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Mission: Reconnaissance

Date: 30th October 1939 (Monday)

Unit: No. 139 Squadron

Type: Blenheim IV

Serial: N6234

Code: XD-E

Base: Wyton, Cambridgeshire

Location: Gross Berssen, Germany

Pilot: P/O. William George McCracken 36157 R.A.F. Age 21. Killed

Obs: Sgt. Stanley Robert Mitchell 580376 R.A.F. Age 24. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: A/C Ist class Robert Boaler Smith 526371 R.A.F. Age 21. Killed


Took off at 10.26 hrs from Wyton in Cambridgeshire on a reconnaissance flight. Crashed at Gross Berssen 10 km North of Haselunne - reasons unknown but probably by flak.
F/O McCracken graduated as a pilot in the Royal Australian Air Force in June, 1938, he enlisted in the Royal Air Force on a short-service commission a month later.  He was educated in Melbourne first at Caulfield Technical School and later at Melbourne High School.

Report in the "Argus" Newspaper - Melbourne Australia
(Courtesy Geoff Swallow)

rheinberg-war-cemetery003aweb  reichswald-forest-war-cemetery
Above left: Rheinberg War Cemetery (Courtesy C.W.G.C.) right: Reichswald Forest War Cemetery (Courtesy Geoff Swallow)

Special memorial to P/O. McCracken (Courtesy Geoff Swallow)

Burial details:

P/O. William George McCracken. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery Spec Memorial No.9 Son of William Gracen McCracken and Lillian McCracken, of St. Kilda, Victoria, Australia.

Sgt. Stanley Robert Mitchell. Rheinberg War Cemetery Joint grave 17.B.10. (1) Son of Robert and Louisa Alice Mitchell.

A/C Ist class Robert Boaler Smith. Rheinberg War Cemetery Grave 17.B.9. Son of George Allcroft Smith and Jessie Brown Smith, of Wellow, Nottinghamshire.

(1) Reported in some publications as "no known grave".

Researched by Geoff Swallow for the A.R. Society. Acknowledgments: With thanks to the following: Australian National Archives, Bill Chorley - "Bomber Command Losses", the superb work of the C.W.G.C.

The British Library is preserving this site for the future in the UK Web Archive at All Aircrew Remembered on our Remembrance pages, are therefor not just remembered here, but also subsequently remembered and recorded as part of our nation’s history
and heritage at The British Library.