Donald FLETCHER

Poppy

FLETCHER, Donald

Service Number: 412942
Enlisted: 18 January 1917
Last Rank: Pilot Officer
Last Unit: No. 77 Squadron (RAF)
Born: St Leonards, North Sydney - New South Wales, Australia, 18 January 1917
Home Town: Manilla, Tamworth Municipality, New South Wales
Schooling: Not yet discovered
Occupation: Farmer
Died: Flying Battle, Germany, 20 February 1944, aged 27 years
Cemetery: No known grave - "Known Unto God"
Commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial
Memorials: Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, Runnymede Air Forces Memorial
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World War 2 Service

18 Jan 1917: Enlisted Royal Australian Air Force, Aircraftman 2 (WW2), SN 412942, Aircrew Training Units
19 Jan 1917: Involvement Royal Australian Air Force, Aircraftman 2 (WW2), SN 412942, Aircrew Training Units, Empire Air Training Scheme
22 Oct 1943: Promoted Royal Australian Air Force, Pilot Officer, Aircrew Training Units
20 Feb 1944: Involvement Royal Australian Air Force, Pilot Officer, SN 412942, No. 77 Squadron (RAF), Air War NW Europe 1939-45

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Biography contributed by Steve Larkins

Born in St Leonards, Sydney NSW,  Donald FLETCHER enlisted on the 15th of August, 1941 and trained as Airman Aircrew (Air Gunner) before being commissioned as a Pilot officer on the 22nd of October, 1943, under the Empire Air Training Scheme.

During the course of his training he trained on included the Fairey Battle, Armstrong Whitworth Whitley and Handley Page Halifax.

Donald was a crew-member of Halifax LL14 of No 77 Squadron (RAF)when it was shot down near Leipzig, Germany on the 20th of February, 1944.

He has no known grave and as such is listed on the Runnymede Memorial in Surrey, UK and at Panel 122 in the Commemorative Area of the Australian War Memorial.

Pilot Officer Donald Fletcher born at St Leonards in Sydney in January 1917 the son of Angus and Ella Fletcher of “Bandaloo”, a property out of Manillain New South Wales. Donald was a farmer and enlisted in the Reserve at 2a Mobile Recruiting Unit in his home town Manilla on 24 November 1940, he re-enlisted for active service in the Air Force on15 August 1941 and was immediately sent to 1 ITS at Somers on Western Port Bay, Victoria. Donald joined No 26 Air Gunners course from 16 November 1942 to 9 December 1942 gaining his Air Gunners Badge. He gained his Flying Badge on 10 December 1942. He embarked from Melbourne on 15 January 1943 for the United Kingdom disembarking there on 17 March 1943.19 OTU in United Kingdom 7 April 1943 then onto 1652 Conversion Unit before joining 77 Squadron RAF on 25 July 1943. Donald was promoted to Pilot Officer on 22 October and had flown Battle, Whitley and Halifax planes Pilot Officer Donald Fletcher was listed as missing in action on 20 February 1944.

Halifax LL 143 took off at 2331 hours from RAF Station Elvington, on an operation sortie on the night of 19/20 February 1944, the target Leipizig. The aircraft did not return and nothing further was heard of aircraft or crew who were on their 30th operation.

CREW:RAAF Flight Lieutenant H A L Ellis -Pilot RAF Sergeant J N Schofield -Flight Engineer RAF Pilot Officer P H J Mackie -Navigator RAFPilot Officer R D Sullivan -Air Bomber RAFSergeant H F Payne -Wireless Air Gunner RAF Pilot Officer C W G Graham -Air Gunner RAAF Pilot Officer D Fletcher -Air Gunner

Both aircraft and crew were lost without trace and the crew have no known grave. They are remembered on the Memorial to theMissing, Runnymede, Surrey and Pilot Officer Fletcher is remembered with honour at the Australian War Memorial

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