The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (436537) Flight Sergeant Ian Hunter Fleming, No. 12 Squadron, Royal Air Force, Second World War.

Places
Accession Number AWM2018.1.1.43
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 12 February 2018
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 (436537) Flight Sergeant Ian Hunter Fleming, No. 12 Squadron, Royal Air Force, Second World War.

Speech transcript

436537 Flight Sergeant Ian Hunter Fleming, No. 12 Squadron, Royal Air Force
Killed in flying battle 23 October 1944

Story delivered 12 February 2018

Today we remember and pay tribute to Flight Sergeant Ian Hunter Fleming.

Born in the village of Cheddington in Buckinghamshire, England, on 17 September 1919, Ian Fleming was the son of John and Mary Fleming.

When Ian was young, the Fleming family emigrated to Australia. The young Ian Fleming attended St Joseph’s Nudgee College in Brisbane and then Marist Brothers College in Sydney before attending Xavier College in Melbourne. A keen sportsman, Fleming enjoyed running as well as playing rugby union, golf, squash, cricket, and table tennis.

As the family settled in the Perth suburb of Nedlands, Ian Fleming began work as a freelance journalist.

Before his enlistment in the Royal Australian Air Force on 5 February 1943, Fleming had served in the Second Australian Imperial Force. He had enlisted under the name of Ian Hunter, and served as lance corporal in the 35th Infantry Training Battalion before being posted to the 16th Battalion Headquarters Company.

After 12 months in the Second AIF, Fleming was given a transfer to the RAAF to train as an air gunner. He received initial training in Australia and in October 1943 left Sydney for overseas service.
As part of the Empire Air Training Scheme, he was one of almost 27,500 RAAF pilots, navigators, wireless operators, gunners and engineers who, throughout the course of the war, joined Royal Air Force squadrons or Australian squadrons based in Britain.

In Britain, Fleming undertook further specialist training before being posted to No. 12 Squadron, Royal Air Force, in July 1944. Part of RAF Bomber Command, No. 12 Squadron was equipped with four-engined Avro Lancaster heavy bombers.

On the night of 23-24 October 1943, the Lancaster in which Fleming was the tail gunner was taking part in a bombing raid over Essen in Germany. His plane was shot down and crashed near the border between Germany and the Netherlands.

Fleming and all six of his crewmates were killed. They were fellow Australians Warrant Officer John Phillip, Flight Sergeant Douglas Maclean, Flight Sergeant John Kelly, Flight Sergeant Arthur Llewellyn, Flight Sergeant Kenneth Rowley; and their British crewmate, the flight engineer Sergeant Frank Niblett.

Ian Fleming was 25 years old.

The bodies were recovered from the crash site, and the crew are buried side by side in the Winterswijk Cemetery in the Netherlands.

Fleming’s name is listed on the Roll of Honour on my left, among almost 40,000 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 Flight Sergeant Ian Hunter Fleming, who gave his life for us, for our freedoms, and in the hope of a better world.

Lachlan Grant
Historian, Military History Section

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