Flight Sergeant Robert Walker TUDOR

459 RAAF Squadron

Service No. 1372321 (RAF)

Date of Birth: 13 Sep 1920

Place of Birth: Scotstoun, UK

Date of Enlistment: Unknown

Rank: Flight Sergeant

Date of Death: 03/03/1944 Alamein, Egypt Col 280

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Crew Hudson Mk IIIA FH359'G' 12 Oct 1943:
  • Flying Officer A.H. Ringland (RAAF)

  • Pilot Officer R. Lomax (RAF)

  • Sgt. G. Dixon (RAF)

  • Sgt. R.W.Tudor (RAF)

Crew Ventura Mk V JS899'P' 05 Feb 1944:
  • Flying Officer A.H. Ringland (RAAF)

  • Pilot Officer R. Lomax (RAF)

  • F/Sgt. G. Dixon (RAF)

  • F/Sgt. R.W.Tudor (RAF)

Crew Ventura Mk V FP537'E' 02 Mar 1944:
  • Flying Officer A.H. Ringland (RAAF)

  • Pilot Officer R. Lomax (RAF)

  • F/Sgt. G. Dixon (RAF)

  • F/Sgt. R.W.Tudor (RAF)

The following is an extract from "Desert Scorpion - A History of 459 Squadron RAAF 1942-1945" Page 327

At the start of March 1944, the Squadron flew six aircraft on detachment to St Jean, following the report of a U-Boat in the area. Among the crews looking forward to a change from their desert camp was Alan Vardy:

2 March 1944: Left Gambut early this morning for St Jean, Palestine ...Arrived St Jean at eleven o'clock. directed to land at Ramat David near Nazarath. Snow capped mountains of Syria looked very pretty in the morning sunlight. Landed at Ramat David 11:20, unloaded a/c, then went to North Camp where we billeted. Ramat David is quite a pretty spot set  in the valley amongst the Jewish settlement. Mt. Ebal can be seen on one side and Mt Carmel on the other.

However, there was little time to enjoy the scenery. That evening and early the next morning four crews were required to fly escort patrols for a convoy off the Levant coast. It was a beautiful morning, Alan Vardy reporting in his diary, "Flew up and down the coastline with the snow-clad Lebanon mountains glistening in the early morning sunlight". Another crew, captained by Flying Officer Allan Ringland, learnt upon their return to St Jean in mid-morning that they had been tasked for a further op that evening (3 March). It was to be their last.

At 17:05 Hrs, Allan Ringland and his crew took off in Ventura 'E' FP537 to take part in a Broom U-Boat hunt in cooperation with Royal Navy units. A Met report of bad weather in the area led to a recall signal being sent to the crew an hour later. The message was not acknowledged and was presumably not received by the aircraft, which continued towards its signaled search area near Crete. At 20:35 hrs a distress signal was received from Ringland's crew indicating that they were in dire trouble:

"Starboard engine cut. SOS" One minute later the message was repeated addressed to Paphos H/F D/F who sent a bearing. This was acknowledged. At 20:38 the aircraft sent "SOS". Losing height 500 feet" followed by a series of dashes. This was the last heard of the machine which did not return to base.

 

At first light the next day, two if the crews at Ramat David took off to search the Levant coast in the hope of finding the dinghy from the missing Ventura. Regrettably, neither they nor Jim McHale's crew who followed with a search beginning after midday, were to see any sign of the ditched crew. In view of "the bad weather and the rapidity of the aircraft loosing height, it was considered that the crew would have had small chance of surviving". The loss of the popular crew, who had distinguished themselves in the recent eastern Aegean campaign, was strongly felt by the Squadron. The loss of the fourth Ventura in less than two months of operations, was also to cause some understandable concern. Fortunately, losses on Ventura were to prove very light in future operations and it earned an excellent reputation for reliability. 

Ventura 'E' prior to its loss 3 March 1944

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