Flight Sergeant Robert Craven RHODES

Service No: 433648
Born: Toronto, Canada, 30 January 1923
Enlisted in the RAAF: 24 April 1943 (at Sydney NSW)
Unit: No. 625 Squadron (RAF), RAF Kelstern, Lincolnshire
Died: Air Operations: (No. 625 Squadron Lancaster aircraft RF 145), Germany, 16 March 1945, Aged 22 Years
Buried: Unrecovered
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Wilfred Craven Rhodes and Jessie Marion Rhodes, of Neutral Bay, New South Wales, Australia.
Roll of Honour: Sydney NSW
Remembered: Panel 284, Runnymede Memorial, Surrey UK
Remembered: Panel 129, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT

Lancaster RF145 of No. 625 Squadron took off from RAF Station Kelstern on 16 March 1945 to attack the target Nurnberg, Germany. Nothing further was heard from the aircraft after take off and it did not return to base.

The crew members of RF 145 were:

Sergeant Guy Archer Clark (1868276) (RAFVR) (Rear Gunner)
Sergeant Derek Branston Jones (1624612) (RAFVR) (Pilot/Engineer)
Flight Sergeant Robert Craven Rhodes (433648) (Navigator)
Flying Officer Patrick Morley Rolls (424322) (Pilot)
Flight Sergeant Thomas Martin Ryan (436573) (Air Bomber) Baled out, PoW, Discharged from the RAAF: 29 November 1945
Flight Sergeant Cecil James Tarrant (437369) (Mid Upper Gunner)
Flight Sergeant John William Teague (435192) (Wireless Operator/Air Gunner)

In a later statement by Flight Sergeant Ryan he reported “I assume the other 6 members of the crew were in the aircraft when I baled out. I have no definite information regarding their probable fate. I saw no parachutes nor did I receive any information regarding these men after my descent. About 5 minutes before reaching the target, the aircraft was hit by a night fighter. The aircraft burst into flames somewhere aft of my compartment. The Captain ordered bale out and I baled out at 16,000 feet. The aircraft appeared under control but evidently badly in flames. Assuming that the aircraft crashed soon after my leaving, that would be 5 minutes before Nurnberg. We were on a north east heading and carrying a full bomb load when hit, and there may have been a mid-air explosion.”

Following post war enquiries and investigations, the remains of Sergeant Jones were identified as that which fell at Burglein on the night of 16 March 45, and were interred at Durnbach War Cemetery, Germany. No trace of the aircraft or of other members of the crew was found, and in 1949 it was recorded that the missing members have no known grave.


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, 166/35/490

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