Flying Officer ROBERT 'Bobby' WALLACE BLAIR (photo added)

Serviceman Headstone image Serviceman grave marker Serviceman thumbnail
Rank Flying Officer
Forenames ROBERT 'Bobby' WALLACE
Surname BLAIR (photo added)
Initials R W
Place of Birth TORONTO, ONTARIO, CANADA
Date of Birth Unknown
Date of Death Tuesday, 18 July 1944
Age 19
Nationality Canadian
Residence or Entered Service From TORONTO, ONTARIO, CANADA
Service Number J/28897
Force Royal Canadian Air Force
Service/Corps/Regiment Royal Canadian Air Force
Unit / Ship / Battalion / Squadron 427 (Royal Canadian Air Force) Squadron
Military Honours and Awards
Place of Burial/Commemoration BRETTEVILLE-SUR-LAIZE CANADIAN WAR CEMETERY
Roll of honour
Grave/Memorial Location XXV. E. 5.
Previous Place(s) of Burial Unknown
Epitaph
Family Details SON OF GEORGE AND IRENE BLAIR, OF TORONTO, ONTARIO.

Additional Information

ROBERT WALLACE BLAIR was born in Toronto, Ontario, Canada in September 1924. He was flying on Halifax, Mk III, LV985 ZL-K, flying with 427 Squadron, Royal Canadian Air Force, from RAF Leeming. They had taken off at 03.15hrs on the morning of the 18th July 1944, to bomb a German strong point at Mondeville, Normandy, France, ahead of the Allied advance.

 

All 7 crew members were killed on the mission, they were an experienced crew and were about 2/3rds of the way through their tour.1 Evidence from the War Diary for 427 Squadron, Royal Canadian Air Force, states that the aircraft was hit by anti-Aircraft fire. Anecdotal evidence was provided by the family,  who were told that the aircraft was lost in a blue-on-blue (friendly fire) incident.

 

The crew were:

Pilot Officer THOMAS RAYMOND KELLY, Royal Canadian Air Force.

Sergeant THOMAS JOSEPH ALOYSIUS McFADDEN, Royal Air Force.

Flight Sergeant V. A. UNRUH, Royal Canadian Air Force.

Flying Officer ROBERT WALLACE BLAIR, Royal Canadian Air Force.

Warrant Officer II WILBUR St CLAIR HALEY, Royal Canadian Air Force.

Sergeant DOUGLAS ALEXANDER CARSON, Royal Canadian Air Force.

Sergeant WILLIAM LEEMAN GILLESPIE, Royal Canadian Air Force.

 

The Squadron War Dairy for 427 Squadron, Royal Canadian Air Force, described the mission for the 18th July 1944:2

 

Abbreviations used in War Dairy:
T.I.s (Target Indicators)
H.F. (Harassing Fire)

 

Of the 17 aircraft on this mission from 427 Squadron, 1 would not return. On the 18th June 1944, RAF Bomber Command carried out 1,052 sorties over Normandy. Total losses for RAF Bomber Command on this day were 8 aircraft (0.8 per cent),3 including the crew of Halifax, Mk III, LV985 ZL-K, flying with 427 Squadron. This day was the start of Operation GOODWOOD and one of the battles to try and capture the city of Caen.

 

 

Flying Officer ROBERT WALLACE BLAIR, undated.4

 

 

References
1. Research Carl Shilleto, sources: Royal Air Force Bomber Command Losses of the Second World War Vol:5 Aircraft and Crew Losses 1944, p.333, by W R Chorley, Midland Publishing. Published 1997.
2. Research Carl Shilleto, sources: The War Dairy for 427 Squadron, Royal Canadian Air Force, was transcribed by Dick Dunn, and is also available on the 427 Squadron Association's website. The Wartime Operational Logs, War Diary and Casualty List for 427 Squadron were compiled by Lieutenant-Colonel Eddie Haskins are also available on the 427 Squadron Association's website.
3. Research Carl Shilleto, sources: from Middlebrook, Martin and Chris Everitt. The Bomber Command War Diaries; An Operational Reference Book 1939-1945. pp.544-5.
4. Photograph kindly provided by Anne Crober, sister of Flying Officer ROBERT WALLACE BLAIR.

 

Acknowledgements and Credits
Source of original data: Commonwealth War Graves Commission
Headstone photograph: Carl Shilleto
Cross marker photograph:  
Individual photograph: Anne Crober, sister of Flying Officer ROBERT WALLACE BLAIR.
Additional photographs provided by:  
Additional information provided by: Carl Shilleto, 427 Squadron Association website and Anne Crober, sister of Flying Officer ROBERT WALLACE BLAIR.

 

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