|Pilot FLGOFF Hugh Sterling Barton, 413104 (KIA, BR) Double Bay, NSW
Navigator FLGOFF Richard Basil Webb, 434067 (KIA, BR) Cairns, QLD
WAG FLTSGT Kenneth Arthur Pontt, 442362 (KIA, BR) Pyap, SA
WAG FLTSGT Kenneth Davis, 431015 (KIA, BR) Main Ridge, VIC
Passenger LAC Loris Charles Epps, 57891 8 Squadron (KIA, BR) Footscray, VIC
Crashed January 23, 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 A9-626. Assigned to 100 Squadron. No known nickname or nose art.
On January 23, 1945 took off from Tadji Airfield at 9:35am piloted by FLGOFF Hugh Sterling Barton on a mission against Amuli Nanu East (Amuli village). Over the target area, this aircraft collided with Beaufort A9-627 causing both aircraft to crash. This Beaufort crashed near Emul village killing the entire crew on impact.
Officially written off February 1, 1945.
This Beaufort crashed near Emul village.
Bryant Allen visited one of the Beaufort crash sites during 1972:
"On January 23, 1945 two Beaufort bombers A9-626 and A9-627 operating from Tadji, collided while attacking Japanese positions near Balif. One of these aircraft [Beaufort A9-627] turned back to the west and crashed near Yaurang, about 5 km west of Dreikikir. Beaufort A9-626 crashed near Emul village."
The entire crew was officially declared dead the day of the crash.
After the recovery of remains, the entire crew was buried at Lae War Cemetery. Barton at LL. A. 5. Webb at HH. C. 11. Pontt at TT. A. 14. Davis at TT. C. 3. Loris Charles Epps TT. C. 4.
NAA "RAAF No. 100 Squadron Unit History Sheet - Detail of Operations 1/23/45" PDF page 411
"Contact recce Kubriuat area. Completed. Bomb Amuli Nanu East 453032. 6 Beauforts dropped 180x4 inc, 12 x 40 GP, 20 x 250 GP, 12 x 500 MC. A9-627, A9-626 collided and crashed over target area. 6400 x .303 ammo., 56 signal cartridges, 4 illuminating cart. 2 aluminum sea markers, 2 smoke puffs, 4 marine distress signals, 8 flame floats. Lost in crashed aircraft."
NAA "RAAF No. 100 Squadron Operations Records Book - Form A50 1/23/45"
"Beauforts A9-626 and A9-627 collided in mid-air over target Amuli village. Both aircraft completely destroyed. F/Sgt Chivas only survivor, rescued by Army patrols, suffering only from burns, not seriously injured. Casualties were F/Lt. E. M. Christensen, F/O L. Cooke, F/O H. S. Barton, F/O R/ B/ Webb, F/Sgts Buclner B, F/Sgt Pontt K., F/Sgt Davis K. (100 Sqdn) and LAC Epps (8 Sqdn) also LAC Gay K (100 Sqdn)."
CWGC - Hugh Sterling Barton
CWGC - Richard Basil Webb
CWGC - Kenneth Arthur Pontt
CWGC - Kenneth Davis
CWGC - Loris Charles Epps
The Final Campaigns by Gavin Long page 290
ADF Serials - Beaufort A9-626
WW2 Fatalities in RAAF Beaufort Operational Squadrons and Support Units, 2002
Thanks to Bryant Allen and Daniel Leahy for additional information
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January 5, 2018