Flight Lieutenant Robert Claude HAY DFC & Bar

Service No: 407074
Born: Renmark SA, 4 November 1913
Enlisted in the RAAF: 27 May 1940
Unit: No. 617 Squadron (RAF), RAF Woodhall Spa, Lincolnshire
Awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC), 20 October 1942 (Citation Title: No. 50 Squadron (RAF))
Awarded the Bar to the Distinguished Flying Cross (Bar), 28 May 1943 (Citation Title: No. 617 Squadron (RAF))
Died: Air Operations (No. 617 Squadron Lancaster aircraft DV402), over France, 13 February 1944, Aged 30 Years
Buried: Cagliari (St Michelle) Communal Cemetery, Sardinia, Italy
CWGC Additional Information: Son of John Robert Clare Hay and Margaret Kate Hay; husband of Honoria Edna Millicent Hay, of Rockhampton, Queensland, Australia
Roll of Honour: Renmark SA
Remembered: Panel 123, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT
Remembered: World War II Honour Roll, National War Memorial of SA, North Terrace, Adelaide

DFC Citation: To Flying Officer R C Hay, 407074, of No. 50 Squadron (RAF), a Joint Citation with the award of a Bar to the DFC to Acting Squadron Leader G H Everitt (RAFVR).  One night in August 1942, these Officers as Captain and Navigator (Hay) of aircraft respectively, were detailed to execute a special bombing sortie.  In spite of difficulties, they accomplished their task successfully, and brought back excellent photographs. Squadron Leader Everitt and Flying Officer Hay have completed many sorties and they have always displayed great skill and determination to make every mission a success.  Their outstanding operational efficiency and devotion to duty have set a fine example. (London Gazette 28 October 1942, Page 4541)


Bar to DFC Citation: “Joint Citation for the Dam Busters raid on the Moehne, Eder and Scorpe Dams in Germany on the night of 16th May 1943, with the award of the DSO to Acting Flight Lieutenant D J Shannon (1), and Pilot Officer L G Knight (2), a bar to the DFC of Acting Flight Lieutenant J F Leggo (3) and Flight Lieutenant R C Hay, the DFC to Pilot Officer C L Howard (4) and Pilot Officer F M Spafford DFM (5) and the DFM to Flight Sergeant T D Simpson (6).  On the night of 16th May 1943, a force of Lancaster bombers was detailed to attack the Moehne, Eder and Scorpe dams in Germany.  The operation was one of great difficulty and hazard, demanding a great degree of skill and courage and close cooperation between the crews of the aircraft engaged. Nevertheless, a telling blow was struck at the enemy by the successful breaching of the Moehne and Eder dams.  This outstanding success reflects the greatest credit on the efforts of the following personnel who participated in the operation in various capacities as members of aircraft crews. (London Gazette 28 May 1943, Page 2361)


(1) Squadron David John Shannon DSO DFC & Bar (407729) was discharged from the RAAF on 15 December 1945.

(2) Flight Lieutenant Leslie Gordon Knight DSO MID (401449) was killed on air operations on 16 September 1943.

(3) Flight Lieutenant Jack Frederick Leggo DFC & Bar (402367) was discharged from the RAAF on 10 December 1945.

(4) Flight Lieutenant Cecil Lancelot Howard DFC (406248) was discharged from the RAAF on 19 March 1945.

(5) Flying Officer Frederick Michael Spafford DFC DFM (407380) was killed on air operations on 16 September 1943.

(6) Flying Officer Thomas Drayton Simpson DFC DFM (408076) was discharged from the RAAF on 28 March 1945.

Flight Lieutenant Hay was on the crew of Squadron Leader Martin in Lancaster ED909 for the attack on the Mohne Dam, Germany, on 16/17 May 1943 during Operation Chastise (the Dambusters’ Raid). Sergeant Foxlee, Flying Officer Simpson and Flight Lieutenant Whittaker were also members of this crew.

At 2312 hours on 12 February 1944, Lancaster DV402 took off detailed to carry out an attack against the Antheor Viaduct in Southern France. As the aircraft was making its bombing run, a shell fired from the viaduct hit the nose of the aircraft. Flight Lieutenant Hay was killed, and fragments of the shell injured Flight Lieutenant Whittaker in the legs. The others in the crew were uninjured, and Squadron Leader Martin, the Captain, was forced to divert the nearest allied held territory due to a lack of fuel and landed the aircraft safely in Sardinia.

The crew members of DV402 were:

Flying Officer Lawrence Wesley Curtis DFC (RAF) (Wireless Operator)
Sergeant Bertie Towner Foxlee DFC DFM (404595) (Mid Upper Gunner) Discharged from the RAAF: 25 June 1948
Flight Lieutenant Robert Claude Hay DFC & Bar (407074) (Air Bomber)
Squadron Leader (later Sir Harold) Harold Brownlow Morgan Martin DFC and Bar (Twice) (RAF) (Pilot) Born Sydney NSW in 1918
Flight Lieutenant James Kenneth Stott DFC DFM (400843) (O35818) (Navigator) Discharged from the RAAF: 5 February 1946
Flying Officer Thomas Drayton Simpson DFC DFM (408076) (Rear Gunner) Discharged from the RAAF: 28 March 1945
Flight Lieutenant Ivan Whittaker (51704) (RAF) (Flight Engineer)


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, 166/17/481

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