LEST WE FORGET

Flight Lieutenant Alexander William FRASER DFC & Bar

Service No: 404063
Born: Herberton QLD, 7 May 1915
Enlisted in the RAAF: 29 April 1940
Unit: No. 1674 Heavy Conversion Unit Experimental Section, RAF Station Farnborough
Awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC)
Awarded the Bar to the Distinguished Flying Cross (Bar)
Died: Aircraft Accident (No. 1674 Heavy Conversion Unit Wellington aircraft HF152), Odiham, Hampshire, 4 July 1944, Aged 29 Years
Buried: Lisburn Cemetery, County Antrim, Northern Ireland
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Alexander William and Rhoda Maria Fraser; husband of Margaret Fraser, of Millaa Millaa, Queensland, Australia
Roll of Honour: Millaa Millaa QLD
Remembered: Panel 122, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT

DFC Citation (for service with No. 120 Squadron RAF): “This officer has taken part in numerous anti-submarine and convoy escort sorties and has proved himself an exceptional pilot. On one occasion he found one of our convoys when 50 miles from home and by escorting it for four and a half hours undoubtedly saved it from submarine attack.”

Citation for the Bar to the DFC (for service with No. 120 Squadron RAF): “This officer was captain of an aircraft which attacked a U boat. In the face of heavy anti-aircraft fire a vigorous attack was pressed home and the vessel was destroyed. Although Flight Lieutenant Fraser’s aircraft was hit by gunfire, he flew it to base where he executed a masterly landing. This officer has displayed skill, courage and determination of a high order. (London Gazette 3 August 1943 Page 3485)

On 4 July 1944, Wellington HF352 was carrying out a non-operational experimental flight and the aircraft crashed and all on board were killed.

The crew members of HF352 were:

Warrant Officer Sidney Bickell (649048) (RAF) (Wireless Air Gunner)
Mr K Dart* (Civilian Observer)
Mr Russell Arcot Erskine (Civilian Observer)
Flight Lieutenant Alexander William Fraser DFC & Bar (404063) (Pilot)
Mr David William Parker (Civilian Observer)
Aircraftman I Stanley Parsons (1673867) (RAFVR)
Sergeant Keith Lawrence Popejoy (540429) (RAF)

* This name is unable to be corroborated by CWGC records.

A Court of Inquiry into the accident later found: “the aircraft had a failure of the starboard engine at about 0950 hours and by the engine was feathered. The Pilot informed Farnborough by radio he was returning to base, and later at 0955 hours he was having difficulty maintaining altitude which was then 1,100 feet, but was trying to make base. He instructed his passengers to take up crash positions, and to remove the astro dome. He obviously intended to make a wheels-up down-wind landing at Odiham, which he may well have mistaken for Farnborough. However he must have been to low on his approach to Odiham and in trying to clear a small hill he stalled the aircraft into a copse. The aircraft hit the ground in a stalled attitude at 1004 hours. The Causes of the accident were: failure of the starboard engine, and failure of the aircraft to maintain height on one engine possibly due to overheating of the port engine.”

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 Veterans’ Affairs On-Line WWII Nominal Roll
National Archives of Australia On-Line Record A705, 166/14/228

Bibliography:

Ilbery, P.L.T. (Peter Leslie Thomas) (422957) Hatching an Air Force: 2SFTS, 5SFTS, 1BFTS Uranquinty and Wagga Wagga, Banner Books Maryborough QLD 4650, 2002
Jay, Alwyn, Endurance; Coastal Command Liberator Operations 1941-5, Banner Books, Maryborough QLD, 4650, 1996