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  DAP Beaufort Mark VI Serial Number A9-89  
RAAF
100 Squadron

Pilot  S/Ldr Clifford Sidney Bernard, 259 (MIA)
Observer  F/O Leonard Herbert Ophel, 407129 (KIA)
Observer  P/O Colin Gardner MacDonald, 411511 (KIA)
Crew  F/Sgt George Robert Daws, 401288 (survived)
Crew  Sgt William Henry Osborne, 411513 (survived)

MIA  September 28, 1942


Mission History
Departed Garbutt Airfield near Townsville at 1545 hours on a flight to Gurney Airfield.

Beaufort A9-89 arrived in the vicinity of Mullins Harbor at dusk but on account of low cloud and rain, was unable to get into Milne Bay. The aircraft then climbed above the cloud and proceeded in the direction of Port Moresby. As he neared Port Moresby, S/Ldr Bernard turned towards land and could see what he believed were camp lights and continued westward along the coast.

The first indication that the aircraft was dangerously low was when Sgt
Osborne noticed that the aircraft's navigation lights were illuminating
mangroves. The aircraft then crashed before Sgt Osborne could warn S/Ldr Bernard.

F/Sgt Daws and Sgt Osborne survived the crash were picked up by two
"Moths" on or about October 3, 1942.

Wreckage
Remains were located by W/O Robert John Stevenson (Q104522) of ANGAU soon after the crash. P/O MacDonald was identified by dog tags, and S/Ldr Bernard was identified by a photo. Unfortunately by the time W/O Stevenson could recover S/Ldr Bernard, his remains had washed away. Further remains were found at the site and these were believed to be that of F/O Ophel. W/O Stevenson buried P/O MacDonald and F/O Ophel on the seafront about 400 yards east of Alaguni Village.

Post-war searches by F/Lt Coape-Smith of the RAAF Searcher Party returned an unidentified skull which was suggested to be that of either S/Ldr Bernard or F/O Ophel. It is unknown exactly what happened with this skull.

Memorials
F/O Ophel and P/O MacDonald are now both buried at the Bomana War
Cemetery
. S/Ldr Bernard is listed on the Port Moresby Memorial as having "No Known Grave".

Sgt Osborne was killed in the crash of Avro Anson LT781 on September 11, 1944 and is buried at the Evans Head War Cemetery, NSW, Australia. F/Sgt Daws remained with the RAAF until November 1945 and was reportedly living in Morphetville, SA, Australia in 1987.

References
Thanks to Daniel Leahy for information
PRIAM Profile - Beaufort A9-89

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Last Updated
May 3, 2016

 

Tech Info
Beaufort

MIA
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