Austin, Kenneth Harry

Personal Information

Rank P/O
Forename(s) Kenneth Harry
Surname Austin
Gender M
Age 29
Date of Death 23-12-1944
Next of Kin Son of Sebastian Byron Austin and Nettie Austin (née Dorman). Husband of Lila Ruth Austin (née Cameron) at Edmonton, Alberta, whom he married on 7 August 1943.

Aircraft Information

Aircraft Avro Lancaster III
Serial Number PB120
Markings 6O-F

Memorial Information

Burial/Memorial Country Germany
Burial/Memorial Place Rheinberg War Cemetery
Grave Reference Coll. grave 7. C. 22-25.

IBCC Memorial Information

Phase 2
Panel Number 125

Enlistment Information

Service Number J/90857
Service Royal Canadian Air Force
Group 8
Squadron 582
Trade Navigator
Country of Origin Canada

Miscellaneous Information

Kenneth was born on 20 December 1915 at St. John, Washington, USA. His father was born at Grand Fork, North Dakota and worked as a farmer and his mother was born at South Dakota. He was the eldest of five children having one married sister and brothers Charles, Earl and Jack. Two of his brothers were also in the RCAF. He also had five half siblings, four sisters and one brother (his parents had divorced). The schools he attended were Delburne 1922-1931 (Public), Great Bend 1931-1933 (Jnr. Matric), and Red Deer 1938-1939 (Grade 12). He then went to Normal School 1939-1940, on a teacher's course. His sport interests were softball and football. Kenneth worked for his father, painting, part time between 1933-1938. He also worked in various jobs between 1936-1937 including coal mining. He finally worked in the Peace River School Division as a teacher between 1940-1942.
He enlisted on 20 July 1940 and after training was posted to the U.K. where he arrived at 3PRC on 2 September 1943. He then progressed through 9(0)AFU 12 October 1943, 28 OTU 28 November 1943, 11 Base 31 March 1944, 101 Sqn 4 June 1944 and 582 Squadron 19 July 1944. Sadly on 23 December 1944, Kenneth was to lose his life.

Commonwealth War Graves Commission

The National Archives

Fellow Servicemen

Last Operation Information

Start Date 23-12-1944
End Date 23-12-1944
Takeoff Station Little Staughton
Day/Night Raid Day
Operation Köln- to attack the Gremberg railway yards. This raid went badly wrong. The force was split into three formations, each led by an Oboe equipped master and a similarly equipped Mosquito reserve master. Improved weather meant that the crews could bomb visually and the order was given. Tragically, the order did not reach S/L R A M Palmer's aircraft and they carried on unawares, being hit by flak on their approach but dropping their bomb load nonetheless. Soon afterwards they were set about by fighters and the aircraft was downed in the target area. S/L Palmer was posthumously awarded a VC for his valour.
Reason for Loss Hit by flak and then shot about by fighters (Me 109) before crashing on the Köln suburbs

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Casualty Pack

IBCC is delighted to introduce a unique facility to link the Losses Database to the relevant RAF Casualty Pack on the National Archives website. This project is the result of on-going collaboration between IBCC, the MOD Records Office and National Archives, Kew. This document describes what Casualty Packs are, when they were created, the process of making them available to the public and then goes on to describe the process by which you can view the contents of the packs. Casualty Packs (CPs) were created by the RAF whenever there was serious injury or loss of life associated with operational activity within the RAF. This includes operational flying losses, enemy action due to air raids, road accidents either on station or even off-station if they involved RAF vehicles. Deaths due to natural causes in service or accidents that did not involve RAF vehicles did not generally give rise to a CP.

CPs were originally given a unique reference number by the RAF. Each begins with the letter ‘P’ and is followed by six digits, then an oblique (forward slash) and the finally the year in which the incident took place- for example P396154/42.

The CPs are in the process of being made available to the general public as they are passed from the MOD Records Office, Portsmouth to National Archives, Kew. This process requires some rework to the files which is very time consuming, so the process of making them all available to National Archives will take several years. They are being made available in increasing date order.

Once CPs arrive at National Archives they are assigned a unique AIR81 number, so each CP has both a P-number and an AIR81 number. Both are searchable on the National Archives website under ‘Search the catalogue’ and both are included on the IBCC website.

The AIR81 reference on the IBCC website is a link to the file on the National Archives website. When you click on it, the relevant page will open in a new tab on your browser.

There is currently no plan to digitise AIR81 files, partly because they are fragile and partly because the information they contain can at times be sensitive, even harrowing, since they may contain exhumation reports and even photographs of corpses. Family members wishing to read the AIR81 files relating to their ancestors are advised to exercise caution and be guided by National Archives warnings where appropriate.

There are two means for accessing AIR81 files- to attend in person or to order a copy by post.

To attend in person, the attendee should first create a Reader’s Ticket. This can be done online by following this link: Then click on the AIR81 reference on the IBCC website and click Order in Advance. Enter your Reader’s Ticket number and state the date on which you intend to visit. National Archives will have the file ready for you when you arrive, saving you time. When you visit Kew, you must quote the Reader’s Ticket number and take along two forms of ID- one bearing your signature and one bearing your address. When you view the files, you are permitted to take photographs of each page, should you wish.

Alternatively, if you wish to order a copy by post, please be aware that there is a charge for this service based on the number of pages in the file. Click on the AIR81 reference on the IBCC website and then click Request a Copy. There is an £8.40 charge for National Archives staff to access the file and give you a quotation for the copying service. The process takes around 24 days to complete and can be expensive.

IBCC wishes to thank the staff at the MOD Records Office and National Archives for their engagement and assistance in making this facility available to our website users.