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4th Kew Scouts of note

430373 Flight Sergeant LAIDLER, Gordon James Keith

After leaving 4th Kew Scouts, Keith Laidler served in the Royal Australian Air Force, and was involved in operations during the Second World War, ending up in "operational training" as a wireless operator and air gunner on a Wellington Bomber, callsign HE 444. He had just turned 20 years old, having left Australia at 19.

On the 30th August 1944, Keith took off from RAF Moreton in the Marsh, to attack a target 58 miles from Borkum in the Frisian Islands (marked on the map below), just off the coast of Northern Germany. Nothing was heard from the aircraft after it took off and it never returned to base. Other crews in the area reported some anti aircraft fire from a flak ship near the target, and more anti aircraft fire from a convoy 10 miles off Cromer on the return journey.

Crew:
RAAF 429224 Flt Sgt Griffin, F I Captain (Pilot)
RAF Sgt Kempthorne,, R D (Navigator)
RAF Sgt Grego, G C (Air Bomber)
RAAF 430373 Flt Sgt Laidler, G J K (Wireless Operator Air Gunner)
RAF Sgt McLachlan. D C (Air Gunner)
RAF Sgt Whittle, R (Air Gunner)

Apart from an envelope being found in the sea of Cromer, with the service particulars of Sgt Grego, no trace of the missing aircraft or crew were found. Keith was reported missing, and one year later "presumed dead" (see the clipping from The Argus)

In 1949 it was finally recorded that RAAF 430373 Flt Sgt Laidler, G J K had lost his life at sea.



EAST KEW AIRMAN NOW PRESUMED DEAD

Flt-Sgt G. J. Keith Laidler, who was reported missing on August 30

1944, in air operations over the North Sea, is now presumed dead. He was aged 20, and the only son of Mr and Mrs G. W. Laidler, 14 Hunter st, East Kew, and was educated at the East Kew Central and Melbourne High schools. He was a member. of the 4th Kew Scouts, East Kew School Band, and Kew Sub-district Cricket Club. Before his enlistment he was employed in the Income Tax Department.