Rhys ROBERTS

ROBERTS, Rhys

Service Number: 407513
Enlisted: 12 October 1940, Adelaide, SA
Last Rank: Warrant Officer
Last Unit: No. 223 Squadron (RAF)
Born: Kadina, South Australia, 3 October 1915
Home Town: Kadina, Copper Coast, South Australia
Schooling: St Peters College, Kadina Memorial High School and Roseworthy Agricultural College, South Australia
Occupation: Student
Memorials: Australian Ex-Prisoners of War Memorial (Ballarat)
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World War 2 Service

12 Oct 1940: Involvement Royal Australian Air Force, Aircraftman 2, SN 407513, Aircrew Training Units, Empire Air Training Scheme
12 Oct 1940: Enlisted Royal Australian Air Force, Aircraftman 2, SN 407513, Aircrew Training Units, Adelaide, SA
25 Apr 1944: Involvement Royal Australian Air Force, Warrant Officer, SN 407513, No. 223 Squadron (RAF) , Prisoners of War
20 Nov 1945: Discharged Royal Australian Air Force, Warrant Officer, SN 407513, No. 223 Squadron (RAF)

Repatriated AIrman

The long awaited news of the re-lease, as a P.O.W, of their younger son, Warrant Officer Rhys Roberts, R.A.A.F., has been received by Mr and Mrs K. R. Roberts., of Kadina.
On Monday, a cabled message received stated that he had arrived in Liverpool, England, on 15th and was "fit, well and cheerful." This message must be most assuring to his parents
after his varied experiences, for more than once his life has been in jeopardy. He was taken a prisoner of war in October, 1942, and previous to that, was shot down in Tobruk. When captured at El Alemein, he was the only survivor of his plane, and had received injuries when bailing out of the burning machine. After being a patient in a front line hospital, he was conveyed to Austria via Greece and Italy, and was a prisoner in three different camps in Germany. His final place of custody was Stalag No 3 in East Prussia, and during transit there, had three days in Berlin. During the time spent in this camp he lectured on sheep and wool, his education proving beneficial to him. He commenced his early studies at St. Peters College, Adelaide, and, on returning to the Kadina High School, won a scholarship for Roseworthy College where he studied for three years. When he will arrive home is not yet known.

Kadina and Wallaroo Tines Fri 22 Sep 1940

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My, Father My War Hero🙏

My Father Warrant Officer Rhys Roberts was and still is My Hero...I have so much Admiration for his contribution to World War 2...i am so lucky to have all his letters etc from the War which his Sister Jessie kept all these years and was able to pass on to me his Daughter and I will pass on to generations to come...we can not forget what all these brave Men and Woman did and fought for...Love and miss you My Dear Dad🙏

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Biography contributed by Steve Larkins

Warrant Officer Rhys ROBERTS  RAAF 1940-45

 

An ex-student of St Peters College and Roseworthy Agricultural College (where he was awarded a 3 year scholarship), he enlisted in October of 1940 and served in 223 Squadron (RAF). Warrant Officer Roberts found himself in Stalag Luft VI after his plane was shot down over Tobruk. He was the only survivor of the crash, however he did not escape lightly. He received serious burns to his face as he escaped the burning plane, and spent his first 3 months after capture in a German hospital. For a period of time before a skin graft operation restored his lower eyelids, Rhys was unable to fully close his eyes. The nurse tending to Rhys after his eye operation wrote home to his mother, telling her how she had read to him while his eyes were bandaged for a week. Her letter ended with, “we are all very fond of Rhys…after this I’m taking him for a long walk and a picnic”. Rhys was discharged in November, 1945 and returned home “fit, well and cheerful” to continue the rest of his life.

 

Complied and researched by Ned Young VWMA Sep 2019

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