Sinclair, R.R. (Dick)
His aircraft was hit near Chinnampo, leading to a loss of oil pressure and a fire in his engine. He managed to reach the coast and bailed out, but was struck by the tail fin on exiting the aircraft. His body was recovered by HMAS Sydney’s helicopter.
The 805 Squadron Diary entry for that day reads as follows:
‘Armed Recce No 2 for the day was 51 Flight and this turned out to be a milk run. After checking some junks at 951904 a strafing attack was made on some troops in trenches. The flight then headed for [untelligible] to check the rail yard [for] box cars. On leaving this area 51-4 (Sub/Lieut Sinclair) was hit by an explosive shell and called up to say there was a smell of burning in the cockpit. He then gained height and headed seaward. Directly over the coast flame appeared from forward and underneath the aircraft and very shortly afterwards the aircraft went into an apparently uncontrolled dive. Approx 300-400 feet from the deck the pilot was seen to bale out and the parachute open at 100 ft. On hitting the ground the pilot was not seen to move, and when the helicopter from Bromide-Baker picked the body off the mud bank there was no sign of life. Medical examination subsequently showed that he was hit by the tail surfaces and the parachute was broken open by the impact.
S/Lt Sinclair was one of the best shots in the Squadron and had the keenest eyesight of all, he will [be] missed by all – especially by those in the casbah.‘
Paragraph 3 of HMAS Sydney’s Report of Proceedings 20/2E/1 of 20 December 1951 notes that S/Lt Sinclair’s body was committed to the deep with full Naval honours at 1745 (local time) on 7th December 1951 at position 37° 35’N 124° 30′ E.
Any further information about SBLT Sinclair would be appreciated.