Warrant Officer Keith Stuart WEDGWOOD

454 RAAF Squadron

Pilot No. 401260

Date of birth:  10 April 1915

Place of Birth: Melbourne Vic

Date of Enlistment: 5 Jan 1941

Next of Kin : Elspetch Wedgwood

Killed in Action:  23 July 1943

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OPERATION "THESIS"

A retaliatory raid that would be a large combined air strike against various ports and military establishments on Crete.  8 crews were chosen for this mission.  

Squadron Leader L.H. Folkard, RAFVR

 

FLIGHT CREW -  FA 390 - FIRST WAVE - 23.7.1943

Squadron Leader L.H. Folkard, RAFVR - POW

Flying Officer D.F. Hutchinson, RAAF - POW

Flying Officer W.W. Dyer, RAFVR - POW

Warrant Officer K.S. Wedgwood - KIA

 

One of 8 crews selected for the "Thesis" Raid of Crete was to relieve pressure from the German operation "Huskey" - the Allied invasion of Sicily and avenge the execution of 100 Cretans who had been shot after assisting a Commando raid on the island.

 

454 were to provide 2 box formations of 4 aircraft each - each loaded with six 250 lb bombs.  A 230 mile flight.  The mission resulted in 5 aircraft lost over Crete.  

 

Folkard's crew were 100 feet above Suda Bay and the ground fire was intense, the aircraft was hit with serious damage.  Folkhard managed to crash land on a sandy beach near Heraklion.

 

You can read more about this mission in Mark Lax's book "Alamein To The Alps", and other crew pages of Aircraft FA409  

 

Doug Hutchinson, an Australian describes in Mark's book his experience.... "I dragged Keith Wedgwood through the gap left by the broken turret, I dragged him clear of the burning aircraft, but he appeared to be dead.  I then had to turn my attention to the others who needed help."  During all of this Doug did not realise that part of his left foot was missing.

Buried at the Commonwealth War Cemetery, Suda Bay, Greece

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