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  DAP Beaufort Mark VIII Serial Number A9-228  

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Daniel Leahy 2000
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

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 A9-228. Assigned to 1 Operational Training Unit (1 OTU). No known nickname or nose art.

Mission History
On June 4, 1945 took off from Mount Gambier Airfield at 5:33pm piloted by F/O Donald A. Flavel on a night astro navigation training mission bound for Eskdale Airfield. During the flight, this Beaufort crashed into Mount Tawonga, killing the entire crew. When it failed to return, this Beaufort was listed as missing.

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 during their first search on Mount Tawonga.

Recovery of Remains
After the crash site was located, the remains of all four crew 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.

Michael 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."

Daniel Leahy visited the site on November 28, 2000:
"The wreck of Beaufort is spread about 250m down a gully and there are still some very large pieces there. Unfortunately, some stupid idiots 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. After the remains were recovered, 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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Last Updated
June 29, 2019


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