W/C Robert Wilton Bungey, DFC

Discussion in 'Biographies' started by Antipodean Andy, Dec 18, 2007.

  1. Antipodean Andy

    Antipodean Andy New Member

  2. liverpool annie

    liverpool annie New Member

    This is an old post ... so you may have this already Andy ... but just in case ........ this is tragic !

    AWM Collection Record: SUK15123 - Portrait of 257414 Squadron Leader (Sqn Ldr) Robert Wilton Bungey DFC, of Glenelg, SA. He was an Australian serving with the RAF and Commanding Officer of No. 452 (Spitfire) Squadron, RAAF, based ...

    In the bitter air campaign of May 1940 in France, Bob Bungey in 226 Squadron was one of the few to survive in Fairey Battles against the Luftwaffe. His mate Doug Cameron, the fourth Point Cook man of 211 Squadron, was not so lucky.

    Soon after returning to the UK, Bob Bungey became engaged to Sybil Ellen Johnson of Wallingford in Berkshire. When the chance to transfer to Fighter Command came in August, he took it. Posted first to 79 Squadron, on 19 September 1940 he moved to 145 Squadron, another Hurricane unit, as F/Lt.

    On 7 November Bungey was shot down near the Isle of Wight in Hurricane I V6889. Slightly wounded, he and and his damaged aircraft were both recovered and he returned to his Squadron. In March 1941 Bungey was posted to 452 Squadron RAAF, flying the Supermarine Spitfire IIA.

    Highly regarded, he was made temporary Squadron Leader commanding the Squadron in July 1941. Early in October, he and Sybil were married. Awarded the DFC in that month, he led his Squadron with elan until deservedly posted to RAF Shoreham as Station Commander in late January 1942. He had by then scored five victories. Promoted Squadron Leader (war substantive) in May (London Gazette 21 August), he moved to station commander at RAF Hawkinge, perhaps as acting Wing Commander, before his return Australia and the RAAF.

    The Australian official history noted:
    “The meteoric rise to prominence of No. 452 owed much...to the complete confidence which the pilots placed in Bungey’s training and administrative leadership.”
    Herington, Air War Against Germany and Italy 1939–1943 (AWM 1954) p139

    Rightly screened after a very successful tour of duty and with his RAF SSC about to conclude, Bungey was to return home after some 6 years absence. Shortly before departure, he was thus placed on Reserve and in time of war, immediately called up into the RAAF, made Flying Officer and then temp Squadron Leader—all in the one day—as his RAAF Record of Service form attests. On 19 February 1943 he took ship for Australia. Arriving at Melbourne on 4 May he proceeded to Adelaide and his family home, to join Sybil and their baby son Richard. She had come to South Australia in February 1942 to await the birth of their child, staying with his parents.
    Bungey, attached for the moment to 4 Embarkation Depot at Mitcham in Adelaide, was slated for 2 OTU Mildura as Acting Wing Commander and Chief Flying Instructor. Sadly, before that posting could take effect, Sybil died of meningitis on 27 May. She had been unwell for some time. On 10 June 1943 257414 S/Ldr Robert Wilton Bungey DFC was found on Brighton Beach, shot dead by his own hand. Their son Richard was then 13 months old. Bungey’s parents took Richard into their care.

    Herington, and Newton in A Few of the Few and First Impact, give good accounts of his RAF career. His service is recorded in his RAAF and casualty file at the National Archives of Australia and commemorated on the Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, and in the South Australian Aircraft Museum in Port Adelaide. Robert and Sybil lie at rest in St Judes Cemetery Brighton.

    AL Farrington
  3. Antipodean Andy

    Antipodean Andy New Member

    A brilliant post, Annie. Well done indeed. Quite moving too.

    Something for Geoff -
    Funnily enough, Kyt and I were just talking about these books as I've just bought First Impact for a song and Kyt's been chasing A Few of the Few for ages.
  4. Antipodean Andy

    Antipodean Andy New Member

    As an aside, this beach being closeish to where I am at work, I wonder if there's any sort of memorial to him?
  5. Antipodean Andy

    Antipodean Andy New Member

    Never mind, it's Brighton Beach in South Australia. :frusty: Still, it'd be interesting to know if there was at least a little plaque about one of Australia's great fighter leaders.


  6. liverpool annie

    liverpool annie New Member

  7. spidge

    spidge Active Member

    I took this when I was in South Australia earlier this year.

    View attachment 2378
  8. Antipodean Andy

    Antipodean Andy New Member

    Excerpts from Denis Newton's First Impact"

    Page 38: September 2, 1939 - the Advanced Air Striking Force, a component of the BEF headed to France, consists of 10 Battle squadrons and two Hurri squadrons. The AASF is an additional force to the Air Component of the BEF.

    The AASF Battle squadrons begin leaving for France in the morning. As in all the other RAF commands, Australians are sprinkled throughout these units. For example, 142 Squadron has three: S/L JF Hobler is the Squadron Leader Flying, responsible for flying, while F/L KR Rogers and WB "Wiggy" Wight are the two flight commanders; 226 Squadronb has two, F/Os RW Bungey and DA Cameron; P/O RA Givens is in 88 Squadron.

