Flight Lieutenant Sidney Francis LEE

Service No: 407177
Born: Sydney NSW, 1 December 1915
Enlisted in the RAAF: 20 July 1940 (at Adelaide SA)
Unit: No. 113 Squadron (RAF), Magwe, Myanmar
Died: Air Operations (No. 113 Squadron Blenheim aircraft), Myanmar, 4 March 1942, Aged 26 Years
Buried: Unrecovered
CWGC Additional Information: Son of A. L. and Elsie M. Lee, of North Adelaide, South Australia.
Roll of Honour: Adelaide SA
Remembered: Column 426, Singapore Memorial, Singapore
Remembered: Panel 125, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT
Remembered: World War II Honour Roll, National War Memorial of SA, North Terrace, Adelaide

On 4 March 1942 a Blenheim aircraft of No. 113 Squadron on operations was attacked and crashed to the west of Pegu. Two crew members were killed and the third was able to return to his unit.

The crew members were:

Sergeant Kenneth William Brett (402123) (RNZAF) (Observer)
Flight Lieutenant Sidney Francis Lee (407177) (Pilot)
Sergeant L Walker DFC (627807) (RAF) (Wireless Operator/Air Gunner) Safe

Sergeant Walker in a later statement reported: “At about 1600 hours we were flying in line astern, our aircraft being at the tail end and No. 4, at low level for 30 miles and then rose to 1,500 feet, when we were attacked by 4 fighters – Navy Type O, 3 from astern and one at the nose. A bullet hit the Pilot and we crashed west of Sittang River, 60 miles west of Pegu. I crawled out and the pilot tried to do the same but was fatally shot and fell into the fire. I thought he was still alive and saw a bullet wound in the head and realised it was fatal. The Observer was not in the aircraft and I looked for him and found him 50 yards in front of the aircraft dead. I then got under the tail plane as the fighters did 4 strafing runs. I then heard artillery fire to the north east and started to walk west. After 2 days with friendly Burmese I arrived at Thamatapin, about 15 miles east of Pegu. I was then transported by Burma Rifles to Army Brigade Headquarters and then back to Rangoon to my unit.”

At the time of the crash no burial of Flight Lieutenant Lee and Sergeant Brett was possible as their remains were in territory subsequently occupied by the Japanese. In 1950 a search for their remains was unsuccessful and was finally abandoned.


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
Gillison, D.N. (Douglas Napier) (254475) Royal Australian Air Force 1939-1942, Australian War Memorial, Canberra, 1962 – Pages 411-2
National Archives of Australia On-Line Record A705, 163/42/94


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

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