Flying Officer Sydney Noel CHESTERMAN

Service No: 400001
Born: Melbourne VIC, 23 May 1915
Enlisted in the RAAF: 28 April 1940
Unit: No. 8 Squadron, Kuantan, Malaya
Died: Air Operations: (No. 8 Squadron Hudson aircraft A16-11), Malaya, 24 January 1942, Aged 26 Years
Buried: Unrecovered
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Sydney Arthur and Dora Jane Chesterman; husband of Nora Joan Varley Chesterman, of Woodville, Adelaide, South Australia
Roll of Honour: Unknown
Remembered: Column 421, Singapore Memorial, Singapore
Remembered: Panel 99, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT

On the morning of 24th January two No. 8 Squadron aircraft, one piloted by Flight Lieutenant Spurgeon and the other by Flight Lieutenant Plenty (1), were about 20 miles east from Kuantan on their way back to Sembawang, when 4 Zeros intercepted them. The enemy first attacked Spurgeon’s aircraft which, after 25 minutes of combat, was forced down into the sea. Of the crew, Spurgeon and his second pilot, Flying Officer Chesterman, escaped from the sinking aircraft. Supported by their lifejackets, they drifted hour after hour, carried southward by the current. During the night Chesterman, unable to endure any longer, was drowned. Spurgeon drifted on until he was washed ashore on the island of Pulo Tioman, about 30 miles north-east of Mersing. Here members of the
Chinese community cared for him and, when he had recovered sufficiently, took him in a dug-out canoe to the mainland close to Mersing. Spurgeon then set out to tramp southward, but encountered a Japanese patrol which took him prisoner.

(1) Group Captain Herbert Clarence Plenty DFC & Bar (O3103) Discharged from the RAAF: 2 February 1976

Extract from Gillison, D.N. (Douglas Napier) (254475) Royal Australian Air Force 1939-1942, Australian War Memorial, Canberra, 1962 – Page 343

The crew members of A16-11 were:

Flying Officer Sydney Noel Chesterman (400001) (Second Pilot)
Sergeant Donald Charles Devlin (4280) (Wireless Air Gunner)
Sergeant Albert George Duxbury (400343) (Wireless Air Gunner)
Flight Lieutenant (later Air Commodore) Clarence Haddon Spurgeon (569) (O399) (Pilot) PoW, Discharged from the RAAF: 18 April 1975


Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour On-Line Records
Commonwealth War Graves Commission On-Line Records
Department of Veterans’ Affairs On-Line WWII Nominal Roll
National Archives of Australia On-Line Record A705, 163/25/105

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