Bob was born on the 16th February 1902 in Mildura, Victoria. He enlisted in the RAAF on the 13th July 1942 and served with the famous Number 79 Squadron, RAAF Spitfires. He was discharged on the 26th September 1944.
After training, he eventually found himself stationed at Goodenough Island. He flew on a number of missions flew over Kiriwina Island against the Japanese Imperial Air Force. (Web Master: Kiriwana Island is the largest island of the Kiriwana Island group, which used to be called the Trobriand Islands. They are part Papua New Guinea. Goodenough Island is in D’entrecasteaux Islands, which are to the south west of Kiriwana, and closer to the mainland of Papua New Guinea.)
Not much information is to hand on Bob, however his fellow Pilot Officer David Hopton has made available the accompanying photograph from his personal collection. David said that too much water has passed under the bridge since those days, and due to fading memory, he is unable to give any real anecdote for this mini biography. The photo from left to right: George Voges, Phil Turner, Bob Rice, Peter Birch, Bill Wright, Max Bott (CO), Richards, George Gilbert, Reg Nathan, Bob Chaffey (Admin). Bob Rice and Richards hold the flag.
The other photo was taken in Los Negros, Admiralty Islands, Papua New Guinea in April 1944. Flying Officer M. Walsh, 114 Fighter Control Unit (left), and Flight Lieutenant Bob Chaffey, Defence Officer (right), examine the sign at the entrance to the RAAF’s 114 Fight Control Unit in Momote plantation at Southeast Point. The sign reads, “Perth 5290, Adelaide 3507, Young & Jacksons Pub Melbourne 2990, Sydney 2472, Brisbane 1955, Townsville 1237”.
David Hopton and Steve McGregor
Updated by Vince Conant
The Spitfire Association