LEST WE FORGET

Flight Sergeant Edwin Ronald Brooke ROBERTS

Service No: 400292
Born: Skipton VIC, 31 January 1916
Enlisted in the RAAF: 18 August 1940
Unit: No. 209 Squadron (RAF)
Died: Aircraft Accident (No. 209 Squadron Catalina aircraft FP302), off the Kenyan Coast, 20 August 1943, Aged 27 Years
Buried: Unrecovered
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Richard Frederick and Sara Kathleen De Lacy Roberts; husband of Patricia Amande Roberts
Roll of Honour: Broadford VIC
Remembered: Column 271, Alamein Memorial, Egypt
Remembered: Panel 129, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT

On 20 August 1943 Catalina FP302 was engaged off Mombasa in non-operational low level practice attacks at night when the aircraft struck the sea and was wrecked. A separated wing was found floating after the accident but sank in tow. Nothing was found by an air search after daybreak nor were any bodies recovered. It seems the aircraft struck the sea unintentionally while searching for the practice target with special equipment (radar). In 1948 it was recorded that the missing crew members had lost their lives at sea.

The crew members of FP302 were:

Sergeant Stanley Borrill (84738) (RAF) (Flight Engineer)
Leading Aircraftman Norman Edwards (1027867) (RAFVR) (ACH/GU, Supernumerary)
Flying Officer Victor Bowring Field (48165) (RAF) (Air Gunner (Signaller))
Flight Sergeant Ernest Hallas (942335) (RAFVR) (Flight Mechanic Airframe/Air Gunner)
Flight Lieutenant John Mitchell Inglis (60288) (RAFVR) (Second Pilot)
Sergeant Ernest Mallon (350034) (RAF) (Flight Engineer)
Sergeant Dennis William O’Leary (933257) (RAFVR) (Wireless Operator/Air Gunner)
Flight Sergeant Edwin Ronald Brooke Roberts (4002920 (Third Pilot)
Sergeant James Malcolm Snowden (1108099) (RAFVR) (Wireless Operator/Air Gunner)
Wing Commander Gerald Evan Wallace (33179) (RAFVR) (Pilot)

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, 166/36/105