Colin Esbert Wein, 414975 (POW, executed March 5, 1944) Gayndah, QLD
Donald Clarence Kirkwood, 21714 (POW, executed March 5, 1944) Smithfield, NSW
Crashed December 17, 1943
Built by Bristol in the United Kingdom. Disassembled and shipped overseas to Australia.
Assigned to the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) as Beaufighter serial number A19-141. Assigned to 30 Squadron.
On December 17, 1943 took off on a mission against New Britain. No emergency or message of any kind came to other aircraft on that mission. The crew of this Beaufighter both bailed out before it crashed inland of Hoskins Airfield.
Fates of the Crew
Both crew were captured by the Japanese and transported to Rabaul where they became Prisoners Of War (POW). On March 5, 1944 both were executed with a group of American prisoners near Tunnel Hill.
Recovery of Remains
Postwar, the graves of both crew were located and recovered by Australian forces.
Both crew were officially declared dead on March 5, 1944. Both are buried at Bita Paka War Cemetery. Wein at A. A. 16.
Kirkwood at collective grave E. C. 5-ll.
On April 25, 2005, the crash site of this Beaufighter was discovered by timber workers, about 19km inland from Hoskins Airfield.
Cecilie Benjamin adds:
"When I identified A19-141 about 19 kms inland from the sea end of Hoskins runway. They were off hunting birds during their mid day break. I got into the wreck on the 27th April. The timber workers arrived to a scene where all the guns, ammo, ammo boxes, wireless wires, absolutely everything was there. It had never been disturbed. I have my theories about that. The two crew members even though they were some distance apart were captured by the Japanese, taken to Rabaul and a couple of months later executed by the Japanese along with about 30 USA airmen and 8 other Australian air crews. The Allies came into the Hoskins area not long after these men were most likely turned in by locals. The elders probably told everyone that particular area was a "ples masili" (full of spirits) and this kept people away to keep the aircraft not found by the Allies and no questions about what happened."
ADF Serials - Beaufighter A19-141
Thanks to Cecilie Benjamin for additional information
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February 4, 2018