13 JUNE 1944
CRASH OF AN RAAF BEAUFORT

INTO THE SEA ON A TORPEDO MISSION
OUT OF HIGGINS FIELD, QLD

 

beaufort.jpg (13398 bytes)
Bristol Beaufort

 

FROM:   No. 7 Squadron, Postal Group 610, RAAF

TO:        One B.P.S.O., Postal Group 820., R.A.A.F.,
             Townsville, Queensland

DATE:    16th. June, 1944

REF:      5/2/AIR.

CONFIRMATORY MEMORANDA.

BEAUFORT A9-220

1.  Submitted herewith in accordance with the provisions of A.F.O. 18/E/2 paragraph (5) is confirmatory memoranda in respect of Beaufort aircraft A9-220.

2.  The following members, the crew of A9-220 are missing believed killed due to the aircraft landing in the sea, at 1400K,. 13th. June, 1944, in a position 1108 South and 13814 East.

 

410899 F/Sgt. Keats O.G. Pilot
F/O. F.C. Davies (424385) Navigator B
P/O. R. Arnold (429006) W. Op (Air)
P/O. W.R. Blain (432648) W. Op (Air)

 

3.    (i)  At 1130 K on the 13th June, 1944, Beaufort A9-220 proceeded from Higgins unaccompanied by any other aircraft, to carry out a ? Anti-sub Patrol.  From this time onwards no communications or messages were received from the aircraft.  At 13/0600/Z N.O.I.C. Thursday Island passed on message from HMAS "Inverell" the text of which is as follows:-

    (ii) "Beaufort apparently crashed in position 1108 S. 13819 E. at approximately 1330 K. am carrying out search."

    (ii)  A further message from HMAS "Inverell" was passed by N.O.I.C. Thursday Island at 13/0700/Z which reads:-

        "Reference my 13/0431/Z (.) Beaufort definitely crashed amended position 1108 S. 13814 E.  no survivors (.)  Considerable oil and small wreckage (.)  consider depth charges exploded after crash. (.)  No further details as accident occurred 6 miles from convoy (.)  Continuing passage".

(iii)    It was discovered later that HMAS "Inverell" was quoting Darwin time and not Eastern Standard Time which places the time of the accident at 1400 K. 13th. June, 1944.

4.    F/O. H.A. Read (427547) pilot and crew who had been detailed to relieve F/Sgt. Keats on this patrol arrived over the convoy at 1534 K. and messages passed between the aircraft and HMAS "Inverell" confirming the information in the messages quoted in the preceding paragraph.  The only additional information received was to the effect that the wreckage comprised a submerged rubber boat, small pieces of wreckage and where this was sighted the water showed signs of recent disturbance with numbers of dead fish in evidence.

5.  When the HMAS "Inverell" arrived in port, S/L C.E. Cox, No. 7 Squadron contacted the Commanding Officer who stated that a report of the accident was being submitted to the Naval Officer in Charge, Thursday Island a copy of which is to be sent to the Squadron.  When this report comes to hand a copy will be forwarded.  It appears however that this report will not throw any light on the cause of the accident.

6.  Particulars in respect of the pilot of Beaufort A9-220 are as follows:-

(i)     410899 F/Sgt. Keats O.G.

(ii)    Total flying hours of pilot at time of casualty        - 604.55 hours

(iii)    Pilots Flying assessment at No. 6 S.F.T.S.       Average

(iv)    Pilots Flying assessment at No. 1 O.T.U.          Below Average

(v)    Pilots flying assessment at No. 7 Squadron        Below Average

7.    It is advised that F/Sgt. Keats and crew were posted to the Squadron on 27th. May, 1944 and the accident occurred on their second operational flight.

 

(E.W. Cooper) AFC., Wing Commander                                                     
Commanding No. 7 Squadron
                                                             

 

        

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

 

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 3 March 1999

This page last updated 13 January 2017