The Airmen's Stories - F/Lt. R W Bungey
Robert Wilton Bungey was born at Fullarton, South Australia on 4th October 1914. He was educated at Glenelg Primary School and Adelaide High School and after leaving was employed as an insurance clerk.
He trained with the RAAF at Point Cook in 1936, sailed for England on 22nd July 1937 and transferred to the RAF on a short service commission in August. Bungey joined 226 Squadron at Harwell on 27th November 1937.
The squadron took its Battles to France on 2nd September 1939 as part of the AASF. It was in action throughout the Battle of France and was withdrawn to England in mid-June from Brest. In August Bungey responded to a call for volunteers for Fighter Command and joined 145 Squadron at Drem on 19th September.
Bungey was shot down on 7th November in Hurricane I V6889 and baled out into the sea near the Isle of Wight, with an injured knee. He damaging a Ju88 on the 9th, shared in the destruction of a He111 on the 11th and shared a Ju88 over the Channel on 10th March 1941.
With his knee still giving trouble, Bungey was posted from the squadron on 30th March 1941, to go into hospital for an operation.
He took command of the recently-formed 452 (RAAF) Squadron at Kirton-in-Lindsey on 10th June 1941. Bungey was awarded the DFC (gazetted 7th October 1941) and he destroyed a Me109 on 6th December.
He was posted away from the squadron on 25th January 1942. During 1942 Bungey had some staff postings.
He transferred back into the RAAF in January 1943 and he and his English wife went to Australia.
His wife gave birth to a baby boy but shortly afterwards, on 27th May 1943, she died from complications. On 10th June Bungey, unhinged by grief, went to a local beach and shot the child and then himself with his service revolver.
The boy survived and was adopted by an uncle.
Bungey was buried alongside his wife in St. Judes Cemetery, Brighton. South Australia.
His portrait was made by Sir William Rothenstein (below).
Above cemetery images courtesy of The War Graves Photographic Project