RAAF March 23, 1945
|Pilot S/L Nathaniel Herbert Straus, 250759 (KIA, BR) East Malvern, VIC
2nd Pilot F/SGT Harry James Boyd, 427775 (MIA / KIA) Pomborneit North, VIC
Bombardier F/Lt Charles David Parry-Okeden, 404485 (KIA, BR) Redcliffe, QLD
Navigator/Bombardier F/O Raymond Allenby Whiting, 426733 (MIA / KIA) Ascot, QLD
WO/Gunner F/O John Wilson Hursthouse, 416215 (MIA / KIA) Toorak Gardens, SA
WO/Gunner W/O William Richard Flanagan, 401748 (MIA / KIA) Warrandyte, VIC
Gunner W/O Herbert Gordon Parker, 408591 (MIA / KIA) Broadbeach, QLD
Gunner F/SGT John Richmond Ryan, 422716 (MIA / KIA) Bondi, NSW
Gunner F/Sgt William Anthony Jordon Rodgers, 436889 (KIA, BR)
Gunner Sgt Alexander Douglas Whitehead, 121592 (MIA / KIA) Jervois, SA
Engineer F/SGT Ronald Malcolm Morris, 46563 (MIA / KIA) Wagin, WA
Passenger Cpl Douglas William Madden, 36484 (MIA / KIA) Carlton, NSW
Crashed March 23, 1945 at 7:13am
Built by Consolidated at San Diego. U. S. Army Air Force serial number 44-41450. Ferried overseas via Hawaii to Australia arriving on June 10, 1944.
Assigned to the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) as Liberator A72-80. Assigned to 7 OTU. Nicknamed "Old Nick". Assigned to 24 Squadron on December 1, 1944 and arrived on December 5, 1944.
On March 23, 1945 took off from Truscott Airfield at 0650am leading a formation of four Liberators on an armed shipping sweep. This Liberator turned back to base after experiencing a problem and crashed while attempting to ditch into Vansittart Bay.
Recovery of Remains
After the crash, the bodies of three of the crew were recovered. Rogers on March 23, Straus on March 29 and Parry-Okeden on March 31.
The entire crew was officially declared dead the day of the mission. The three recovered crew members are buried at Adelaide River War Cemetery. Rodgers at C.D.2. Straus at G.D.15. Parry-Okeden at G.D.13. The rest of the crew is memorialized at the Adelaide River War Cemetery on the Northern Territory Memorial panel 6 Whiting, Boyd, panel 7 Hursthouse, panel 8 Flanagan, Broadbeach, Whitehead, panel 9 Ryan, Morris and panel 11 Madden.
24 Squadron Operations Log March 23, 1945:
"Shortly after take off, S/Ldr Straus called Truscott tower on V.H.F. indicating that he was preparing for an emergency landing. Owing to low altitude it was apparent that S/Ldr Straus could not locate the strip. For 23 minutes after take off the aircraft was airborne and during this time various messages from the aircraft were received by Truscott tower and V.H.F. homing and by the remainder of the aircraft in the formation. None of these messages informed the exact cause of the distress but all that was received was that the aircraft could not gain height. At 0713 hours a message was received that S/Ldr Straus was about to ditch in Vansittart Bay. Following this the crews of the remaining three aircraft saw A72-80 ditch with wings level but at a fairly high rate of descent. The aircraft caught fire on impact with the water and disintegrated."
ADF Serials - Liberator A72-80
RAAF DB - Liberator A72-80
CWGC - Nathaniel Herbert Straus
CWGC - Harry James Boyd
Charles David Parry-Okeden
Raymond Allenby Whiting
CWGC - John Wilson Hursthouse
William Richard Flanagan
CWGC - Herbert Gordon Parker
John Richmond Ryan
CWGC - William Anthony Jordon Rodgers
CWGC - Alexander Douglas Whitehead
CWGC - Ronald Malcolm Morris
CWGC - Douglas William Madden
Thanks to Daniel Leahy and David J. Hursthouse for additional information
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February 4, 2018