LEST WE FORGET

Flight Sergeant Robert Campbell TURNER

Service No: 408379
Born: 13 September 1917, Location unavailable
Enlisted in the RAAF: 30 January 1942 (at Hobart TAS)
Unit: No. 50 Squadron (RAF), RAF Station Skellingthorpe
Died: Air Operations (No. 50 Squadron Lancaster aircraft DV217), Germany, 20 December 1943, Aged 26 Years
Buried: Durnbach War Cemetery, Bad Tolz, Bayern, Germany
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Arthur Thomas Turner and Louise Turner, of Launceston, Tasmania, Australia
Roll of Honour: Launceston TAS
Remembered: Panel 131, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT

At 1658 hours on the night of 20 December 1943 Lancaster DV2 took off from Skellingthorpe detailed to bomb Frankfurt, Germany. Nothing was heard from the aircraft after take-off and it failed to return to base. A later Missing Research and Enquiry team report stated “the aircraft crashed approximately 1 mile east of Kelsterbach, presumably as a result of enemy action.” Five of the crew were members killed and two became Prisoners of War.

The crew members of DV217 were:

Flying Officer Kenneth Thornton Dale (141548) (RAFVR) (Navigator)
Sergeant Douglas Sinclair Hall (1483259) (RAFVR) (Mid Upper Gunner)
Sergeant John Henderson (1019301) (RAFVR) (Flight Engineer)
Pilot Officer John Llewellyn Heckendorf (412442) (Pilot)
Pilot Officer A D Hope (169139) (RAF) (Wireless Operator Air) PoW
Flying Officer R L Rutherford (146342) (RAFVR) (Air Bomber) PoW
Flight Sergeant Robert Campbell Turner (408379) (Rear Gunner)

In a later report Flying Officer Rutherford stated “the aircraft exploded and almost immediately after the bale out order was given. I was blown out of the aircraft and landed safely by parachute. I later met the WOP but know nothing re the fate of the rest of the crew.” Sergeant Hope stated “I believe the Captain was killed. I did not see him leave the aircraft which exploded with a full load on board.”

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, 166/40/117