Service Details
Name:
ROBINSON
Given Name:
McCLELLAN ERIC SUTTON
Initials:
M E S
Service No:
102531V
Rank:
Lieutenant
Other Casualties of this Rank
Regiment:
South African Air Force
Other Casualties from this Regiment
Unit:
1 Sqdn.
Other Casualties from this Unit
Date of Death:
1944-11-14
Other Casualties on this Date
Age:
25
Cause of Death:
Killed in aircraft accident, air collision with 5103 Garsfontein, in Curtis Kittyhawk Mk III #5102
Decorations:
D F C
Citations:
LG Sup 28 September 1943 pg. 4307
Additional
Information:
Son of McClellan and Annie M. S. Robinson, of Johannesburg; husband of Mary E. Robinson, of Johannesburg. On Jeppe High School for Boys Roll of Honour. Born in Johannesburg in February 1919. Was originally allocated to a gunner's course on entering the South African Air Force after the outbreak of hostilities in September 1939, but was later transferred to a pilot's course. Duly qualified, he was posted to No. 1 (S.A.A.F.) Squadron, a Hurricane unit, in August 1942, and quickly went into action over the Western Desert, claiming a half-share in a Ju. 87 over El Alamein on 2 November. The Squadron having meanwhile been re-equipped with Spitfires, Robinson claimed a Me. 109 destroyed south-west of Tamet on 14 January 1943 and, on 25 March, over the Gabes sector, a confirmed Me. 210 and another 109 damaged. He then raised his status to fighter ace with a 109 destroyed over Tunisia on 2 April, another in the Cap Bon area on the 21st, and two more in a celebrated action on the following day, when both of his victims dived into the sea in balls of fire, while fellow pilots picked-off several giant Me. 323 transports above him. It was about this time that Robinson won acclaim for informing the unit's Intelligence Officer that "when I saw the 109s I peeled off onto them. Mind you, I was below the telegraph wires myself at the time." Quite what he reported to the I.O. following events on 14 July remains unknown, but we may be confident the "Warrior" Squadron's line-book contained some colourful language: he was shot down by an American P-38 and obliged to take to his parachute over the sea off Sicily - and was fortunate indeed to be picked up by a passing Greek destroyer. Tour expired, and a newly elected member of the Caterpillar Club, Robinson was awarded the D.F.C., and returned to the Union to take up employment as a flying instructor at 11 O.T.U., Waterkloof. His Caterpillar Club Badge, gold caterpillar with ruby eyes, the reverse officially inscribed, "Lt. M. E. Robinson", was offered for auction at Dix Noonan Webb on 12-13 December 2012 but failed to meet reserve
Commemoration
Country:
South Africa
Other Casualties commemorated in South Africa
Locality:
Gauteng
Other Casualties commemorated in Gauteng
Cemetery:
THABA TSHWANE (NEW) MILITARY CEMETERY
Other Casualties commemorated in this Cemetery
Grave Reference:
Grave 70.

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