LEST WE FORGET

Sergeant Ernest Gordon PALMER

Service No: 401718
Born: Geelong VIC, 27 August 1917
Enlisted in the RAAF: 28 March 1941
Unit: No. 246 Squadron (RAF)
Died: Aircraft Accident (No. 246 Squadron Sunderland aircraft DV979), Scotland, 24 January 1943, Aged 25 Years
Buried: Bowmore New Parish Churchyard, Isle of Islay, Argyllshire
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Ernest Alfred and Ruby Myrtle Palmer, of Benalla, Victoria, Australia
Roll of Honour: Geelong VIC
Remembered: Panel 128, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT

On the 24 January 1943 Sunderland DV979 took off from RAF Port Ellen and crashed. A Court of Inquiry into the accident found that “the cause of the accident was an error of judgement by the Captain of the aircraft in that he overestimated his altitude thereby undershooting the flare path and striking an object 35 feet above sea level and 1,300 yards from the first flare. It would appear that both pilots were concentrating on looking for objects directly below instead of using the flare path to estimate their height and relative position.” The depth charges on board the aircraft exploded when the aircraft crashed. Nine on board the aircraft were killed and three were injured

The crew members of DV979 were:

Sergeant Walter Eric Charles Heath (655954) (RAF) (Navigator Bomb Aimer)
Sergeant G Hogg (985071) (RAFVR) (Wireless Operator Mechanic) Slightly Injured
Sergeant Douglas Howarth (653262) (RAF) (Flight Engineer)
Sergeant Roy John Jabour (402956) (Wireless Air Gunner)
Pilot Officer Wallace Arthur Johnston (J/17452) (RCAF) (Second Pilot)
Captain E J Levers (102439) (SAAF) (Pilot) Seriously injured
Sergeant George Charles Major (658534) (RAF) (Observer)
Sergeant Ernest Gordon Palmer (401718) (Wireless Air Gunner)
Sergeant George Cyril Phillips (1214033) (RAFVR) (Air Gunner)
Sergeant William Simpson (1067773) (RAFVR) (Flight Engineer)
Sergeant Henry John Tasker (1376397) (RAFVR) Wireless Air Gunner)
Sergeant J I Williams (1415153) (RAFVR) (Flight Mechanic Engines/Air Gunner) Slightly Injured

References:

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 Veterans’ Affairs On-Line WWII Nominal Roll
National Archives of Australia On-Line Record A705, 166/32/24