|Pilot F/Sgt Henry Harrington Gaunt, 406899 (MIA / KIA) Kojonup, WA
Navigator P/O Trevor John Jones, 425671 (MIA / KIA) Shorncliffe, QLD
Crashed November 21, 1943
Built by Bristol. Assigned to the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF). On July 11, 1943 assigned to 2 AP, then on August 9, 1943 to 5 AD. Finally on October 6, 1943 assigned to 31 Squadron.
One of six Beaufighters that took off from Coomalie Airfield at 7:30am, tasked with attacking Taberfane in co-operation with 6 Mitchells from 18 (NEI) Squadron.
The aircraft formed up in groups of three and upon reaching the target, were intercepted by three Rufes - two of which were claimed as being shot down. A19-145 was not seen to suffer any damage due to enemy action.
On the return flight, all aircraft stopped to refuel at Millingimbi Airfield before departing individually (at short intervals) for the flight back to Coomalie. When Beaufighter A19-140 landed at Coomalie Airfield it was learnt that A19-145, which had taken off immediately before it, had not arrived and "overdue procedure" was immediately put into place.
A four day air search, in which 31 Squadron took part, returned negative results and both crew members were reported "Missing on 21 Nov 1943 as a result of a travel flight between Millingimbi and Coomalie".
First located by Aboriginal people during 1944, approximately 10 miles from Junction Bay. Afterwards, the RAAF visited the wreckage and recovered the remains of Jones.
Rediscovered in 1993, the wreckage was again investigated.
Bob Alford adds:
"The pilot, Harry Gaunt, was never recovered to my knowledge and that was a factor in the way we investigated the wreck. No human remains or personal items were found."
P/O Jones is now buried at the Adelaide River War Cemetery at C.A.9. F/Sgt Gaunt is memorialized at Adelaide River War Cemetery on the Northern Territory Memorial, panel 9.
Thanks to Bob Alford and Daniel Leahy for additional information
ADF Serials Beaufighter A19-145
Oz @ War -
Beaufigher Crash 10 miles inland from Junction Bay on 21 November 1943
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May 22, 2017