Remembering Thomas William Robinson (uncle of Geoff Langford, who supplied the follwoing 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.
ORB entry for November 1942
Sunderland DV.975 H/95. Crashed in the river BUNCE off JUI after a D/F excercise 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
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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 looksed 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.
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.
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
P/O Melvin Elliott Tayler
Sergeant T.W. Robinson