|Pilot F/O Donald A. Flavel, 416663 (KIA, BR) Bathurst, NSW
Navigator F/O Robert V. Clayton, 406640 (KIA, BR) Victoria Park, WA
Radio Flt Sgt L. J. Sims, 434749 (KIA, BR) Cairns, QLD
Crew F/O Frederick A. Wallis, 408715 (KIA, BR) Hawthorn East, VIC
Crashed June 4, 1945
Built by the Department of Aircraft Production (DAP) at Fishermans Bend in Melbourne.
Delivered to the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) as Beaufort Mark VIII serial number A9-228. Assigned to 1 Operational Training Unit (1 OTU). No known nickname or nose art.
On June 4, 1945 took off from Mount Gambier Airfield at 5:33pm after sunset piloted by F/O Donald A. Flavel on a night astro navigation training mission bound for Eskdale
Airfield. This Beaufort crashed into Mount Tawonga, killing the entire crew on impact.
A five-day search of the suspected crash area revealed nothing, and
incredibly the RAAF convened a court to close the case, even though
eyewitnesses had provided the court with evidence of an aircraft crash
on Mount Tawonga. Upset at such a hurried and forced decision, relatives
organized their own ground search led by Lt Richard Hamilton of the
Volunteer Defense Corps. Hamilton's volunteers found the crash within
two and a half hours of their first search of Mount Tawonga.
Recovery of Remains
After the crash site was located, the remains of all four crew members were recovered.
The crash site of this Beaufort remains in situ on Mount Tawonga. Much of the wreckage remains at the site,
and incredibly, pieces of the tail section still retain their camouflage
green and brown.
Claringbould visited this wreck in 1999:
"Instead of taking up an easterly heading it maintained a north-easterly
course which took it over the Victorian Alps. Several bearing corrections
were transmitted to the aircraft, but they were never acknowledged and
Flavel made the fatal mistake of descending in instrument conditions
without knowing his position. Radio contact ceased at 2015 hours after
the aircraft had flown directly into the side of Mount Tawonga."
Leahy visited the site on November
"The wreck of Beaufort is spread about 250m down a gully and
there are still some very large pieces there. Unfortunately, some stupid
have scratched their names etc. into some of the remaining camouflage
- some have even let loose with the blue spray cans."
The entire crew was officially declared dead the day of the mission. All four crew were buried at Sale War Cemetery. Flavel at
Plot B. Row D. Grave 1. Clayton at Plot B. Row D. Grave 8. Sims at Plot B. Row D. Grave 6. Wallis at Plot B. Row D. Grave 5.
ADF Serials - Beaufort A9-228
CWGC - Donald Algernon Flavel
CWGC - Robert Victor Clayton
CWGC - Lloyd Joseph Sims
CWGC - Frederick Anthony Wallis
YouTube "Mt Tawonga Beaufort Bomber Crash"
November 3, 2014
Thanks to Michael
Claringbould and Daniel Leahy for additional information
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May 30, 2018