Flight Sergeant Stewart Burton GITSHAM

Service No: 407929
Born: Wolseley SA, 19 June 1913
Enlisted in the RAAF: 3 February 1941
Unit: No. 47 Squadron (RAF), Shandur, Egypt
Died: Air Operations (No. 47 Squadron Beaufort aircraft DE110), off Tobruk, Libya, 26 October 1942, Aged 29 Years
Buried: Unrecovered
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Frederick William and Ethel Stewart Gitsham, of Kings Park, South Australia. A.F.I.A., A.A.I.S.
Roll of Honour: Unley SA
Remembered: Column 265, Alamein Memorial, Egypt
Remembered: Panel 122, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT
Remembered: World War II Honour Roll, National War Memorial of SA, North Terrace, Adelaide

On 26 October 1942 Beaufort DE110 was in a formation of 8 Beauforts from No. 47 Squadron which left Gianaclis to strike against an enemy convoy of 2 motor vessels, a tanker and four destroyers nearing Tobruk. Blenheims and Beaufighters escorted the formation. The target convoy was seen at 32.20N 23.42E. The Beauforts carried out a torpedo attack and the Blenheims a low level bombing attack on the convoy. After carrying out the torpedo attack on a merchant vessel, Beaufort DE110 is believed to have crashed beside it.

The crew members of DE110 were:

Flying Officer Haraldur Johannes Davidson (J/6402) (RCAF) (Pilot)
Flight Sergeant Stewart Burton Gitsham (407929) (Observer)
Pilot Officer T H Jones (114893) (RAFVR) (Wireless Operator/Air Gunner) Rescued
Sergeant Sydney Roland Maldwyn Pugh (1117286) (RAFVR) (Wireless Operator/Air Gunner)

A report by Pilot Officer Jones stated “the aircraft sank immediately after hitting the sea, breaking up at the rear as it did so, I surfaced a few minutes later, and Sergeant Pugh surfaced just after him. Sergeant Pugh died before being picked up”. Sergeant Pugh is buried in the Tobruk War Cemetery, Libya.


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, 163/117/192

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