|Pilot S/Ldr Malcolm C. Burns, 271331 (MIA / KIA, BR) Brisbane, QLD
Gunnery Leader P/O Leslie R. Jope, 400434 (MIA / KIA, BR) Croydon, VIC
Navigator Sgt Arthur Alan Dean, 404328 (MIA / KIA, BR) Townsville, QLD
WAG Sgt Kelvin Jones, 410240 (MIA / KIA, BR) Footscray, VIC
WAG Sgt Robert James Johnstone, 410073 (MIA / KIA, BR) Sandringham, VIC
Crashed April 3, 1943
Built by Lockheed. Constructors Number 6098. On September 27, 1941 assigned to the USAAF as A-29-LO serial number 41-23281. Disassembled and shipped overseas as part of defense aid consignment departing November 4, 1941.
On January 8, 1942 delivered to the RAAF (RAAF) as Hudson A16-169. Assigned to January 19, 1942 to 2 Air Depot (2 AD) then to 23 Squadron on January 22, 1942 then the next day assigned to 32 Squadron.
On April 6, 1942 assigned to 5 Air Depot (5 AD) then to 32 Squadron on August 27, 1942. On December 9, 1942 assigned to 1 Air Depot (1 AD) then to 32 Squadron on December 23, 1942. Issued to 2 Squadron from 1 Repair Salvage Unit (1 RSU) on February 20, 1943. Assigned to 2 Squadron on April 2, 1943.
On April 3, 1943 one of six Hudsons that took off from Millingimbi Airfield on a low level bombing
mission against Timoeka Airfield. The formation was comprised of a three ship "A" Flight led by Hudson A16-238 piloted by F/O Harold McDouall and a three ship "B" Flight was led S/Ldr Burns in this aircraft. The other Hudsons in the formation were: A16-160, A16-161, A16-217, A16-236.
Over the target, the Hudsons dropped their bombs and made low level strafing runs over Timoeka Airfield. This Hudson was the fourth to strafe. Over the runway flying at 200', this Hudson was seen to have a red flash on the port side of the fuselage, pulled up, turned to the right and was seen in controlled flight then a few seconds later was seen to dive and crashed into the ground with the right wing impacting first. Although no fire was observed, the entire crew was presumed to have died on impact.
When this aircraft failed to return, the entire crew was officially listed as Missing In Action (MIA). This Hudson was stricken from charge on April 23, 1943.
According to natives, this Hudson was shot down by anti-aircraft fire and crashed at the northeast end of the runway near Keakwa (Keawkwa). The aircraft did not burn. After the crash, the wreckage was scrapped by the Japanese or local people.
On October 4, 1946, RAAF supply vessel No. 0616 (06-16) anchored at the mouth of the Keaukwa River near Keaukwa on the southern coast of New Guinea. A RAAF Searcher Team led by F/Lt Martin O'Shea was led to the crash site but found little aside for a few engine parts. Although impossible to identify the aircraft, it was believed to be Hudson A16-169 based on the location and the fact it was the only aircraft wreck in the vicinity.
Recovery of Remains
According to natives, the remains of the crew were left at the crash site for years and were not collected and buried until the end of the war when the Japanese collected them and possibly cremated them before burial in a single grave near the crash site. An elaborate grave marker was built in hopes of impressing the Allies. This grave was exhumed on October 4, 1946 by the RAAF Searcher Team and the the fractured, disintegrated and incomplete remains of several individuals were recovered. The recovered remains were transported to Ambon.
The entire crew was officially declared dead the day of the crash. After the crew's remains were recovered, they were buried at Ambon War Cemetery in collective grave 3. C. 11-15.
RICHARDS Ronald Charles - (Sergeant); Service Number - 403281; File type - Casualty - Repatriation; Aircraft - Hudson A16-169; Place - Papua New Guinea; Date - 22 March 1942 (NAA: A705, 163/157/141)
BURNS, Malcolm Carroll - (Squadron Leader); Service Number - 271331; File type - Casualty - Repatriation; Aircraft - Hudson A16-169; Place - Timoeka, New Guinea; Date - 3 April 1943 (NAA: A705, 166/6/84)
JONES, Kelvin - (Sergeant); Service Number - 410240; File type - Casualty - Repatriation; Aircraft - Hudson A16-169; Place - Keakwa, Netherlands East Indies; Date - 3 April 1943 (NAA: A705, 166/21/19)
JOHNSTONE, Robert James - (Sergeant); Service Number - 410073; File type - Casualty - Repatriation; Aircraft - Hudson A16-169; Place - timoeka, New Guinea; Date - 3 April 1943 (NAA: A705, 166/21/21)
JOPE, Leslie Richard - (Pilot Officer); Service Number - 400434; File type - Casualty - Repatriation; Aircraft - Hudson A16-169; Place - Timoeka, New Guinea; Date - 3 April 1943 (NAA: A705, 166/21/20)
Extract "Search For Missing Personnel - D.N.G. Area" 11 Oct. 1946
Highest Traditions The History of No. 2 Squadron, RAAF page 179
CWGC - Malcolm Carrol Burns
CWGC - Leslie Richard Jope
CWGC - Kelvin Jones
CWGC - Robert James Johnstone
CWGC - Arthur Alan Dean
The West Australian “Reported Missing Fate of Allied Airmen" November 23, 1946
"Search in New Guinea – Flight-Lieut. O'Shea then took his searchers east along the New Guinea coast to Keaukwa River which they navigated to Kokenau to interview the Dutch district officer. They found this man, who was only 22, delirious with malaria, and stayed two days until he recovered. One aircraft, a Hudson, and the crew were found here [Hudson A16-169]. Flight-Lieut. O'Shea said the natives here were very primitive and were completely naked. Some of them were reformed head hunters."
ADF Serials - Hudson A16-169
RAAFDB - Hudson A16-169
Thanks to Daniel Leahy for additional information
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May 3, 2016