Evan Charles Patten, born 15th February 1922, lived in Hawthorn, Victoria before enlisting in the RAAF at 1 Receiving Centre, Melbourne on the 15th August 1941. His initial posting was to 1 Initial Training School (1ITS) at Somers Victoria as an Aircraftsman. At the end of this training he was promoted to Leading Aircraftsman and, on the 16th October 1941, was sent to 1 Wireless and Air Gunnery School (1WAGS) at Ballarat which he successfully completed on the 25th of June 1942. From there, he was stationed at 3 Bomb Aimers and Air Gunnery School (3BAGS) to complete a further Gunnery Course. On the 23rd of July 1942 Evan Patten was promoted to Sergeant and granted his Air Gunners Badge.
A week later he was sent to 1 Embarkation Depot (1ED) to await an overseas posting. Sergeant Patten sailed from Sydney for the UK on the 24th of August and arrived there on the 18th of November 1942. After a month in the UK, Sergeant Patten commenced further gunnery training at 6 Advanced Flying Unit (6AFU) as well as a Wireless Operators Course. At the completion of the courses on the 26th of January 1943, he was promoted again. This time to Flight Sergeant.
After a week's leave, Flight Sergeant Patten arrived at 27 Operational Training Unit (27OTU), Lichfield, to become part of a bomber crew. He formed part of a crew with F/Sgt N Peters. The crew consisted of:
Pilot: F/Sgt N Peters RAAF
Engineer: F/Sgt H Cheslin RAAF
Bomb Aimer: P/O E Roser RAAF
Navigator: F/Sgt A Llewellyn RAAF
Wireless Operator: F/Sgt E Patten RAAF
Mid Upper Gunner: F/Sgt C Slough RCAF
Rear Gunner: F/Sgt H Britten RAAF
On the 1st of May 1943, the crew completed their training and moved to 1656 Conversion Unit, at Lindholme, for conversion to Lancasters. Nearly two months later, the crew received its posting to the Australian 460 Squadron based at Binbrook.
On the 14th of August Patten, along with many of the crew, was commissioned as Pilot Officer. By the end of November 1943, the crew had completed their tour and P/O Patten was sent back to 27 OTU, but this time as a Wireless Instructor. He became a Flying Officer on the 14th of February 1944. It was here that he came to the notice of Squadron Leader Langlois who asked him if he would like to form part of a crew for a second tour. On the 24th of May 1944, he became part of S/Ldr Langlois's crew and they began training together at 51 Base Conversion Unit.
Pilot: S/Ldr E langlois RAAF
Engineer: F/Sgt J Scott RAF
Bomb Aimer: F/O L Baines RCAF
Navigator: F/O A Reid RAAF
Wireless Operator: F/O E Patten RAAF
Mid Upper Gunner: F/O C Cameron RAAF
Rear Gunner: F/O M Hamilton RAAF
A month later they moved to 1661 conversion to continue their training on the Lancaster.
At the end of July the crew was ready and they were posted to RAAF 463 Squadron, based at Waddington. Between the 11th of August and the 9th of October the crew completed 11 missions. At this point, S/Ldr Langlois was asked to transfer to 467 Squadron, also based at Waddington to lead one flight. The crew completed a further six successful missions between then and the end of February 1945.
On the 3rd of March 1945, the crew were part of a raid on the Dortmund-Ems canal at Ladbergen. After an uneventful flight to the target, they were attacked by an ME110 as they neared the target. F/O Taylor, the Rear Gunner, fired at and hit the enemy aircraft and it broke off the attack. Almost immediately they were attacked by a second ME110. This time, flown by Major Wolfgang Schnauffer, the attack was successful. The Lancaster was hit in the bomb bay and a fire started. S/Ldr Langlois ordered the crew to bail out. All of the crew managed to escape the burning aircraft and parachute to safety. F/O Taylor and F/O Willmot (Bomb Aimer) were captured and were sent to POW camps. The remainder of the crew, including F/O Patten, were thought to be captured by the SS and were executed. Their remains have never been found.