|Pilot S/Ldr William Allan Pedrina, 264 (KIA, BR) Hamilton, VIC
Observer F/O Donald Beviss Kerr, 416431 (KIA, BR) Adelaide, SA
Radio Sgt Arthur Rupert Itzerott, 401750 (KIA, BR) Murrumbeena, VIC
Turret Gunner W/O Leo Charles Callaghan, 300400 (survived) Wanganui, NZ
Crashed December 15, 1942 at 3:15pm
Pilot "Pedro" Pedrina was involved in the first mast height
attack on enemy shipping of the New Guinea campaign on February 11, 1942. During that mission, three
Hudsons attacked and sunk two
transports at Gasmata. Two
of the planes were then shot down, Hudson A16-91 and Hudson A16-126.
Pedrina's was the only plane to survive and his gunner shot down one Japanese
plane, plus a probable.
On February 19th, he was jumped over Arawe,
and again shot down one of two planes attacking and got back badly shot
up, but his WO was killed. For a time his unit flew recon out of Horn
Island plus some evacuation work from Wau.
On 15th December flew three sorties from Wards
Drome to drop supplies at Soputa. He went back despite clouds for a fourth ammo supply
run and was shot down.
Built by Lockheed. Constructor Number 1887. Shipped overseas to Australia, it was delivered to RAAF February
9, 1940 and given serial number A16-26 and received by 2 AD. On May 2, 1940, assigned to 14 Squadron. Next, to 13 Squadron on December 28, 1941. Then, transferred to 5 AD and 1 OTU on June 9, 1942.
During November 23 - December 15, 1942 assigned to a special transport flight of fourteen aircraft operating from Port Moresby.
During late November 1942 until January 1943 operated from Ward Drome (5 Mile Drome) near Port Moresby as part of a special transport flight of fourteen aircraft for "an indefinite period for the purposes of transporting troops, arms and equipment to the forward battle areas" in support of the Australian Army advancing on Buna, Gona and Sanananda.
On December 15, 1942 took off Ward Drome (5 Mile Drome) near Port Moresby piloted by S/Ldr William Allan Pedrina on a s mission to drop ammunition to Australian soldiers at Soputa Airfield near Soputa, along with Hudson A16-1 and Hudson A16-127. This aircraft sucessfully completed three sorties.
Took off from Ward Drome (5 Mile Drome) near Port Moresby at 2:25pm for a fourth sortie to drop ammunition at Soputa Airfield near Soputa. After dropping supplies and banking away Soputa Airfield at 100' over drop zone "Jumbora", this Hudson was hit by Japanese anti-aircraft or ground fire, shook violently then nosed up in a steep climb to 100', then dived into the trees near Soputa Airfield, 1.5 miles north of Jumbori at roughly 3:15pm.
of the crew were killed in the crash: Pedrina, Kerr
and Itzerott. Rear gunner Callaghan survived with a broken pelvis and arm. After the crash, Australian commandos ran to Hudson and rescued Callaghan.
Keith Taylor, was at the Jumbora supply dump with mate, "Smiler" Sublet,
on December 14, 1942:
"Spent the day checking out .303 ammunition to
see if it was serviceable following the air drop. By mid afternoon, an
airdrop was occurring using Hudson aircraft flown over from Port Moresby
to drop their loads. Then there was a roar and they watched one of the
Hudson's crash during a circuit. They raced over to help - it took around
half an hour to get there through the jungle - they sang out as they
approached to get a bearing and got a reply. The plane had belly landed
but the fuselage was rather crushed plus the front end was on fire. The
plane had come down in the jungle amidst a lot of smashed up timber.
There was a crew member alive in the upper turret- Flt Sgt Callaghan. There was a lot of ammo on board and though they could see the bodies
of the pilot and navigator they had no chance to get them. Flt Sgt Callaghan
was the turret gunner Australian troops finally pulled out of the wreck.
after smashing in the perspex. Callaghan went berserk due to his wounds,
and had first tried to smash his way out with his own revolver resulting
in it firing a bullet up his arm. Then when the rescuers did get a hole
made, his the wounded man's belt caught on on the machine gun and he ended up
with a shattered pelvis."
The remains of the three deceased crew were recovered and buried. Later, they were permanently buried at Bomana Cemetery near Port Moresby. Pedrina: A6. E. 20. Kerr: A6. E. 21.Itzerott: A6. E. 19
The wreckage of this Hudson remains in situ near Soputa.
Prior to 2000, one of the .303 machine guns was recovered from the crash site by Frank Egembari and kept at his residence. During 2002, the tail fin was recovered by Robert Greinert, supposedly for the Australian War Museum (AWM). This wreckage does not appear in the AWM collections database.
CWGC - William Allan Pedrina
CWGC - Donald Beviss Kerr
Arthur Rupert Itzerott
WW2 Nominal Roll -
L C Callaghan
RAAFDB - Lockheed Hudson A16-36
RAAF DB - W A Pedrina, DFC
RAAF DB - D B Kerr
RAAF DB - A R Itzerott
Thanks to Phil
Bradley, John Douglas and Daniel
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January 5, 2018