11 MARCH 1945
CRASH OF A BEAUFORT
BETWEEN BOWEN AND GARBUTT, QLD

 

beaufort.jpg (13398 bytes)
Bristol Beaufort

 

RAAF Beaufort, A9-566, piloted by Squadron Leader Sharp, of 15 Squadron RAAF, disappeared on a ferry flight of three aircraft from Camden to Townsville via Amberley on 11 March 1945. The Squadron was on its way to Madang in New Guinea. It is believed it crashed somewhere between Bowen and Garbutt airfield in Townsville. The Beaufort had left Amberley at approximately 1330 hrs.

Weather conditions were adverse and the pilot of A9-566 stated that if he was unable to land at Garbutt he would return to Rockhampton. At approximately 1600 hours advice was received at Amberley Airfield that Garbutt Airfield was closed due to bad weather. Efforts were then made to contact A9-566 without success. A9-566 did not land at Rockhampton or any other alternative airfields.

One of the witnesses at the Court of Inquiry, Sgt Charles David Brown, Flying Control N.C.O. of No. 3 Aircraft Depot, Amberley, reported that Fighter Sector had advised him that an aircraft believed to be a Beaufort was circling Mackay. They later advised him that a Beaufort was circling Bowen at 1630 hrs. Sgt John Joseph O'Brien took over the shift from Sgt Brown at 1830 hrs. Sgt Brown was advised by Garbutt that Air-radio had advised them that A9-566 had landed at Rockhampton. Sgt Brown rang Rockhampton and found out that this information was not correct. Garbutt airfield was closed at that time due to bad weather.

Reliable Volunteer Air Observer Corps data reported sighting of A9-566 as follows:-

(i) Over Mackay 1630 hours, course North West

(ii) 20 miles North West of Mackay at 1620 hours

(iii) 10 miles North North West of Proserpine at 1635 hours

S/L Sharp was the Flight Commander of "B" Flight.

 

THOSE KILLED RANK SERVICE NO.
Sharp, Arthur John DFC Squadron Leader - Pilot 402140
Mossop, John Norton Warrant Officer - Wireless Air Gunner 407846
Thompson, Ernest Andrew Warrant Officer - Navigator 408889
Williams, Tristram Wilfred Pascoe Flight Lieutenant - Wireless Air Gunner 26792
Finley, Douglas Milne Leading Aircraftman - Passenger 72896

The crew are shown on Memorial Panel No. 101 at the Australian War Memorial.

Mrs K. T. Marshall, sister of Sgt. E.K. Jones wrote to teh Officer-in-charge, at Casualty Section, Department of Air on 26 March 1953 and inquired whether "the remains of the aircraft were ever found, or if any further information on the subject has ever come to hand."

Mrs. K. T. Marshall went on to state:- "At one time I was told unofficially by an officer of the Squadron that some wreckage was found on the mountains along the coast, and identified as my brother's plane, but I have had no official notification of any further news since the end of the search in 1942."

 

 

The following information is from the Commonwealth War Graves home page:-

In Memory of

DOUGLAS MILNE FINLEY

Leading Aircraftman
72896
Royal Australian Air Force
who died on
Sunday, 11th March 1945. Age 20.

Son of Thomas Edward and Anne Finley, of Darlington Point New South Wales.

Memorial:  SYDNEY MEMORIAL, New South Wales, Australia
Grave Reference/Panel Number:  Panel 7.

 

In Memory of

JOHN NORTON MOSSOP

Warrant Officer
407846
Royal Australian Air Force
who died on
Sunday, 11th March 1945. Age 30.

Son of John Garland Mossop and Hilda Helen Maud Mossop, of Little Hampton, South Australia.

Memorial:  SYDNEY MEMORIAL, New South Wales, Australia
Grave Reference/Panel Number:  Panel 5.

 

In Memory of

ARTHUR JOHN SHARP DFC

Squadron Leader
402140
Royal Australian Air Force
who died on
Sunday, 11th March 1945. Age 29.

Son of Albert Allan and Alice Mary Sharp; husband of Margaret Jean Sharp, of Harden, New South Wales.

Memorial:  SYDNEY MEMORIAL, New South Wales, Australia
Grave Reference/Panel Number:  Panel 5.

 

In Memory of

ERNEST ANDREW THOMPSON

Warrant Officer
408889
Royal Australian Air Force
who died on
Sunday, 11th March 1945. Age 28.

Son of Mr. and Mrs. E. Thompson; husband of Noela Mary Thompson, of Bondi Junction, New South Wales.

