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  DAP Beaufort Mark VIII Serial Number A9-186  
RAAF
100 Squadron

Pilot  W/O Clement Batstone Wiggins, 405335 (MIA / KIA) Gatton, QLD
Observer  W/O Russell Henry Grigg, 405284 (MIA / KIA) Brisbane, QLD
WAG  FSgt Gordon Lewis Hamilton, 414022 (MIA / KIA) Brisbane, QLD
WAG  FSgt Albert Beckett, 408343 (MIA / KIA) Launceston, TAS

MIA  September 5, 1943


Aircraft History
Built by the Department of Aircraft Production (DAP) at Fishermans Bend in Melbourne.

Wartime History
Delivered to the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) as Beaufort Mark VIII serial number A9-186. Assigned to 100 Squadron. No known nickname or nose art.

Mission History
On September 5, 1943 took off from Gurney Airfield near Milne Bay at 5:20am piloted by W/O Clement Batstone Wiggins as one of ten on a bombing mission to Gasmata Airfield. Over the target, attacked by enemy fighters, none of the crew were observed to bail out. Other aircraft reported flames and black smoke column 7-8 miles north of the target indicating a crash. Another crash was reportedly south of the center of Gasmata Airfield.

When this Beaufort failed to return, the entire crew were listed as Missing In Action (MIA). Also was Beaufort A9-374 (MIA), Beaufort A9-183 (MIA) and Beaufort A9-362 (force landed, crew unhurt). Officially, this aircraft was written off on September 9, 1943.

Search
During April 1946 a RAAF Searcher Team led by S/L Keith Rundle searched for this aircraft without results.

Memorials
The entire crew was officially declared dead the day of the mission. All of the crew are memorialized at Bita Paka Cemetery on the Rabaul Memorial on panel 35.

References
Previously, three of the crew: Wiggins, Grigg and Hamilton survived the crash of Beaufort A9-266 on April 12, 1943 at Cabbage Tree Creek, NSW in Australia.
WW2 Nominal Roll - Clement Batstone Wiggins
WW2 Nominal Roll - Russell Henry Grigg
WW2 Nominal Roll - Gordon Lewis Hamilton
WW2 Nominal Roll - Albert Beckett
NAA RAAF Unit History sheets (Form A50) [Operations Record Book - Forms A50 and A51] Number 100 Squadron Mar 42 - Aug 46 (NAA: A9186, 123) page 225
"5/Sept/43 Strike against Gasmata - Ten aircraft from this squadron. Three Beauforts failed to return. Two seen to be hit by enemy A.A. fire and crash. Fire and smoke observed about 7 miles N.E. Gasmata assumed to be the third. Details of missing aircraft and the crews which are posted 'Missing, Believed killed' are:
A9-374 F/Lt R. H. Woolacott [sic Woollacott] pilot
A9-183 F/O R. B. Anderson pilot
A9-186 F/Sgt C. B. Wiggins pilot
A9-362 was damaged by enemy A.A. fire and ground looped and crashed on landing at Goodenough due to tyre being shot away. The aircraft was not repairable and was converted to component parts. Crew, none of whom were injured, comprised: F/O. C. S. Walsh pilot."
RAAF Status Card - Beaufort A9-186
CWGC - Clement Batstone Wiggins
CWGC - Russell Henry Grigg
CWGC - Gordon Lewis Hamilton
CWGC - Albert Beckett
ADF Serials - Beaufort A9-186
RAAFDB - Beaufort A9-186
Thanks to Daniel Leahy for information on prior crash.

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Last Updated
February 4, 2018

 

Tech Info
Beaufort

MIA
MIA
4 Missing

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