    Page 44: September 9
    Now almost settled in its new bases, the AASF carries out its first operational flights. 105 Squadron (Andy's edit - of later Blenheim and Mossie fame!) puts up three Battles, led by F/L CR Mace, on a reconnaisance to within 15 miles of the French/German border. LIkewise, 226 Squadron sends two separate formations of three to reconnoitre the frontier area around Thionville. F/O Bob Bungey & crew in Battle K7709 are members of the second group. One anti-aircraft shot is fired from the French battery at Thionville as a warning.

    Page 52: October 4
    Among the many Australians with the RAF in France are two South Australians. F/Os Leslie Clisby of 1 Squadron and Bob Bungey of 226 Squadron. The two celebrate Bungey's 25th birthday, Clisby flying across 300 miles (775 km) for the occasion. It will be the last they will share.

    Page 86: April 20/21, 1940
    With the weather now improving, snow and ice slowly disappears leaving the countryside lush and green. Several Battle squadrons will lose their records for April during the May retreat so full details of their operations in these days are incomplete. However, during the second half of the month, most of the squadrons fly Nickel leaflet raids after which they make reconnaissance sweeps...The weather is bright moonlight and cloudless with ground mist particularly heavy along the Moselle valley...F/O Bob Bungey of 226 Squadron, pilot of Battle P2255, will recall:
    Between our Nickels Point and Bonn we encountered numerous single searchlights which all failed to catch us. We arrived over Bonn and found it very difficult to locate the Rhine as it was covered with mist. As we continued our Recce of the Rhine it became clearer, (height at this time was 6,000 feet) but it was not clear enough to see whether there was any traffic...We encountered numerous single searchlights...There was no flak fire.

    Pages 97-98: May 13
    226 Squadron despatches seven Battles, including F/O Bob Bungey in L5438, to stop or at least delay a German tank column at the road junctions at Boeimeer, just south-west of Breda and at Rijsbergen. Not finding troops on the road, they bomb a building at Boeimeer, bringing it down across the adjacent road junction. ONe Battle force-lands near Brussels.

    I couldn't see a sign of any Germans - although a machine-gun did start up at us not far from the our target. Several bullets from this gun went through my main plane, and one of the machines was slightly hit, but nothing serious. Then, just as we arrived over the little village which was out target, we saw a group of about 20 Dorniers which were heading back towards Germany. We kept on and they didn't seem to notice us - which was a good thing - because a few seconds later we saw another lot of Dorniers on the other side of our formation - so at the time we would have been sandwiched between two fires. However, nothing happened and we made our run on the target. The village seemed to be deserted, and there weren't any civilians about so we dropped our bombs. The idea was to collapse houses on each side of the road so that they fell across the road itself. I dropped four bombs on my house, and the other two machines let theirs go as well. We did this from very low level - and immediately we'd dropped our loads, we turned back towards Antwerp - and we made our getaway safely, after catching a glimpse of a lot of wreckage which showed us that we'd found our mark - Bob Bungey.

    Page 108: May 28
    To avoid being overrun, 226 Squadron has, like the others, been obliged to keep moving back. In order to survive the slow-flying Battles fly at night but if the situation warrants, they must still operate in daylight. In a typical lone armed reconnaissance sorte, F/O Bob Bungey of Adelaide, flying Battle L5461, bombs 15 mechanised transport vehicles in Albert at 1230, a convoy on the Albert-Peronne road, and then strafes troops until his ammunition is exhausted.

    Page 151: August 17
    BRITAIN. Over the past 28 days, Fighter Command has lost 78 pilots killed and 27 wounded, mostly experienced airmen. OTUs cannot match this rate of attrition so the Air Ministry decides to slash pilot training plus allow volunteers from four Fairey Battle squadrons and four Lysander Army Co-operation squadrons in 22 Group to join Fighter Command. Among them are two Australians, F/O Bob Bungey (226 Squadron) and F/L John Hewson DFC (142 Squadron), both Battle pilots and veterans of the fighting in France.

    Page 186: November 7
    As they are climbing to intercept Stukas dive-bombing shipping off Portsmouth, Hurricanes of 145 Squadron are savagely attacked by Bf 109s and five are lost. South Australian F/L Bob Bungey in V6889 is shot down into the sea off the Isle of Wight and slightly injured.

    Page 187: November 9
    Despite poor weather and the knee injury he suffered when he baled out on the 7th, Bob Bungey is up again with his regular wingman, Belgian P/O Jean Offenberg (Andy edit - amazingly, just read about him in Peter Caygill's Biggin Hill Wing book!). Together, near the Isle of Wight, they intercept and claim a Ju 88 probably destroyed. This is apparently a machine of I/KG51 which subsequently crash lands at Villaroche.

    Page 204: December 11
    Dusk, south of Shoreham, two Hurricanes of 145 Squadron, led by South Australian F/L Bob Bungey, encounter a lone He 111. After a series of attacks fire breaks out between the bomber's port engine and fuselage and it goes into a shallow dive. The Hurricanes, now both out of ammunition, follow it 20 miles (32 km) out to sea. Both engines have obviously stopped but they do not see it crash. The Heinkel, still in a shallow glide, disappears into cloud at 2,000 feet (610 m). Lt Edmund Tremel manages to coax his crippled bomber (He 111P2, 2595, of II/KG27) across to Le Havre but then loses control and crashes, perishing with two of his crew.

    This book covers 1939-40 so that's it. Apologies for the long post.

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