LEST WE FORGET

Flying Officer Wallace CHISHOLM

Service No: 407410
Born: Adelaide SA, 17 October 1910
Enlisted in the RAAF: 12 October 1940
Unit: No. 36 Squadron (RAF), operating from Tjikampeh, Java
Died: Air Operations (No. 36 Squadron Vildebeest aircraft), Java, 1 March 1942, Aged 31 Years
Buried: Jakarta War Cemetery, Indonesia
CWGC Additional Information: Son of George and Ethel Chisholm; husband of Hilary Nita Chisholm, of Manly, New South Wales, Australia.
Roll of Honour: Unley SA
Remembered: Panel 120, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT
Remembered: World War II Honour Roll, National War Memorial of SA, North Terrace, Adelaide

As a result of intelligence that a major threat in the form of a landing by Japanese forces would develop in Eastern Java, No. 36 Squadron left Tjikompek with eight Vildebeestes and one Albacore and arrived at Madeon, half way between Sourabaya and Semerang and about 100 kilometres inland. They arrived about 1900 hours on 28 February and after refuelling and briefing were ready for takeoff at 2100 hours. During the night most aircraft did two sorties each.

The first part of the mission required an extensive search because reconnaissance information was inaccurate. A convoy was found, however, about 8 kilometres off the coast, north of Rembang and 160 kilometres west of Sourabaya. There were 28 ships, including a cruiser, in the convoy and most pilots claimed direct hits on transports. The squadron claimed to have sunk eight ships for the loss of three Vildebeestes during the night’s operations. Americans, also based at Madeon and operating with Flying Fortresses, claimed to have sunk a further seven ships, but despite these efforts, the Japanese made a successful landing.

During the night Squadron Leader Wilkins and his Observer Pilot Officer Bill Chisholm were killed when their Vildebeest crashed after an attack on the convoy. The Wireless Air Gunner, Sergeant Brooker escaped but was wounded. This was the first loss by enemy action of a Vildebeest on a night flight during the campaign.

Extract from Hall, E.R. (Eldred Rayner) (O3341) Glory in Chaos, Sembawang Association West Coburg VIC, 1989 – Page 474

The crew members were:

Sergeant F G Brooker (RAF) (Air Gunner) Injured
Flying Officer Wallace Chisholm (407410) (Observer)
Squadron Leader John Trevor Wilkins MID (33204) (RAF) (Pilot)

References:

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 Veteran’s Affairs On-Line WWII Nominal Roll
National Archives of Australia On-Line Record A705, 163/25/124