Jun 1941: Involvement Royal Australian Air Force, Leading Aircraftman, SN 412314, Aircrew Training Units, Empire Air Training Scheme
18 Mar 1944: Involvement Royal Australian Air Force, Flight Sergeant, SN 412314, No. 115 Squadron (RAF), Air War NW Europe 1939-45

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Tom Hennessy enlisted and trained as an Air Gunner under the Empire Air Training Scheme.  He eventually crewed with 115 Squadron RAF where he flew as the mid-upper gunner, operating the turret atop the fuselage,  in a Lancaster Mk II.  He was the only Australian in the crew although there was also a Kiwi and a Canadian, so the crew was representative of the Commonwealth aircrew the Empire AIr Training Scheme was designed to produce.

Tom Hennessy and his crew took off as one of a force of 846 aircraft including 620 Lancaster, 209 Halifaxes and 17 Mosquitoes, tasked to attack Frankfurt that night. This was the largest number of Lancasters used in one raid and the largest quantity of bombs dropped in the war to that date. A total of 22 (10 Lancasters, 12 Halifaxes) aircraft, 2.60 percent of the force were lost that night.

One other Lancaster (DS629) was lost that night from 115 Squadron. It crashed on landing and was damaged beyond repair.

The aircraft crashednear Fohren-Linden, Rhineland-Palatinate/Saarland Border, Germany
Approx. 40 Km. NNE of Saarbrucken, 60 Km. East of Luxembourg.
‘300 metres right of the main road from Baumholder to Berschweiler, on arable
land in the vicinity of Fohren-Linden’ (Map Ref: K50/L.675100)

Six of the crew died in the crash.  The Flight Engineer, FSGT Price survived and was captured PoW.

The Interment

The bodies of the crew members who lost their lives were recovered from the wreckage by the German authorities and interred in a communal grave in the Thallichtenberg Cemetery (Map Ref: K50/L.710067), 5 Km form the crash site. The grave was ‘4 yards inside gate on left’ and marked with a cross inscribed: 6 Unknown English Flyers 18.3.44.

After exhumation on 10 May 1948 the individual identity of the remains was established and re-interred in the Rheinburg Military War Cemetery, Germany (Map Ref: K52/A.188264). The cemetary is 3 kilometres south of Rheinburg town centre on the road to Kamp Lintford. The crew are buried in consecutive plots, 8.B.14 to 8.B.19 inclusive. Over 3,300 British and Commonwealth servicemen are buried here.


Tom Hennessey is memorialised at Kempsey, his home town.


Biography contributed by Elizabeth Allen

Thomas William HENNESSY was born on22nd February, 1913 in Kempsey, New South Wales

His parents were Herbert HENNESSY & Mary Alice WARD who married in Kempsey in 1899