Colonel Robert Heathcote RUSSELL DSO MID

Service No: NX168 (Australian Army)
Born: Sydney NSW, 12 May 1900
Enlisted in the Army: 30 October 1939
Unit: Headquarters 2nd Australian Army
Awarded the Mentioned in Despatches (MID)
Awarded the Distinguished Service Order (DSO), 4 November 1941 (Citation Title; Army – Middle East)
Died: Aircraft Accident (No. 4 Communication Unit Hudson aircraft A16-118), off Cairns QLD, 5 March 1945, Aged 44 Years
Buried: Unrecovered
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Dr. Robert Usher Russell and Alice Maude Russell; husband of Peggy Murchison Russell, of Darling Point, New South Wales. Medical Practitioner
Roll of Honour: Unknown
Remembered: Panel 1, Sydney Memorial, Rookwood NSW
Remembered: Panel 11, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT
Remembered: University of Sydney World War 2 Roll of Honour, Camperdown NSW

While on approach to Cairns Airport, Hudson A16-118 crashed at 1620 hours about 500 meters off-shore in four metres of water and ended up resting on its back. Weather at the time was 9/10 cloud cover, no wind, ceiling 1,500 feet, visibility 8 kms, and no rain. There were no survivors and attempts were made to salvage the aircraft over several days. A Court of Inquiry was convened. Those on board A16-118 were:


Flight Lieutenant Donald James Bassett (406465) (Pilot)
Warrant Officer Berrol Samuel Frieze (409400) (Navigator)
Leading Aircraftman John Dudley Moore (77157) (Radio Operator)
Flying Officer Gordon Thomson DFM (400573) (Second Pilot)
Lieutenant Colonel George Anthony Bertram OBE MID (NX324) (Australian Army) Advanced Land Headquarters
Major General Rupert Major Downes CMG VD (VX57673) (Australian Army) Medical Corps
Corporal Edward Lewis James (NX4011) (Australian Army) HQ 6th Division
Flight Lieutenant John William Newell (404543) (Pilot) No. 5 Operational Training Unit
Lieutenant William Rigall (VX80932) (Australian Army) HQ 6th Division
Colonel Robert Heathcote Russell DSO MID (NX168) (Australian Army) HQ 2nd Australian Army
Major General George Alan Vasey CB CBE DSO and Bar MID (VX9) (Australian Army) HQ 7th Division


Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour On-Line Records
Commonwealth War Graves Commission On-Line Records
Department of Veteran’s Affairs On-Line WWII Nominal Roll
National Archives of Australia On-Line Record A9845, 135
Register of War Memorials in New South Wales On-Line

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