454 and 459 RAAF Squadrons
Flight Lieutenant Eric George "Boots" BAMKIN
454 RAAF Squadron
Service No. 406387
Date of Birth: 08 Feb 1921
Place of Birth: NORTH FREMANTLE, WA
Date of Enlistment: 9 Dec 1940
Date of Death: 08 Jun 1943
The Late Flight Lieutenant EG "Boots" Bamkin
It was a very early take-off, dawn, around 4 am, "Boots" who had flown with 454 since Iraq, left for a 4 hour mission - there was to be a sweep of shipping in the Mediterranean.
Bill Noyce remembers "His plane was the first off and we stood watching for once, after they left we were left to go back to bed, another two were in the air, then somebody said "what's he doing?" the plane was in a shallow dive, we thought he was looking to see where the others were, but he continued his dive right into the ground where he burst into flames. We drove over but could not get anywhere near because of the heat.
The 2 cyclone radial engines were torn from the plane and were found 200 yards away.
It was later discovered that the crash of "Boots" Bamkin was brought about by the inflatable dingy which the Pilot sits on under his parachute, apparently it became accidentally inflated. This was proved possible by P.O Brian Blondie Bayly who inflated a dingy while sitting in the cockpit, he was forced up and forward pushing the control column forward and so the plane went into an uncontrollable dive. After this accident Pilots were required to have a knife on hand should the same situation arise."
Also lost were Pilot Officer Harry Broomhall, Pilot Officer Colin Randle, Flight Sergeant John "Tack" Brocksopp.
All were buried at Tobruk War Cemetery - Libya.
The funeral at Tobruk
The unfortunate crew -
L-R : FLT EG "Boots" Bamkin, Pilot Officer Colin Randle, Pilot Officer Harry Broomhall, , Flight Sergeant John "Tack" Brocksopp.