Lochbroom Folk

Lochbroom's Sacrifice in the Second World War

Page 24

Sergeant 616009
159 Squadron, Royal Air Force
Died on 3rd February 1944 aged 23

Robert William Fraser was the son of Robert and Margaret (née Hendry), and husband of Isabel Fraser, of Mennock, Dumfriesshire.  Robert Fraser and Margaret Hendry married on 4th April 1919 at Ord Farm, Invergordon (his home).  He was a chauffeur (bachelor) aged 23.  Margaret Elizabeth was a munitions worker (spinster) living at the same address.

Robert William was born in 1920 at Ord Farm.  During his early years the family relocated to the Croy area, southeast of Inverness.  Robert senior died of pulmonary tuberculosis on 5th July 1925 aged 29 years at Easter Galcantray, Croy, Nairnshire.  The movements of Margaret and her son Robert William are not known until 1934 when she re-married on 8th March in Lochbroom Registration District, to Alexander Cameron, a widower, aged 46.  Both Alexander and Margaret are listed as resident at Leckmelm, Alexander worked as a forester and Margaret a dairymaid. 

Robert joined the Royal Air Force and was posted to 159 Squadron which was formed at Molesworth in England on January 2nd 1942.  The ground crew served in the Middle East from February. 12th 1942 (without aircraft) and were then posted to India on May 10th, (still without aircraft).  The squadron's aircraft were flown to Palestine in July 1942, from whence they carried out raids on North Africa, Italy and Greece before leaving for India on September 30th, with their first operation taking place on November 17th 1942.  The squadron operated in SEAC (South East Asia Command) for the remainder of the war, flying bombing, mining, and reconnaissance operations over Burma, Siam, Malaya, Indo-China and the Dutch East Indies  The squadron only flew Liberator aircraft; Mk's II, III, V, VI, VII.

Robert married Isabel Turnbull (1920-1977) at St Ninian’s Manse, Sanquhar, Dumfries (right) on 11th April 1942.  His marriage certificate states he was a motor mechanic, Corporal, serving with the Royal Air Force, with home address at Leckmelm, presently resident at RAF Acklington, Northumberland.   Isabel, a domestic servant, Assistant in the Navy, Army and Air Force Institute (NAAFI) lived at Mennock, Sanquhar. 

St Ninian's Manse, Sanquhar, Dumfries.

It is not known when Robert arrived in India and the details of his death are scant.  His death certificate states that he died at Digri, an airbase in West Bengal.

He was buried at RANCHI WAR CEMETERY, India among 703 casualties, in plot 9.F.4.
Ranchi is a town in the State of Jharkhand, 419 kilometres. north-west of Calcutta.

Headstones arranged in a perfect geometrical symmetry at Ranchi War Cemetery.

Photo courtesy of Stephen Rogers

Isabel, now a widow, remarried on 4th June 1946 to John Hiddleston (1920-1986) at St Bride’s Manse, Sanquhar, Dumfries.  She was a housekeeper.  Isabel died in 1977 at Glassgow and her husband died in 1986.

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