David Robertson was the 20-year-old son of Alexander Rose Robertson and Margaret Robertson, 75 South Street, Perth. He served in the RAF for 18 months, latterly as an air gunner. Robertson was well known in Perth as an amateur cyclist and member of the Fair City Cycling Club. He was also a keen table tennis player and was in the running for the city championship when he joined the RAF at the end of 1938.
Robertson was with RAF 58 Squadron based at RAF Linton-on-Ouse in North Yorkshire. He failed to return from a combat operation to bomb Stavanger airfield, Sola, Norway. He was onboard Armstrong Whitworth Whitley B Mk V N1465 (GE-N). Take off was at 2045 hours on 30 April 1940 and somewhere over the North Sea that night, the aircraft was lost. All five crew were posted as ‘missing presumed dead’ on 1 May 1940. No trace of the Whitley N1465 or its crew of five was ever found.
The Crew of Armstrong Whitworth Whitley N1465:
Flight Sergeant Cecil Robert Heayes RAF (562741), age 26
Sergeant Leonard Frank Tomlinson RAF (580338), age unknown
Sergeant Harvey Alderson Peel RAF (527531), age 26
Corporal Patrick Harold Devereux Ditmas RAF (550777), age 21
Aircraftman 1st Class David Robertson RAF (633753), age 20
The crew are commemorated at the Runnymede memorial in Surrey, England.
On 3 April 1940, a Junkers JU 88 was shot down by the Royal Navy in the North Sea. It made a forced landing on a field near Stavanger airfield. It had been allowed to land because of Norway’s neutrality in the war. On 9 April 1940, 132 German paratroopers captured the airfield. The German Organisation Todt used up to 6,000 prisoners of war and coerced local labourers to expand the airfield. Requistion of land took place on 19 April 1940 with 3,000 people and 6,000 animals were forced to leave. Stavanger had two strategic concerns, the control of the inlet to the Baltic Sea, the Skagerrak and a planned invasion of Britain from Norway.
On 30 April 1940, Stavanger-Sola airfield was attacked by the RAF with 1 Dornier Do 215 from 3.(F)/Aufkl.Gr. Ob.d.L. and 2 x Dornier Do 17s from 1(F)/Aufkl.Gr. 120 destroyed or damaged on the ground.
David Robertson, Perthshire Advertiser 21 December 1940
ROYAL AIR FORCE 1939-1945: BOMBER COMMAND (CH 238) Aircrew of No 58 Squadron display the defensive armament of one of their Whitley’s, 4 June 1940. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205218603
ROYAL AIR FORCE 1939-1945: BOMBER COMMAND (CH 242) The crew of a Whitley of No 58 Squadron struggle into their flying kit in front of their aircraft, 17 June 1940. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205218773
ROYAL AIR FORCE BOMBER COMMAND, 1939-1941. (CH 218) Aircrew of No. 58 Squadron RAF undergo a briefing by the Station Commander in the Operations Room at Linton-on-Ouse, Yorkshire, prior to an operation. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205208452
ROYAL AIR FORCE BOMBER COMMAND, 1939-1941. (CH 246) Armourers install .303 Browning machine guns in the rear turret an Armstrong Whitley Mark V of No. 58 Squadron RAF after routine maintenance at Linton-on-Ouse, Yorkshire. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205208457
ROYAL AIR FORCE BOMBER COMMAND, 1939-1941. (CH 229) An aircrew of No. 58 Squadron RAF load parachutes on board their Armstrong Whitworth Whitley Mark V at Linton-on-Ouse, Yorkshire, prior to a sortie. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205208455
ROYAL AIR FORCE BOMBER COMMAND, 1939-1941. (CH 222) Armstrong Whitworth Whitley Mark Vs (P5028 ‘GE-R’ and N1469 ‘GE-H’) of No. 58 Squadron RAF, being prepared for a sortie at Linton-on-Ouse, Yorkshire. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205208453