21 MARCH 1944
CRASH OF A BEAUFORT

5 MILES SOUTH EAST OF FANNING AIRFIELD

 

beaufort.jpg (13398 bytes)

Bristol Beaufort

 

RAAF Beaufort Mark VIII, A9-452 of 13 Aircraft Repair Depot (13 ARD) departed Breddan airfield in Queensland on a travel flight to Amberley at 1305 hours on 21 March 1944 on allotment to 6 Aircraft Depot (6 A.D.)

At 1315 hours E.A.S.T. on 21 March 1944, Beaufort A9-452, crashed 5 miles south east of Fanning airfield, in Queensland after the starboard developed a severe vibration and caught fire whilst in flight. The pilot crash the aircraft amongst some trees when he was apparently unable to feather the starboard airscrew, and could not maintain height. The wrecked aircraft was converted into components.

Mrs. McDonough of Fanning Rail Siding reported to No. 1 Signals Task Force Unit that an aircraft had forced landed 5 miles south east of Fanning airfield. A party was sent out by the Signals Task Unit and discovered Beaufort A9-452 had crashed and burnt. Five Air Force personnel were found in the vicinity of the wreckage, all suffering from severe burns. These personnel were transported by tender to 116th Australian General Hospital in Charters Towers. Flight Lieutenant Campbell, the Medical officer of No. 13 A.R.D. met up with them enroute to the hospital. He medically treated the three most seriously injured.

The pilot of Beaufort A9-452, Pilot Officer Donald William Ferguson (416943), of 2 Aircraft Park (2 AP) was seriously injured in this accident and died on 22 March 1944, the day after the crash. He was buried on 22 March 1944 in the War Cemetery, Charters Towers in Grave A.B.3.

Passenger Leading Aircraftsman William Glen Cadd (140268), a general hand of 13 Aircraft Repair Depot (13 ARD) at Breddan, was seriously injured in this accident and died on 22 March 1944 in the 116th Australian General Hospital in Charters Towers. He was buried on 23 March 1944 in the War Cemetery, Charters Towers in Grave A.B.4.

Passenger F/Sgt Geoffrey Charles Sykes (418203) was seriously injured and died from his injuries on 23 March 1944. He was buried on 24 March 1944 in the War Cemetery, Charters Towers in Grave A.B.5. He was a Navigator but was not the Navigator for this flight.

Other crew members in this crash were:-

F/Sgt John Neil Wise (408494) - Navigator "W", Seriously injured
F/Sgt Roy Herbert Williamson (413920) - Passenger - Slightly injured (he was a Pilot)

Personnel from 1 Signals Task Unit RAAF (previously 20 Signals Unit) went to to site of the crash to transport crew members to the hospital at Charters Towers. The crash site was located 5 miles south of their camp. Personnel from this Signals Task Unit included:-

F/Lt H.R. Amor (3592)
F/O J.G. Hall (265491)
Sgt. A.J. Hayne (15086)
Sgt. R.J. Roberts (24371)

The owner of Heathfield Station, Colin Watson, told me in November 2008 that this aircraft crashed on his property.

 

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I'd like to thank Ross McNeill (RossMcN@aol.com) of Worcestershire, UK, who is a  researcher specialising in sea losses of Allied aircraft 1939-45 for his assistance with this web page.  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.

 

REFERENCE BOOK

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

"Units of the Royal Australian Air Force - A Concise History, Volume 1, Introduction, Bases, Supporting Organisations"
compiled by RAAF Historical Section

 

Can anyone help me with more information on this crash?

 

I need your help

Copyright

 Peter Dunn 2015

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This page first produced 25 April 1999

This page last updated 31 August 2015