GILL Robert Lester 406841

LEST WE FORGET

Pilot Officer Robert Lester GILL

Service No: 406841
Born: Murray Bridge SA, 5 July 1922
Enlisted in the RAAF: 28 April 1941 (at Perth WA)
Unit: No. 13 Squadron, Hughes NT
Died: Air Operations: (No. 13 Squadron Hudson aircraft A16-108), Timor, 2 June 1942, Aged 19 Years
Buried: Ambon War Cemetery, Indonesia
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Frederick Robert and Ivy Matilda Gill, of South Perth, Western Australia.
Roll of Honour: Unknown
Remembered: Panel 100, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT
Remembered: Cenotaph Undercroft, State War Memorial, Kings Park WA

On 2nd June when four Hudsons from No. 13 Squadron were over the target at Atambua to discourage such reinforcement, two of them collided. One, piloted by Pilot Officer Gill, crashed
and the crew was presumed lost. The pilot of the other Hudson, Flight Lieutenant Trewren (1), succeeded in bringing his aircraft back to base although it had been severely damaged.

Extract from Gillison, D.N. (Douglas Napier) (254475) Royal Australian Air Force 1939-1942, Australian War Memorial, Canberra, 1962 – Page 561

On the 2nd, five Hudsons of 13 Squadron struck Japanese installations at Atamboea, demolishing barracks, strafing road transport and starting fires in the general area. A16-108 piloted by Pilot Officer Robert Gill was lost. The rest of the crew were Pilot Officer Donald Campbell, Sergeant Samuel Inglis and Sergeant Lance Kealley.

Flight Lieutenant Trewren writes at the time: Flight Lieutenant Black (2) led the strike and I was No. 2. It was a dusk raid and we bombed the targets in formation. We continued on and strafed some motor transport along a road. We broke formation and strafed in line astern then came up to regain formation. I came up in my No. 2 position and had climbed to about 1,000 feet, when my gunner sang out that another Hudson was coming up straight underneath us. The next thing that happened was that I felt a heavy jolt on the starboard wing and my aircraft was swung around. I looked out and saw the other Hudson going down head first with its tail plane off. I saw this aircraft piloted by Gill hit the ground nose first and burst into flames. The crew had no time to use their parachutes and all were missing after the raid.

(1) Wing Commander Lindsay Roscrow Trewren was discharged from the RAAF on 26 April 1946.
(2) Squadron Leaders Ivon Oswald Black DFC (248) was discharged from the RAAF on 1 October 1946.

Extract from Grantham, S.R. (Sidney Richard) (6590) The 13 Squadron Story, S.R. Grantham, Dee Why NSW 2099, 1991 – Pages 68-9

The crew members of A16-108 were:

Pilot Officer Donald George Campbell (405623) (Second Pilot)
Pilot Officer Robert Lester Gill (406841) (Pilot)
Sergeant Samuel Lindsay Inglis (416340) (Wireless Air Gunner)
Sergeant Lance Radford Kealley (416217) (Wireless Air Gunner)

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 A705, 163/34/186

Bibliography:

Vincent, D. (David) The RAAF Hudson Story Book 1, D. Vincent Highbury SA 5089, 1989
Wilson, S. (Stewart) Anson, Hudson and Sunderland in Australian Service, Aerospace Publications Weston Creek ACT 2611, 1992