Flight Sergeant Robert John LYONS

Service No: 437622
Born: Lewisham NSW, 5 November 1918
Enlisted in the RAAF: 30 April 1943 (at Sydney NSW)
Unit: No. 463 Squadron, RAF Waddington, Lincolnshire
Died: Air Operations (No. 463 Squadron Lancaster aircraft ME290), Germany, 2 February 1945, Aged 26 Years
Buried: Durnbach War Cemetery, Bad Tolz, Bayern, Germany
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Alexander Francis and Elsie Clarice Lyons, of Campbelltown, New South Wales, Australia.
Roll of Honour: Campbelltown NSW
Remembered: Panel 109, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT
Remembered: World War II Honour Roll, National War Memorial of SA, North Terrace, Adelaide
Remembered: Sawtell “Lyle Rose” RSL Memorial Park, Sawtell NSW

The DVA record shows Flight Sergeant Lyons having enlisted from NSW – however, he has a SA service number (437XXX) and is listed on the SA Memorial.

No. 5 Group’s first contribution to the new campaign against enemy communications was a raid on 1st-2nd February by 271 Lancasters against the town and marshalling yards at Siegen, another new target to the east of Cologne. … The following night at Karlsruhe No. 463 lost one crew and No. 467 two, in addition to three members ordered to bale out of a burning Lancaster (1) before the fire was extinguished and its captain was able to fly it safely back to base.

(1) No. 467 Squadron Lancaster PD 231 (Flying Officer Keith Roy Swain DFC (427485) (Pilot))

Extract from Herington, J. (John) (406545) Air War Over Europe 1944-1945, Australian War Memorial, Canberra, 1963 – Page 412

Lancaster ME290 took off from RAF Waddington at 2007 hours on the night of 2 February 1945 to bomb Karlsruhe, Germany, a communication centre. Bomb load 1 x 4000 lb (pound) (1,800 kg), 145 x 150 x 4 lb (2 kg) incendiaries. Nothing was heard from the aircraft after take off and it did not return to base. Seventeen aircraft from the Squadron took part in the raid and one of these ME 290 failed to return. It was later established that the aircraft crashed near Unteroewishiem, approximately 14 miles north east of Karlsruhe. Five of the crew were killed and two became prisoners of War.

The crew members of ME290 were:

Flight Sergeant Allen Bernard Barrett (435012) (Rear Gunner)
Sergeant C W Gordon (1826824 or 1826826) (RAFVR) (Flight Engineer) PoW
Warrant Officer John Johnson (425806) (Bomb Aimer)
Flight Sergeant Robert John Lyons (437622) (Mid Upper Gunner)
Flying Officer Richard Kay Oliver (429124) (Pilot)
Flight Sergeant William Albert Taylor (434523) (Wireless Operator Air Gunner)
Flight Sergeant Jack Willcocks (433756) (Navigator) PoW, Discharged from the RAAF: 10 December 1945

In 1945 Flight Sergeant Willcocks reported “We were attacked by an SE fighter over the target setting the port inner and wing on fire. Captain ordered bale out and acknowledged by B/A, Eng, Nav and WOP. First out Engineer then me. Aircraft under control but well on fire. To best of my knowledge all the others were still in the aircraft. Height 14,000 feet. A/c crashed in woods south east of Karlsruhe. Captured next day by German civilian. Received information Rear Gunner killed and Engineer POW. Released by Americans 29 April 1945.”

No. 467 Squadron lost Lancaster LM100 (Flying Officer Alton Neil Goulburn Robinson (422885) (Pilot)) on 2 February 1945.

No. 467 Squadron lost Lancaster PB306 (Flying Officer James Magnus Inkster (432191) (Second Pilot)) on 2 February 1945.


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, 166/25/264
Register of War Memorials in New South Wales On-Line

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