LEST WE FORGET
Sergeant Robert Driscoll LEWIS
Service No: 416587
Born: Adelaide SA, 1 December 1916
Enlisted in the RAAF: 22 July 1941
Unit: No. 30 Operational Training Unit (RAF), RAF Nixon, Staffordshire
Died: Aircraft Accident (No. 30 Operational Training Unit Wellington aircraft BK434), Staffordshire, 7 February 1943, Aged 26 Years
Buried: Nixon (St Peter) Churchyard, Staffordshire
CWGC Additional Information: Son of William Henry and Hilda Marion Lewis, of Kensington Park, South Australia.
Roll of Honour: Burnside SA
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 7 February 1943, Wellington BK434 took off from Nixon for a night cross- country practice exercise. Returning to base at 0115 hours, the aircraft made what appeared to be a perfectly good landing. However the Pilot opened up and took off for a second circuit, but climbed too steeply, stalled at around 1,000 feet and before he could recover the situation, the aircraft hit a tree. The aircraft crashed at the Rectory at Ingestre Park, near Weston, less than a mile of the southern side of the airfield. All the crew members were killed in the crash.
The aircraft approached correctly but a little on the fast side, and holding off a little too high. The Pilot realized this, gave the engines a burst to lower the undercarriage on the runway. As the aircraft was near the ground it is likely to have landed successfully, and the Pilot cut his engines. He then appeared to think that he could not get in so opened up doing a steep climb with a slight turn to the left. Eventually the aircraft stalled at about 1,000 feet. The crash site shows that the aircraft had just about dived out, but was too low and the port wing hit a tree.
The crew members of BK434 were:
Sergeant Kenneth Henry Austin (1319425) (RAFVR) (Navigator)
Sergeant John Joseph Kenny (1375175) (RAFVR) (Wireless Air Gunner)
Sergeant Robert Driscoll Lewis (416587) (Pilot)
Sergeant John McGinnes (1024009) (RAFVR) (Air Bomber)
Sergeant Deryck Charles Bowse (413778) (RNZAF) (Air Gunner)
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, 166/24/32