LEST WE FORGET
Warrant Officer Richard Anthony Barrett BLUMER
Service No: 411854
Born: Sydney NSW, 19 April 1921
Enlisted in the RAAF: 21 June 1941
Unit: No. 91 Squadron (RAF)
Died: Aircraft Accident (No. 91 Squadron Spitfire aircraft RM817), Kent, 27 June 1944, Aged 23 Years
Buried: Brookwood Military Cemetery, Surrey
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Cecil Herbert and Alice Rubie Blumer, of Croydon, New South Wales, Australia
Roll of Honour: Croydon NSW
Remembered: Panel 119, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT
On 6 November 1943, Warrant Officer Blumer in Spitfire Mk XII aircraft EN626 was shot down by anti-aircraft fire in the vicinity of Gremonville, France but evaded capture and returned safely to rejoin his Unit.
At 2230 hours on 26 June 1944 Spitfire RM817 took off from West Malling aerodrome detailed to carry out an anti-pilotless bomb patrol as Westwood White 2 with Lieutenant De Bordas as White 1 and Section Leader. When an intercept was made and while White 1 was engaged in firing, anti-aircraft gunfire caused White 2 who was flying behind White 1 to break away and the section got separated.
White 2 was heard to ask for an emergency homing which he seemed to be unable to hear clearly, and instead of reaching base White 2 landed at USAAF Station Staplehurst where the aircraft was refuelled. After obtaining permission from flying control at West Malling to land at base, White 2 took off shortly after midnight and radio contact was established at 0012 hours. All night landing facilities at West Malling were lit and at 0014 hours White 2 was seen from the Control tower approaching base from a south easterly direction, its navigation lights on and at a low height as cloud base was about 1000 feet. Three to four miles from base when flying seemed quite normal, the port wing suddenly dropped and RM817 went down vertically and the aircraft was smashed on impact.
In his remarks on a Court of Inquiry into the accident, the RAF Group Commander stated: “the pilot should not have been permitted to fly back at night to West Malling as it is close to a balloon barrage and the Spitfire Mark X1V is not a good aircraft to fly for night flying owing to exhaust fumes. There is nothing to account for the accident. A possible explanation is that while the pilot was looking intently to starboard to find base, he suddenly found the ground rising in front of him as it does in the place of the accident and he turned too sharply resulting in incipient spin. The pilot had done only 15 hours and no night flying in Spitfire Mark X1V, and the Group Commander directed that the Squadron CO, the Flight Section Leader and the Flying Control Officer should be reprimanded.”
Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour On-Line Records (RAAF Casualty Information compiled by Alan Storr (409804))
Commonwealth War Graves Commission On-Line Records
Department of Veterans’ Affairs On-Line WWII Nominal Roll
Franks, N (Norman L R), Royal Air Force Fighter Command Losses of the Second World War, Volume 2 Operational Losses: Aircraft and Crews 1942-1943, Midland Publishing Limited UK, 1998
National Archives of Australia On-Line Record A705, 166/1/333