Selwyn George DE VIS


DE VIS, Selwyn George

Service Number: 423449
Enlisted: 30 June 1942, Sydney, NSW
Last Rank: Pilot Officer
Last Unit: No. 77 Squadron (RAAF)
Born: Brisbane, Qld., 11 July 1923
Home Town: Magill, Campbelltown, South Australia
Schooling: Canberra High School, Sydney University
Occupation: Laboratory Technician
Died: Flying Battle, Germany, 19 March 1945, aged 21 years
Cemetery: Rheinberg War Cemetery, Germany
13 F 9
Memorials: International Bomber Command Centre Memorial
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World War 2 Service

3 Sep 1939: Involvement Pilot Officer, SN 423449
30 Jun 1942: Enlisted Royal Australian Air Force, Pilot Officer, SN 423449, No. 77 Squadron (RAAF), Sydney, NSW

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Biography contributed by Faithe Jones

Son of Frederick and Hazel de Vis of South Australias was born 11 July 1923. His father, Frederick Selwyn, served in World War I, leaving Australia on 31 January 1916 per the HMAT Wandilla, AND ALSO IN World WarII.

P/O. Selwyn G. de Vis reported missing some time ago when on his 38th raid over enemy territory, Pilot-Officer Selwyn G. de Vis, only son of Mrs. H. de Vis, of Bouldrewood Street, Turner, is now presumed dead, according to official advice received by his mother. The target for his last mission was the large oil refineries at Witten (Ruhr), but the plane was not heard of after it left its base in England. The late P/O. de Vis attended the Canberra High School, from where he joined the staff of the C.S.I.R., but he resigned in 1941 and entered the Department of Anatomy, Medical School, Sydney University, as a laboratory technician. Whilst there he began a diploma course in bio-logical chemistry and passed his first year examinations, just prior to his air-crew call-up in 1942.

Halifax RG 529 -Merklinde near Dortmund on 19 March 1945. Target Witten. From investigation it was concluded that the two aircraft, a Lancaster and the Halifax, had in fact collided “Investigation disclose that on the 19th March 1945 two aircraft crashed at Merklinde four miles west of Dortmund; both aircraft fell at the same time and within one hundred yards of each other. The bodies of all members of both crews were found in the wreckage by the Germans and there can beno doubt that all were killed instantly. Subsequent enquiries among the inhabitants fail to disclose the place of burial of the bodies and by the time the Missing Research and Enquiry service was operating in the area no identifiable wreckage remained. It was thought that the crews had probably been buried in the main cemetery at Dortmund, but no reference to any burials from these crashes appeared in the cemetery register, which otherwise appeared to have been carefully kept. Recent investigations however, disclosed a group of unmarked and unregistered graves in the cemetery and, on exhumation, it was possible to establish the identity of your son and all members of his crew.” (RAAF Casualty File)

THE CREW:RAF Flight Lieutenant E Ward -Pilot RAF Flight Sergeant J A Anderson -Navigator RAF Sergeant E A C Pearce -Flight Engineer RAF Pilot Officer T M Kerr -Air Bomber RAAF Pilot Officer S G de Vis -Wireless Operator RAF Flight Sergeant J Dyke -Air Gunner RAF Flight Sergeant W J Edwards -Air Gunner 

Fraulein Isle Schwars of Nerbeds, Germany wrote on two occasions to Mrs de Vis, Pilot Officer De Vis’s mother, about the place of burial and the exhumation of his body. His uniform was identified as a different colour to the other crew members and the person was assumed by locals to be Australian. Pilot Officer de Vis is buried in the Rheinberg War Cemetery Plot 13, Row F, Grave 9.

He is remembered with honourat the Australian War Memorial, Canberra High School and St John the Baptist Anglican Church, Reid ACT.