Memorial:  SYDNEY MEMORIAL, New South Wales, Australia
Grave Reference/Panel Number:  Panel 5.

 

In Memory of

TRISTRAM WILFRED PASCOE WILLIAMS

Flight Lieutenant
26792
Royal Australian Air Force
who died on
Sunday, 11th March 1945. Age 26.

Son of Hurtle Wilfred and Alicia Susan Lilian Godfrey Williams; husband of Ruth Ruby Williams, of Adelaide, South Australia.

Memorial: SYDNEY MEMORIAL, New South Wales, Australia
Grave Reference/Panel Number:  Panel 5.

 

 

ROYAL AUSTRALIAN AIR FORCE

PRELIMINARY REPORT (EXTERNAL) ON FLYING ACCIDENT OR FORCED LANDING

Serial No.    : 617            

Period           : 1944/45             

    Air Force Orders
    (10/D/2 & 18/E/1)

(a) AIRCRAFT:

Type:   

Number:   

 

Beaufort

A9-566

(b) UNIT 15 Sqn.
(c) LOCALITY

Place:    

Date:    

Time:    

 

Between Amberley & Garbutt

11.3.45

Unknown

(d) PILOT

Rank:    

Name:    

Condition:    

 

S/Ldr.

A.J. Sharp D.F.C.

Missing

(e) CREW:

Rank:    

Names:    

Condition:    

 

F/O. T.W.P. Williams      )
W/O. Thompson E.A.      )
W/O/ Mossop J.N.          )    Missing
LAC. Finley D.M.            )

(f) NATURE OF ACCIDENT: Aircraft missing on travel flight.  Last seen over Bowen approximately 1630 hours 11.3.45
(g) PROBABLE CAUSE: Unknown

     Date:  13-3-45

     Copies for information to-

     C.A.S.
     A.M.P.

     A.M.E.M.
     Secretary Air Board
     rest unreadable

 

 

Subject:   A9-566
Date:           Sat, 27 Nov 1999 23:32:34 -0800
From:          "Doug Lee" <douglee@acay.com.au>

The reference was to Beaufort A9-566 that crashed off Queensland in 1945.

The pilot was Squadron Leader Sharp DFC flight commander B flight 15 Squadron on travel between Camden to Townsville via Amberly.

The rest of the squadron proceeded from there to Madang where we operated for a while & then moved up to Middleburgh Island off Dutch New Guinea where we were when the war finished. The Squadron CO was Group Captain Tony Townsend AFC.

Regards
Doug Lee

 

 

Subject:   A9-566
Date:           Sun, 28 Nov 1999 20:55:29 -0800
From:          "Doug Lee" <douglee@acay.com.au>

Yes Sharp & crew weren't found, also 2 ground staff travelling with them. Don't ask me to remember their names. Its a long time ago.

Yes spent a few weeks in Townsville before heading north, did anti sub patrol.

The only other crashes I had close encounters with were an Anson from 73 squadron at Nowra that flew into Pigeon House Mountain late 43.

Also the two Beauforts that flew into each other at Jervis Bay from 8 OTU.

Also we lost a Beaufort out of Menangle Park, lost an engine on take off & feathered the wrong airscrew.

The others at Sale & Bairnsdale are well documented.

Regards
Doug Lee

 

 

NOTE:-   I also received information on the above crash from a list of aircraft crashes compiled by Bruce Stewart from a series of books called "Aircraft in Australian Service" by Stewart Wilson.

I also received some information on this incident from Ross McNeill (RossMcN@aol.com) of Worcestershire, UK, who is a  researcher specialising in sea losses of Allied aircraft 1939-45.  His Beaufort data comes from the RAF 800 movement cards held at the RAF Museum, Hendon. Ross spent a few months transcribing the info in about 1997.

NOTE:-   Peter Nielsen's book "Diary of WWII - North Queensland" shows this event as being on 22 March 1945 whereas the above RAAF records show 11 March 1945.. 

NOTE:-  The list of "Aircraft Crash Sites - Australia" shows the crash of Beaufort A9-366 on 11 March 1945. It states that the Beaufort was believed lost in the Mackay area.

 

SOURCE:-   Aircraft Crash Sites - Australia

Crash:         No. 197  (shows aircraft as A9-366, not A9-566)

Position:     21.09 - 149.12

Department of Aviation Chart No:       3235

 

REFERENCE BOOK

"Diary of WWII - North Queensland"
Complied by Peter Nielsen

"Aircraft and Markings of the RAAF 1939 - 1945"
By Geoffrey Pentland

 

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This page first produced 29 April 1999

This page last updated 13 January 2017