95 Squadron, Sunderland DV975, crew

In Memory of the Crew of a No 95 Squadron Sunderland DV975 H/95 who perished on 28th November 1942 at Jui, Sierra Leone

Remembering Thomas William Robinson (uncle of Geoff Langford) and
Robert Irvine (uncle of Heather Boyd - Information kindly supplied by William McCrum). Robert was 21 year old radio operator/gunner from Northern Ireland

Interestingly, a follow-up letter from the Records office to the father of Robert Irvine, dated December 1942, amends the details to say that the incident was NOT a training flight accident, as previously stated, but an operational flight.

(Click on images to enlarge)

ORB entry for November 1942

ORB 95 squadron 1942

Sunderland DV.975 H/95. Crashed in the river BUNCE off JUI after a D/F exercise with a H.S.L.
F/Lt. Bockock, de K. P.H., F/Lt. Steer, J.R., P/O. Leech, R.L. and F/Lt. Webb-Jones, A. (M.O.), were injured and F/Sgt. Taylor, M.E., Sgt. Crosbie, J.J., Sgt. Irvine, R., Sgt. Hogg, W.A., Sgt. Hadwell, C.W., Sgt. Searl, W.F., and F/Sgt. Robinson, R.W., were killed. The aircraft caught o fire. What remained of the aircraft after the fire, was later blown up since it was a danger to navigation


Mr Langford supplied the following information: F/Sgt Robinson was serving as a Flight Mechanic (airframes)/Gunner with 95 Squadron RAF. On 28 November 1942 he was detailed for a non-operational training flight in Sunderland Mark111 serial number DV975.
Four members of the crew survived the crash but sadly seven members of the crew lost their lives. The Sunderland crashed into the Bunce River, Jui at 18:05 hrs.

F/Sgt Robinson   F/Sgt Robinson Letter   F/Sgt Robinson death ww2

Letter of Condolence

Dear Mrs Robinson,

It is with heavy feeling in my hear that I write this letter of condolence at this time, the time of your great bereavement.

Your husband Flt/Sgt Robinson. has been with us long enough for us all to know him intimately and for us to realize that in  him we were lucky enough to have found a man of the highest courage, endurance and knowledge of the job allotted to him, in the air and on the ground..

I was not able to ascertain your wishes regarding the funeral and I therefore made the arrangements for his burial.

Your husband's funeral was conducted by B S/Ldr. The Rev Beard at the King Tom Freetown on Monday 30th November at eleven... after which his body was interred in the Cemetery at King Tom.

His brother Sergeants carried his body to the grave where the service was was held and firing party fired three volleys as the coffin, covered with the Union Jack was lowered.

His grave will be looked after by the Imperial War Graves Commission who have erected a temporary wooden cross. If you wish to arrange for a private memorial stone, you will have to write to the Imperial War Graves Commission.

The question of internment will not unfortunately be able to be raised until after the conclusion of hostilities. It is hard to visualize that he is no longer with the Squadron, but I and the rest of the Squadron will always feel that his determined spirit lives on amongst us all and will carry us through.

Yours respectfully,
Vincent H. Furlong. W/Com

Extract from a letter to Mr. G.Langford from Air Historical Branch (RAF)
Ministry of Defence, RAF Notholt. Ruislip, Middlesex. England. 

Our records show that F/Sgt Robinson was serving as a Flight Mechanic (airframes)/Gunner with 95 Squadron RAF. On 28 November 1942 he was detailed for a non-operational training flight in Sunderland Mark111 serial number DV975. At approximately1805hrs the aircraft approached the river Bunce in order to land. It was seen to Passover the top of Kamatere Island, where it dived steeply and crashed into the water. Four members of the crew survived the crash but sadly seven members of the crew lost their lives.

It was not possible to make a detailed examination of the wreckage to determine the cause of the accident owing to the danger from unexploded depth charges, and these had to be blown up several days later. The aircraft had however, been inspected previously and was certified as fit for the flight in question. From evidence available it could only be concluded that Sunderland DV975 had been subject to a highly localized and extremely violent air disturbance which had caused it to crash.


The following, have been provided by the niece of Robert IRVINE, Heather Boyd

 

Sgt Robert Irvine   Robert Irvine Letter   Accident clarification letter

Letter of Condolence - Robert Irvine

Dear Mr Irvine,

It is with a heavy feeling in my heart that I write this letter of condolence at this, the time of your great bereavement.

Your son, Sgt. Irvine, had been with us long enough for us all to know him intimately and for us to realise in him we were lucky enough to have found a man of the highest courage, endurance and a knowledge of the job allotted to him, in the Air and on the Ground.

It was not possible to ascertain your wishes regarding the funeral and I therefore made the arrangements for his burial.

Your son's funeral which was conducted by S/Ldr. The Rev. Beard took place at King Tom, Freetown on Tuesday the 1st. December at eleven a.m. after which his body was interred in the cemetery at King Tom.

His brother sergeants carried his coffin to the grave where the service was held and the firing party fired three volleys as the coffin, covered with the Union Jack , was lowered.

His grave will be looked after by the Imperial War Graves Commission who have erected a temporary wooden cross. If you wish to arrange for a private memorial stone you will have to write to the Imperial War Graves Commission. The question of re-itternment will not, unfortunately be able to be raised until after the conclusion of hostilities.

It is hard to visualise that he is no longer with the Squadron, but I and the rest of the Squadron will always feel that his determined spirit lives on amongst us and will carry us through.

Yours respectfully,
Vincent H. Furlong

Addendum letter - Robert Irvine

Further to my letter dated the 5th December 1942, according to later information received from West Africa your son, No. 1119371 Sergeant Robert IRVINE, Royal Air Force, who was killed at Bunce River, West Africa al 5.5 p.m. on the 28th November 1942 whilst engaged on air operations and not as the result of an aircraft accident as previously stated.

The Air Council desire me, in conveying this information, to re-express their sympathy and deep regret at your son's death in his Country's service.

cwgc

 

Crew Members Buried at King Tom

RAF F/SGT (Air Gnr) Thomas William ROBINSON
SGT (Flt Engr) William Frederick SEARL

RAF Volunteer Reserve
SGT (Obs) John Johnston CROSBIE
SGT (W.Op./Air Gnr) William Arthur HOGG
SGT (Air Gnr) Charles Lewis HADWELL
SGT (W.Op./Air Gnr) Robert IRVINE 
FLT/SGT A WEBB-JONES

RCAF
P/O Melvin Elliott Tayler

 

 

 

 

Memoirs

Funeral of Thomas William Robnson

Funeral of Thomas William Robnson

Funeral of Thomas William Robnson

Sergeant T.W. Robinson

Sergeant T.W. Robinson

C.L. Hadwell

C.L. Hadwell
Sergeant
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