Vivian Roy LEWIS


LEWIS, Vivian Roy

Service Number: 407104
Enlisted: 27 May 1940
Last Rank: Sergeant
Last Unit: No. 201 Squadron (RAF)
Born: Waikerie, South Australia, 24 October 1920
Home Town: Waikerie, Loxton Waikerie, South Australia
Schooling: Waikerie Public School and Kings College
Occupation: Electrician
Died: Flying Battle, Atlantic Ocean, 31 July 1942, aged 21 years
Cemetery: No known grave - "Known Unto God"
At sea Runnymede (Air Forces) Memorial, Surrey, England, Runnymede Memorial, Surrey, England, United Kingdom
Memorials: Adelaide WW2 Wall of Remembrance, Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, Runnymede Air Forces Memorial, Waikerie War Memorial
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World War 2 Service

27 May 1940: Enlisted Royal Australian Air Force, Aircraftman 2 (WW2), SN 407104, Adelaide, South Australia
27 May 1940: Enlisted Royal Australian Air Force, Sergeant, SN 407104
31 Jul 1942: Involvement Royal Australian Air Force, Sergeant, SN 407104, No. 201 Squadron (RAF), Air War NW Europe 1939-45

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Vivian Roy LEWIS was born in Waikerie on October 24, 1920 to John William and Jessie Lewis, of Waikerie. He was the only son but had two sisters, Irene and Fanny. He completed his schooling at The Kings College and became an electrician and was working in Waikerie.


On the 27th of May, 1940, Vivian completed his attestation in ADELAIDE and at almost 20 years of age joined the Royal Australian Air Force.


Vivian embarked on a troopship in February 1941 for service overseas, with him was Sgt Clifford FORT another South Australian who had enlisted and completed training with Vivian. Whilst enroute from Capetown to Freetown, their ship was torpedoed and sank so fast only four lifeboats with nearly 50 men aboard were got away. Two boats were so badly damaged that as they sank all men moved to the last two lifeboats. After 11 days on extremely meagre rations, one man died and others started to become delirious. Two days later, after 600 miles at sea, they sighted land but had to travel another 105 miles before they could land in British held territory to avoid being captured.


Vivian and Clifford survived and the already good mates became inseparable. After a short period of hospitalisation they were sent on again “Fit for Active Service”.      


He saw active service with the multiple missions as an air gunner with the 201st RAF Squadron flying in ‘Short Sunderland II Flying Boats’ from Castle Archdale in Northern Ireland. For the next year and a half he flew with his mate Clifford FORT in the same air crew.


On the 31st day of July, 1942, Vivian was again in action over the Atlantic ocean when their plane was lost. Vivian and Clifford lost their lives as a result of the air battle.   Their bodies were never recovered.


Vivian LEWIS and Clifford FORT are commemorated at the Runnymede War Memorial in Surry ENGLAND and on the Australian War Memorial on the Roll of Honour.


Vivian is also commemorated with a tree and plaque in the WAIKERIE War Memorial Gardens.