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  Avro Anson Serial Number AW659  
9 CU

Former Assignments
33 Squadron
1 AD
1 CF
Guinea Airways
15 ARD
15 ARD

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AWM c1943

Pilot  F/Sgt David Ronald Restall Walter, RAAF 417251 (injured)
2nd Pilot F/Sgt Arnold Bruce Gillam, RAAF 408399 (KIA / BR)
Passenger Sgt Benjamin H. Johns, U. S. Army 36210043 (survived)
Passenger PFC Clifford A. Baur, U. S. Army 38034100 (KIA / BR)

Crashed  March 12, 1944

Aircraft History
Built by Avro. Delivered to the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF). Assigned to 1AD on October 9, 1941. Next , assigned to 1 CF on November 16, 1941. The to 6 SFTS December 13, 1941. No known nickname or nose art.

Wartime History
On July 7, 1942, suffered a major crash at night after striking overhead wires while attempting a precautionary landing at Maitland Airfield in NSW. The aircraft then hit a private car injuring three civilians. The crew at this time was P/O Mitchell, Sgt Baker and Sgt Produfoot. Afterwards to Guinea Airways for repairs on July 13.

On June 7, 1943 assigned to 33 Squadron and operated from Berry Drome (12 Mile) near Port Moresby flying cargo to smaller airfields in support of Australian forces.

On June 20, 1943 while parked at Kokoda Airfield it was struck by a jeep driven by W/O Coogan and suffered minor damage.

On July 24, 1943 took off from Berry Drome (12 Mile) piloted by F/Sgt Wright on a flight to Garaina Airfield delivering 850lbs of cargo and afterwards returned.

On September 28, 1943 to 15 ARD, then to 1 RCS October 24, 1943. Afterwards assigned to 9 Communication Unit on November 4, 1943.

Mission History
On March 12, 1944 at 11:00am took off from Garaina Airfield on a flight bound for Berry Drome (12 Mile Drome) near Port Moresby. The aircraft was carrying members of the US Army Graves Registration Unit and the remains of 10 American airmen recovered from a B-24 which had crashed approximately one year earlier.

At about 11:10 hours it was noticed that the rate of climb was negligible and that there was a falling off in power. The pilot intended to make a wheels up landing in a nearby kunai patch, but was unable to reach this area and crashed into the jungle, throwing two people clear of the wreck. and crashed after engine failure 15 miles southwest of Garaina.

Afterwards, assigned to 15 ARD and approved for conversion to components May 12, 1944.

F/Sgt Gillam is now buried at the Bomana War Cemetery at grave B2. F. 17. The burials of the two U. S. Army passengers are unknown, but presumed to be buried in the United States.

ADF Serials - Avro Anson AW659
RAAF DB - Anson AW659
Avro Anson [RAF Serial Numbers] [Accidents Part 1] (NAA: A9845, 59)
33 Squadron Operations Record Book (NAA: A9186) - 19 July 1943 to 25 July 1943 page 802
Thanks to Edward Rogers and Daniel Leahy for additional information

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Last Updated
February 4, 2018


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