Sergeant Robert Arthur - 578 Squadron  


Sergeant Robert Geoffrey Arthur - RAFVR


Sergeant Robert Geoffrey Arthur  was the son of Henry and Elizabeth Rose of Chatham, Kent.He was born on the 22nd December 1921 in Luton, Chatham, Kent and after passing the entrance exam and starting a four year training course, became an apprentice Shipwright at H.M. Dockyard at Chatham. When war broke out,” Bob” as he was known, was excused call up but like so many wanted to volunteer as Air crew. He was selected for Pilot/Observer training and joined the Euston reserve.

 After training in England and America and various postings he was posted to 578 squadron at Burn under the inspirational and charismatic leadership of Wing Commander David ”Wilkie” Wilkerson. RAFVR,DSO,DFC. Flying Halifax’s, his first op was to Frankfurt, followed by his last op to Berlin. Bob and his crew in Halifax MZ-512 LK-C were the tenth to take off at 18.53 hours from Burn. Three 578 aircraft returned early with various faults. The remainder continued, with “C”-Charlie making it’s bombing run and setting course away, East of Berlin. Continuing on a homebound course, the Halifax sustained flak damage near Grossvargula,22km NW of Erfurt and caught fire. Bob ordered his crew to abandon the Halifax. Four crew were to lose their lives and two were to become pow’s.The survivors  later said that Bob had stayed at his controls to give his crew time to bale out. Those who died rest in the Berlin 1939-45 War Cemetery

 The crew consisted of:

Name Service Trade Hometown  Age
Sgt Robert Arthur  RAFVR Pilot Chatham, Kent 22
Sgt Norman Howlett  RAFVR Flight Engineer - -
F/O K.J. Avent - POW RAFVR Navigator - -
F/Sgt Robert Middlemas  RAFVR Bomb Aimer - -
Sgt Leonard Morgan  RAFVR W/Op/AG Cardiff 22
Sgt Robert Davidson  RAFVR M/U Gunner Manse, Angus 22
Sgt P.Kinsella - POW RAFVR Rear Gunner  - -


  Photo courtesy of Joy Hammond, research by Linda Ibrom.