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  DB-7B Boston Mark III "Rocky's Girl" Serial Number A28-13  
RAAF
22 Squadron



Clifford Grove c1943

Pilot  Flight Lt. Philip Courtney Mullens, 402249 (KIA, BR) Pymble, NSW
Gunner  FSgt Austin James Collins, 400871 (KIA, BR) Black Rock, VIC
Crew  Sgt Norman Henry Saill, 33313 (KIA, BR) Wallangarra, QLD
Crew  LAC John Eames Moore, 20932 (KIA, BR) North Sydney, NSW

Crashed  June 1, 1943 at 11:15am

Aircraft History
Built by Douglas. Constructors Number 2748. Assigned Royal Air Force (RAF) serial number AL367. At the factory, painted in RAF markings and camouflage. No known U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) serial number was allocated.

This Boston was one of twenty-two Bostons from the RAF production that were instead allocated to the Netherlands East Indies Air Force (NEIAF) and over painted with the markings of the Kon Marine (Dutch Navy). Disassembled and shipped overseas bound for the Netherlands East Indies. After the fall of Java while still in transit, diverted to Australia.

Wartime History
During March 1942, delivered to the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) as DB-7B Boston serial number A28-13. Assigned to 22 Squadron. Coded "O". Nicknamed "Rocky's Girl" with the nose art of a blonde woman wearing a dress on the left side of the nose below the cockpit. A row of bomb markings above indicated at least 23 combat missions flown.

Mission History
On June 1, 1943 took off from 5 Mile Drome (Wards) near Port Moresby at 10:05am on a mission to test the guns and wireless transmitter. According to eye witnesses, this aircraft was nose down conducting mock strafing run against a coral reef when it struck the sea at approximately 11:15am near Hood Point off the southern coast of New Guinea. The sky was overcast and the water was glassy smooth, suggesting that the pilot mistook his height when conducting the run. The entire crew were killed on impact.

Recovery of Remains
Nearby, Hood Point villagers witnessed the crash and swam out to the wreckage and recovered the bodies of the crew from a depth of approximately 18' underwater. Afterwards, they were transported aboard an aircraft from Hula Airfield (Hood Point Airfield) to Port Moresby the next day and buried on June 2. 1943 at Bomana War Cemetery.

Memorials
The entire crew was officially declared dead the day of the mission. The entire crew is buried at Bomana War Cemetery. Collins at A1. D. 20. Mullens at A1. D. 21. Saill at A1. D. 22. Moore at A1. D. 23.

References
Boston in service with Royal Australian Air Force
ADF Serials - Boston A28-13
CWGC - Philip Courtney Mullens
CWGC - Austin James Collins
CWGC - Norman Henry Saill
CWGC - John Eames Moore

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Last Updated
January 5, 2018

 

Tech Info
DB-7
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