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Shelton Flamer Caldera

Flight Sergeant (Pilot) first at 504 than 135 Squadron. Service Number 1396941 Died 23/03/1944, Aged 29, Son of Justin Beauclerc Flamer-Caldera and of Lena Flamer-Caldera (née Barber), of Mount Lavinia, Ceylon.

Flew a Hurricane II, spun into the ground during aerobatics 3m N of Minneriya. Spun in on top of loop at 3000 feet and failed to pull out. Buried at COLOMBO (KANATTE) GENERAL CEMETERY Plot 6A. Row F. Grave 15.

Shelton, the eldest, was sharp, smart and unpredictable and did not surprise anybody when he decided to enlist and fight for England in World War II. I personally did not think it was his loyalty to the British that prompted the enlistment, but his adventurous spirit.

He joined the Royal Air Force as a Spitfire fighter pilot, and carried out dozens of sorties protecting the Lancaster bombers over Germany, and eventually came good in the battles for RAF.

He returned to Sri Lanka after the war and was stationed in Sigiriya with a Spitfire squadron. He came to Colombo regularly and he used to meet at The Pagoda over rice and curry in the company of Lucian de Zoysa, Douglas Munasinghe, George Ponniah, Brookie and Anno D’Silva, Neville Jansz and a few others. Soon afterwards tragedy struck when Shelton was practicing aerobatics in preparation for an R.A.F. display in aid of charity. He was practicing a spin, roll and loop when he failed to get out of one and crashed into the sticks of Sigiriya. A sad end to a delightful man.

Credit – Henrik Melder, Charles Ameresekere


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  1. Hi Dinuka, Please correct the fact that Shelton Flamer-Caldera was NOT awarded the DFC and he did NOT fight in the Battle of Britain. I have contacted Henrik Melder and he has corrected his original post of “Ceylon Then and Now”. Also, I am not sure where the drawing of Shelton Flamer-Caldera originated from. It does not look anything like him. It looks more like his relative Adam Flamer-Caldera who is a model and a doctor

    This is what I wrote to Henrik:
    Shelton Flamer-Caldera flew Spitfires with 504 Squadron (before moving to 135 Sqn) at the same time as Mervyn Rex De Silva, Emile Jayawardena and Clarence Harold Jacotine (from Bambalapitiya). Jacotine was killed while serving with that squadron on 27/8/1943. There is no question that these were brave men, but I don’t understand why people need to add unnecessary untruths to embellish their stories. Shelton Flamer-Caldera DID NOT serve during the Battle of Britain. That battle was over by the time the Ceylonese volunteers reached UK. Also, he was NOT AWARDED the DFC. The DFC was awarded to officers only. NCOs and other ranks were awarded the Distinguished Flying Medal (DFM). Flamer-Caldera was NOT awarded the DFM either. The only Ceylonese to be awarded the DFC were Rohan Amerasekera, a Navigator in RAF Bomber Command (DFC awarded twice) and C.L.F. “Jimmy” Talalla, a Spitfire pilot (a Sinhalese from Malaya). Jimmy’s brother H.C.B. Talalla flew Typhoons in the RAF and was KIA over France in July 1944. Another brave Ceylonese pilot that was KIA (over Malta) was Dugald Abeysekera (who had played Cricket for St. Thomas’ before the war) and I have seen articles stating that he was also awarded the DFC, which again is incorrect. You do not have to be awarded the DFC to be considered brave. There were at least 4 batches of Ceylonese volunteers (approx 15 in each batch) that served with the RAF in WW2. They were all very brave to volunteer for such dangerous duties, so far from home. Many were KIA (C H Jacotine, Ananda Kularatne, Vincent Fernando, Kingsley Perera, S.S.Sinniah to name a few) while flying for the RAF in WW2. There was even a female pilot, Aimee Jonklaas, a Ceylonese by birth (born in Gampola) that served with the Air Transport Auxillary (ATA) ferrying aircraft for the RAF. All brave souls, with or without decorations.

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