|Pilot FltLt Roy Herbert Woollacott, 407144 (MIA / KIA) Prospect, SA
Navigator FSGT James Albert Sugg, 416085 (MIA / KIA) Clarence Gardens, SA
WAG FSGT William Theodore Pedler, 416608 (MIA / KIA) Koolunga, SA
WAG FSGT Harley Joseph Williams, 408311 (MIA / KIA) Launceston, Tasmania
MIA September 5, 1943
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 A9-374. Assigned to 100 Squadron. No known nickname or nose art.
On September 5, 1943 took off from Gurney Airfield near Milne Bay at 5:20am piloted by FltLt Roy H. Woollacott as one of ten on a bombing mission against 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 was listed as Missing In Action (MIA). Also lost was Beaufort A9-186 (MIA), Beaufort A9-183 (MIA) and Beaufort A9-362 (force landed, crew unhurt).
According to the RAAF Searcher Brief, the aircraft crashed into the sea approximately 500 yards
south west of the Gasmata Airfield.
The entire crew was officially declared dead the day of the mission. All are memorialized on at Bita Paka Cemetery on the Rabaul Memorial. Wollacott on panel 34. Sugg and Pedler on panel 35.
Williams on panel 36.
Roger Cox (nephew of FSGT Pedler)
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."
WW2 Nominal Roll -
Roy Herbert Woollacott
WW2 Nominal Roll - James Albert Sugg
WW2 Nominal Roll - William Theodore Pedler
WW2 Nominal Roll - Harley Joseph Williams
ADF Serials - Beaufort A9-374
CWGC - Roy Herbert Woollacott
CWGC - James Albert Sugg
CWGC - William Theodore Pedler
CWGC - Harley Joseph Williams
A Nation Grew Wings states Woollacott's
aircraft was hit over the target, burst into flames, yet he kept on with his run and straddled his bombs across
the runway, a few seconds later the aircraft crashed into the ground.
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January 5, 2018