Robert Henry Valencia
Air Gunner, 156 Squadron
Service number 1814417
Died 13 August 1944
Buried Rheinberg War Cemetery, Germany
‘AT THE GOING DOWN OF THE SUN AND IN THE MORNING WE WILL REMEMBER THEM’
Robert (Bobby) was born 19 November 1914 in London to Jacob and Kate née Levy of Wandsworth. Bobby had three siblings, Lottie, Emmanuel and Esther. Their father worked originally as a tailor but by 1939 he was working on Grays Inn Road, London as a roast cook carver. Bobby worked in the business as a carver and his sister Lottie was the company director.
Bobby’s family have supplied the following information from his service records. ‘Bobby enlisted on the 23 January 1943 at Euston aircrew recruiting centre as an air gunner and was sent to 4 Air Gunnery school. He was then posted to 27 Operational Training Unit. He spent some time in hospital from 22 October 1943 returning to his unit on 4 February 1944. On the 30 March 1944 he was at 156 Squadron. Bobby flew on 23 missions with his crew and they flew four without him when he was in Cosford Hospital. Bobby trained as a mid upper gunner but the two gunners obviously changed around being in a pathfinder crew and he would know how to operate both gun turrets’.
Bobby was the rear gunner on Lancaster PB209 which departed from RAF Upwood at 22.01 hours on a night operation to bomb Russelsheim in Germany.
‘The raid on Russelheim 12/13 August 1944 where they failed to return, was heavily defended and they were caught on route by night fighter Heinz Wolfgang Schnaufer. The bodies of Bobby and one of his crew were found about 500 yards from the crash site and the others were at crashed aircraft. Bobby and Alsbury were found intact with opened parachutes. The photo is actually Bobby’s plane showing the rear half, the rear gun turret is missing and it was found further away’.
W/Op, A/G, William Thomas Alsbury, 977330
A/B, Leonard Lawrence Deed, DFC, 403983, RAAF
Nav, Stewart Leigh Dennis, DFC, 403914, RAAF
MUG, Donald William Dunham, 406522, RAAF
F/E, Ernest William Hunter, 1825464
Pilot, James Neil McDonald, DFM, 407529, RAAF
R/G, Robert Henry Valencia, 1814417