Flying Officer Neil Gordon STEWART DFM

Service No: 400497
Born: Benalla VIC, 17 October 1918
Enlisted in the RAAF: 14 September 1940
Unit: No. 27 Operational Training Unit (RAF), RAF Station Lichfield
Awarded the Distinguished Flying Medal (DFM)
Died: Aircraft Accident (No. 27 Operational Training Unit Wellington aircraft BK152), Lichfield, 10 September 1943, Aged 24 Years
Buried: Chester (Blacon) Cemetery, Cheshire
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Alexander Colin and Emma Stewart, of Yarragon, Victoria, Australia
Roll of Honour: Yarragon VIC
Remembered: Panel 130, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT

DFM Citation (for service with No. 148 Squadron (RAF): “Sergeant Stewart has completed 41 operations entailing 264 hours. He has set an example of determination which has been rewarded with some remarkably successful results. He has completed his tasks quietly and methodically. He has attacked Tobruk on 18 occasions. On 30 July 1942, he attacked shipping off the jetties which caused an explosion and fire. On the night of 2 August, in spite of cloud over the harbour, he finally obtained a bead on a ship after several attempts. The cloud obscured the results. On 22 August 1942, he started a fire in the battle area, and again on 28 August. On 24 September 1942, he made four runs on LG 102 and his bombs burst among aircraft. This NCO has continued to operate longer than a normal tour with keenness and has set a fine example to other NCO’s in the Squadron. “(London Gazette 16/1/1942)

At 2144 hours on 10 September 1943, Wellington BK152 took off from Lichfield detailed to carry out night dual circuits and landings. At around 2245 hours, the aircraft came in to land on the Hixon runway, but touched down too far along the airstrip. The throttles were opened and the aircraft began to climb until without any hint of trouble, it dived into a house less that a mile south west of the airfield. It was thought likely that the flaps were raised in error for the undercarriage. All the crew members were killed.

The crew members of BK152 were:

Sergeant Ernest Norman Death (424741) (Air Gunner)
Flight Sergeant Darcey James Fernance (420652) (Pilot under instruction)
Flying Officer Neil Gordon Stewart DFM (400497) (Screened Pilot)
Flight Sergeant Frank Craven Stringer (410745) (Navigator)
Pilot Officer Tasman Foskett Swinney (421642) (Air Bomber)
Flight Sergeant Alan John Vickerman (418597) (Wireless Air Gunner)


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, 166/38/277

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