LEST WE FORGET

Wing Commander Francis Blomfield CHAPMAN DFC

Commanding Officer, No. 20 Squadron

Service No: 271349
Born: Uralla NSW, 20 November 1911
Enlisted in the RAAF: 19 July 1932 (at RAAF Station Point Cook VIC)
Unit: No. 20 Squadron, Cairns QLD
Awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC), 23 April 1943 (Citation Title: No. 11 Squadron)
Died: Air Operations: Wau and the Bismarck Sea (No. 20 Squadron Catalina aircraft A24-22), off Gasmata New Britain, 8 March 1943, Aged 31 Years
Buried: Unrecovered
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Christopher Charles and Catharina Chapman; husband of Bernice Chapman, of Edgecliffe, New South Wales.
Roll of Honour: Brisbane QLD
Remembered: Panel 34, Rabaul Memorial, PNG
Remembered: Panel 101, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT
Remembered: Catalina Base Memorial, Rathmines NSW
Remembered: Rathmines Memorial Bowling Club, Rathmines NSW

Squadron Leader Chapman was an Australian Cadet trained for the RAF who embarked for the UK on 2 December 1933. He returned following the expiry of his Short Service Commission with the RAF and continued service with the RAAF.

On 8 March 1943, Catalina A24-22 was reported to have caught fire over the Solomon Sea, thirty miles southeast of Gasmata, and subsequently failed to return to base. The crew was posted as missing.

The crew members of A24-22 were:

Leading Aircraftman Colin Neville Anderson (42147) (Armourer)
Flying Officer Malcolm Bradshaw (406749) (Wireless Air Gunner)
Wing Commander Francis Blomfield Chapman DFC (271349) (Pilot)
Flying Officer Stanley Alfred Deacon (255057) (Radar Operator)
Sergeant John Edward Dewhurst (5219) (Fitter II Engines)
Leading Aircraftman Robert George Docking (19968) (Fitter II Engines)
Flight Sergeant Lloyd George Stanley (404027) (Wireless Air Gunner)
Sergeant Ronald Noblett Stephens (11363) (Second Pilot)
Flying Officer John Trevor David Todd (416087) (Navigator)

References:

Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour On-Line Records
Commonwealth War Graves Commission On-Line Records
Department of Veteran’s Affairs On-Line WWII Nominal Roll
National Archives of Australia On-Line Record A9845, 145
Newton, Dennis A Few of the Few: Australians and the Battle of Britain, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT 2600, 1990
Register of War Memorials in New South Wales On-Line

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