Wilson, Robert Logan (No. 995972)

Wilson, Robert Logan (Bobby)

Aircraftman 1st Class

No. 995972, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve

Killed in an aircraft accident on Sunday 28 June 1942 (aged 23)

Buried:

Bangor Cemetery, Co. Down (Section 4. R. Grave 147)

Commemorated:

Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Bangor and District War Memorial

Bangor Parish Church of Ireland Church (St. Comgall’s)

BIOGRAPHY

Robert Logan (Bobby) Wilson was born on 28 January 1919 in the townland of Ballymacanallen, Lurgan, and he was a son of William Ogilvie Wilson, who was born in 1861, and Mary Wilson (nee Logan).  William Ogilvie Wilson was a farmer’s son from Bright near Downpatrick, and he worked as a landscape gardener.  Mary Logan was William Ogilvie Wilson’s second wife.

William Ogilvie Wilson, then living in Ballycarry, County Antrim, and Isabella Orr from Belfast were married on 11 March 1903 in Christ Church, Church of Ireland Church in Belfast.  They had at least two children:

Kathleen Eugenie Elizabeth (born 17 May 1906 in Bush, Antrim)

William John Crawford (Jack, born 2 March 1908 in Bush, Antrim)

Isabella Wilson died of pulmonary phthisis on 17 December 1912 (aged 41).

William Ogilvie Wilson and Mary Logan from Muckamore were married on 3 September 1915 in Antrim Parish Church of Ireland Church.

When the Wilson family moved to Bangor, they lived in Springhill Cottages, and they worshipped in Bangor Abbey.  William Ogilvie Wilson worked for Sir Robert Kennedy of Cultra whose house was where the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum is now located.  William and Mary Wilson had five children:

Dorothy (born 5.30 am 11 September 1916 in Muckamore, Co Antrim; at the time, her father was working in Donacloney, Co Down)

James (known as Roger, born 6.30 am 11 September 1916 in Muckamore, Co Antrim; at the time, her father was working in Donacloney, Co Down)

Robert Logan (born 28 January 1919 in Ballymacanallen, Lurgan)

Ogilvie Ennis (born 1921)

Mary (Molly)

William Ogilvie Wilson died before the outbreak of the Second World War and Mary suffered from rheumatoid arthritis.  During her illness Mary was looked after by her daughters Dorothy and Molly; Mary Wilson died on 27 September 1941 (aged 56).

Both William Ogilvie Wilson and Mary Wilson were buried in Bangor Cemetery.

After their mother died, Dorothy and Molly Wilson both worked in F.W. Woolworth’s Bangor store.  Dorothy Wilson died on 29 July 1973.

For four years before he enlisted, Bobby Wilson worked in the Grocery Department of Hugh Furey Ltd., Bangor.  He was educated at Bangor Central Public Elementary School and Bangor Technical School.  From an early age he was interested in aircraft and astronomy, and he was a renowned storyteller.  He is remembered for his striking appearance – almost 6 feet 5 inches tall with curly, ginger hair.  His other great interest was music, and he would have liked to pursue this interest further.  Regularly he went to the Tonic Cinema in Bangor for organ lessons from the organist Stendal Todd.

Bobby Wilson joined the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve in 1940.

The death of Aircraftman First Class Bobby Wilson (No. 995972) was reported in the 4 July 1942 edition of the County Down Spectator.  A member of ground staff, Bobby Wilson was one of two people aboard a Vickers Wellington Mark IC aircraft (R1445) that took off at 5.30 pm on 28 June 1942 from RAF Steeple Morden in Hertfordshire on a night flying test.  RAF Steeple Morden was a grass satellite dispersal airfield of RAF Bassingbourn used by No. 11 Operational Training Unit (OTU) of Bomber Command.  The aircraft lost power in one engine, stalled off a tight turn, crashed into a house at Ashwell, Hertfordshire (around two miles southwest of the airfield) and burst into flames.  The pilot, who had 450 hours of experience flying Wellingtons, was also killed:

  • Pilot Officer John Edwin Casey DFC (aged 23) Royal New Zealand Air Force

The funeral of Aircraftman First Class Bobby Wilson to Bangor Cemetery took place on Friday 3 July 1942 and the Rev James Hamilton of Bangor Abbey officiated.  At the time of Bobby’s death, his brother James (known as Roger) was serving as a gunner with the Royal Artillery, and he was a Prisoner-of-War in Italian hands.  Roger later escaped and was on the run for 28 days before he reached the safety of an American base.  Roger was a keen swimmer and golfer and he played golf at Carnalea.  He died on Carnalea golf-course in November 1989.

Bobby’s brother Jack worked as a gardener for Mr and Mrs R.W. Lindsay of Glen House, Crawfordsburn and his brother Ogilvie was an engineer on war work in England.

Aircraftman First Class Robert Logan Wilson was 23 when he died, and he is commemorated on Bangor and District War Memorial and in Bangor Parish Church of Ireland Church (St. Comgall’s).