Pilot Officer Robert James CHALMERS

Service No: 428296
Born: Footscray VIC, 17 March 1924
Enlisted in the RAAF: 10 October 1942
Unit: No. 1660 Conversion Unit (RAF), RAF station Swinderby
Died: Aircraft Accident (No. 1660 Conversion Unit Stirling aircraft EH977), Lincolnshire, 5 November 1944, Aged 20 Years
Buried: Cambridge City Cemetery, Cambridgeshire
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Robert James Chalmers and of Mary Somerville Chalmers, of West Footscray, Victoria, Australia
Roll of Honour: Footscray VIC
Remembered: Panel 120, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT

On 5 November 1944, Stirling EH977 was returning to Swinderby from a cross country night exercise, when the Pilot asked for an emergency landing as the starboard outer had suddenly cut. He was given prepare to land by the Flying Control Officer and this was acknowledged. The Flying Control Officer then reported that the Pilot then said the starboard outer has started again and he would be OK. He called “upwind” and “crosswind”, and would appear to have switched to R/T on the call “downwind”, when the Control heard another member of the crew say another engine has gone. I checked up with the AFC as to where the aircraft was and he said he was going “downwind”, but was very low. I then saw the aircraft turn to starboard sharply, hit the ground and burst into flames. The first call was 2230 hours and the aircraft crashed at 2240 hours. The aircraft crashed on Bassington Fen, 8 miles south south west of Lincoln, and the crew of seven was killed. The findings of an Inquiry into the accident that an engine had failed, but feathering action had been applied to one of the functioning motors.

The crew members of EH977 were:

Flying Officer Neville Urbane Bibb (154627) (RAFVR) (Air Bomber)
Pilot Officer Robert James Chalmers (428296) (Pilot)
Flight Sergeant Kevin James Gerathy (420873) (Wireless Air Gunner)
Sergeant Michael Arthur Rand (1880956) (RAFVR) (Flight Engineer)
Sergeant Walter Barton Telford (2212933) (RAFVR) (Rear Gunner)
Sergeant Sidney Frederick Weedon (1604605) (RAFVR) (Navigator)
Sergeant Wilfred Fitton Whalley (2218734) (RAFVR) (Mid Upper Gunner)


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
National Archives of Australia On-Line Record A705, 166/7/692

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