|Pilot F/Lt Kenneth John Hanson, 403585 (KIA, BR) Roeville, NSW
Co-Pilot W/O Alfred Cook, 419295 (KIA, BR) Spotswood, VIC
Crew Sgt Arnold Alexander Lockyer, 80471 (POW / KIA, BR) Port Hedland, WA
Crew P/O George Grey Lindley, 427712 (POW / KIA, BR) Mandurah. WA
Crew F/Sgt William James Maxwell, 435994 (KIA, BR) Windsor, QLD
Crew F/Sgt Stephen Patrick Cloake, 441014 (KIA, BR) Mitchelton, QLD
Crew F/O John James Oliver Hume, 427095 (KIA, BR) Hilton, SA
Crew F/Sgt Frank Grainer Vincent Hutton, 437421 (KIA, BR) Vale, VIC
WAG F/Sgt John Victor Orgill, 441469 (POW, beaten to death, MIA) East Fremantle, WA
Crew F/Sgt Brendan Michael Heslin, 440787 (KIA, BR) Mendooran, NSW
Crew F/Sgt Charles Neville Nichol, 440381 (KIA, BR) Sherwood, QLD
Crew Cpl John R Waite, 36404344 USAAF (KIA, BR)
Crashed July 27, 1945
Built by Consolidated at San Diego. Delivered to the U. S. Army as serial number 44-41581. Ferried overseas via Hawaii to Australia.
Assigned to the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) as Liberator A72-92. Assigned to 7 OTU. Later assigned to 24 Squadron. Finally assigned to 21 Squadron with fuselage code MJ-D.
On July 27, 1945 took off on a photographic reconnaissance mission over Celebes. Near Tomohoan, this B-24 was hit by anti-aircraft fire and failed to return. Four crew members were seen to bail out.
The next day, B-24 Liberator piloted by S/Ldr Angus Greenfield spotted the wreckage of this aircraft but observed no sign of survivors.
Fates of the Crew
Four of the crew bailed out: Lockyer,
Lindley, Orgill and Nichol. Tragically, Nichol bailed out without a parachute and died on impact. His remains were found and buried by the Japanese.
The other three Lockyer,
Lindley, Orgill landed safely.
Orgill landed in the garden of a Chinese family who attempted to persuade him to escape before the Japanese arrived. He refused until he could ascertain the fate of his comrades and was captured.
Lindley, Orgill were captured by the Japanese and became Prisoners Of War (POWs). A native soldier reported that on arrival at the prison, Orgill grabbed the native soldier's bayonet and began attacking guards. Four Japanese soldiers subdued him and he was beaten with sticks for half an hour until unconscious. He was stripped of his clothing and thrown into a cell with Lindley and Lockyer, dying during the night.
P/O Lindley and Sgt Lockyer, who had both been injured when baling out of the aircraft, were subject to brutal interrogations. On about August 5, they were moved to Kaaten and kept in solitary confinement.
After midnight on August 21, both Lindley and Lockyer were moved from their cell to a garage where a grave had been dug. The first man was chloroformed and buried alive. The second was chloroformed but did not lose consciousness, so he was strangled with a piece of rope and then buried.
The Japanese had tried to cover up the killings by stating the prisoners were moved to Macassar. When the remains of Lindley and Lockyer were found, there was some confusion as they had been given Orgill's uniform which had his name and Wireless/Air Gunner badge sewn on. Later, dental records would prove their identities.
In an effort to cover up Orgll's death, the Japanese exhumed his remains and those of others, burnt them and reburied them.
Postwar, the crash site was visited by a RAAF Searcher Team.
Recovery of Remains
The RAAF Searcher Team recovered the remains of Hanson, Cook, Maxwell, Cloake, Hume, Hutton, Heslin and Waite.
Three of the crew are individually buried at Ambon War Cemetery. Lockyer at 33.A.4 and Lindley at 33.A.3. Nichol at grave 28.A.10.
The remains of the rest of the crew (including Cpl Waite) were buried at the Ambon War Cemetery in collective grave 28 section C, 1-8.
When the remains of Orgill were discovered postwar, individual identification was not possible because his remains had been burned and reburied with others. Orgill is memorialized on Column 9 of the Ambon Memorial at Ambon War Cemetery.
RAAF Searcher Brief
B-24 Liberator Squadrons of Australia Newsletter #75
ADF Serials - Liberator A72-92
RAAFDB - Liberator A72-92
Thanks to Daniel Leahy for additional information
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May 3, 2016