An Old Coathamian – Not Forgotten

Robert Edward Bushell WARREN

No. 658741 Sergeant (Pilot Under Training),
Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve.

Died 7 April 1943, aged 25 years.

Buried in Harare (Pioneer) Cemetery, Zimbabwe,
European War Graves Plot, Grave 92.

Southern Rhodesia, as it was then, was a British colonial territory in southern Africa: it is now the independent Zimbabwe. It was home to a large Royal Air Force flying training group during the Second World War. Many young airmen from Britain and the Commonwealth trained there to become pilots, navigators, air gunners, and other types of aircrew. It unfortunately had its fair share of fatalities, and many of the 224 Second World War graves in the European War Graves Plot of Salisbury (now Harare) Pioneer Cemetery are of such airmen, including Sergeant Warren.

Robert Edward Warren was the son of Edward and Marion Warren of Maple Grove, Redcar. He had at least one sibling, a brother, Harry. Born in August 1917, he entered Coatham School in September 1929, aged twelve, and joined Gale’s House. He was a day boy and came with a Sir William Turner Foundation Scholarship, which he had won by examination. He joined the school at the same time as Hill (q.v.), and was placed in Form IIIA. He perhaps stayed no more than two years, as he does not appear on the school list of December 1931. In 1934, he was a labourer, but enlisted in the Royal Artillery as a professional soldier. From there he transferred to the RAF in 1940 to train as a pilot. Having achieved that in 1941, he was in Southern Rhodesia to train as a night fighter pilot when he lost his life. He was first listed on the School’s Roll of Honour in December 1943.