|Pilot F/L Harry John Fowler, 415636 (survived) Cottesloe, WA
Crew F/L Francis Owen Smith, 422062 (survived) Kempsey, NSW
Crew F/L John William Shipman, 422085 (survived) Bexley, NSW
Crew F/O Arthur Geoffrey Waite, 406817 (survived) Bullsbrook, WA
Crashed January 20, 1945
Built by the Department of Aircraft Production (DAP) at Fishermans Bend in Melbourne. Assigned to the Royal Air Force (RAF) serial number
T-9552 with code NK-B.
On January 4, 1944 delivered to the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) as Beaufort Mark VIII serial number A9-557. That same month, assigned to to 100 Squadron with fuselage coded QH-L. In New Guinea, this Beaufort flew 103 combat missions flying a total
of 126 hours, 26 minutes and dropped 146,000 pounds of bombs.
During November 1944, this Beaufort
suffered an electrical fault which resulted in the nose section being
replaced with that of Beaufort A9-461. After repairs, returned to 100 Squadron during January 1945.
On January 20, 1945 while landing at Tadji Airfield, this Beaufort ran off the runway and colliding with three jeeps killing one person on the ground. The crew, pilot F/L Harry John Fowler, 415636 with F/L Francis Owen Smith 422062,
F/L John William Shipman 422085 and F/O Arthur Geoffrey Waite 406817 survived the crash unhurt. All were later killed
on March 13, 1945 flying Beaufort A9-650.
This Beaufort remained in situ until 1974. Recovered from Tadji Airfield by Charles Darby and loaded onto a barge then shipped to Lae during a recovery operation funded by David Tallichet
(Yesterday's Air Force / MACR). Exported to Victoria, Australia by Ian Whitney and shipped to the United States to Yesterday's Air Force / MACR and stored at Chino Airport.
During 1991, purchased by Robert Greinert / HARS and transported to Sydney and stored until traded to the Australian
War Memorial (AWM). During 1997, transported to AWM
Treloar Technology Centre.
The nose section was sold or traded to RAF
Hendon where it is being used with a number of other RAAF
Beaufort parts recovered from Tadji Airfield in the restoration of Beaufort
During 1997 until 2003, this Beaufort (minus the original nose section) was restored to static condition by the Australian War Memorial (AWM).
The wing center section and part of the fuselage was sent to HARS for restoration. Used in the restoration is the tail section of Beaufort A9-639. The rear fuselage was trucked to Brisbane
work completed by the Beaufort
Restoration Group during early 2002. During 2000, the nose section of Beaufort A9-152
was acquired from the Moorabbin Air Museum for this restoration. During 2001, Robert Greinert / HARS recovered additional parts from Tadji Airfield.
By November 2002,
pieces were returned to Canberra and reassembled. On March 28, 2003 this Beaufort was officially unveiled at Australian War Memorial (AWM) in ANZAC Hall.
Today, the restored aircraft is stored at the Treloar Technology Centre (AWM Annex).
AWM - Beaufort Mk VIII Bomber A9-557 REL/20173
ADF Serials - Beaufort A9-557
Pacific Aircraft Wrecks page 24 (upper right) 64 (middle left)
The Unveiling of Beaufort A9-557 by Daniel Leahy
Dedication of Beaufort A9-557 at Australian War Memorial by Robert Greinert
Are you a relative or associated with any person mentioned?
Do you have photos or additional information to add?
May 13, 2018