LEST WE FORGET

Sergeant Robert Douglas WELLS

Service No: 403388
Born: West Wyalong NSW, 22 October 1916
Enlisted in the RAAF: 6 January 1941
Unit: No. 455 Squadron, RAF Station Leuchars
Died: Aircraft Accident (No. 455 Squadron Hampden aircraft P2145), near Crail, 16 July 1942, Aged 25 Years
Buried: Leuchars Cemetery, Fifeshire
CWGC Additional Information: Son of John and Mildred May Wells, of West Wyalong, New South Wales, Australia
Roll of Honour: West Wyalong NSW
Remembered: Panel 106, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT

Hampden P2145 operating from RAF Crail took off at 1030 hours on the 16 July 1942 in formation with other aircraft to carry out dummy torpedo runs on a target ship. During these exercises the port engine of P2145 gave indications of failing and the aircraft broke formation with the intention of returning to base. On the way back the engine picked up and appeared to function normally but approaching the landing strip the engine failed again. The pilot lowered the flaps and wheels hydraulically to avoid damaging the aircraft by belly landing, but was unable to maintain height, and the aircraft stalled and spun in.

The crew members of P2145 were:

Sergeant Frederick James Dawborn (401205) (Wireless Operator Air Gunner) Injured, Discharged from the RAAF: 31 October 1944
Sergeant Robert Douglas Wells (403388) (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, 163/177/303

Bibliography:

Gordon, I. (Ian) Strike and Strike Again: 455 Squadron 1944-5, Banner Books Belconnen ACT 2616, 1995
Lawson, John Horwood Wightman (251634) The Story of No. 455 Squadron (RAAF), Wilke and Company, Melbourne VIC, 1951