The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (410155) Warrant Officer Robert Barnes Flegg, No. 70 Squadron, Royal Air Force, Second World War.

Place Europe: Austria, Karnten, Klagenfurt
Accession Number AWM2016.2.49
Collection type Film
Object type Last Post film
Physical description 16:9
Maker Australian War Memorial
Place made Australia: Australian Capital Territory, Canberra, Campbell
Date made 18 February 2016
Access Open
Conflict Second World War, 1939-1945
Copyright Item copyright: © Australian War Memorial
Creative Commons License This item is licensed under CC BY-NC
Copying Provisions Copy provided for personal non-commercial use
Description

The Last Post Ceremony is presented in the Commemorative area of the Australian War Memorial each day. The ceremony commemorates more than 102,000 Australians who have given their lives in war and other operations and whose names are recorded on the Roll of Honour. At each ceremony the story behind one of the names on the Roll of Honour is told. Hosted by Gerard Pratt, the story for this day was on (410155) Warrant Officer Robert Barnes Flegg, No. 70 Squadron, Royal Air Force, Second World War.

Speech transcript

410155 Warrant Officer Robert Barnes Flegg, No. 70 Squadron, Royal Air Force
KIA 7 July 1944
No photograph in collection

Story delivered 18 February 2016

Today we pay tribute to Warrant Officer Robert Barnes Flegg, who was killed on active service with the Royal Air Force.

Born in the Melbourne bayside suburb of Hampton on 19 August 1918, Bob Flegg was the son of William Ernest Flegg and Grace Pearl Flegg. As a young man Flegg attend Hampton Primary School and Hampton High School, then Taylor’s Coaching College. He trained as a clerk at Hemingway and Robertson’s, and was later employed with the Melbourne firm Evans Brothers.

A keen sportsman, Flegg was a highly talented cricketer, but it was in football that he excelled. Playing as a full forward for Ormand, Flegg booted 130 goals in his first season in the A Grade amateurs. In three seasons at Ormand he would kick 245 goals and represent Victorian amateurs.

After a season with Sandringham in the Victorian Football Association, Flegg joined the St Kilda Football Club in the Victorian Football League for the 1941 season. In his first and only season of league football Flegg kicked a remarkable 47 goals in 18 matches.

In October 1941 Flegg married Leslie Mavis Smith, and in December of that year he enlisted in the Royal Australian Air Force. He began training as a pilot, and in January 1943 embarked for overseas service. As part of the Empire Air Training Scheme, Flegg was one of almost 27,500 RAAF pilots, navigators, wireless operators, gunners, and engineers who joined squadrons based in Britain throughout the course of the war.

Arriving in England, Flegg undertook further training before being posted to No. 70 Squadron, Royal Air Force. Flying out of Italy, this squadron was equipped with the twin-engine Vickers Wellington medium bomber.

On the night of 6 July 1944 the bombers from No. 70 Squadron took part in a larger force’s raid on the Fuersbrunn airfield in Austria. The operation caused significant damage to this important airfield, grounding many enemy fighters. However, the cost for the RAF was severe. Ten Wellington bombers, two Liberators, and one Halifax aircraft failed to return out of a force of 57.

Flegg’s Wellington was one of those lost. He was killed in action along with his British crewmates and fellow Australian Flight Sergeant Josiah Turner.

Flegg was 25 years old. His body was later recovered and buried at the British Commonwealth War Cemetery at Klagenfurt, Austria.

His name is listed on the Roll of Honour on my left, along with around 40,000 other Australians who died while serving in the Second World War.

This is but one of the many stories of service and sacrifice told here at the Australian War Memorial. We now remember Warrant Officer Robert Barnes Flegg, who gave his life for us, for our freedoms, and in the hope of a better world.

Dr Lachlan Grant
Historian, Military History Section

  • Video of The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (410155) Warrant Officer Robert Barnes Flegg, No. 70 Squadron, Royal Air Force, Second World War. (video)