|Pilot Squadron Leader Francis Charles Tampion, 349 (KIA, BR) Quambatook, VIC
Crew Cpl Howard Preston Smith, 17024 (KIA, BR) North Perth, WA
Crew LAC Albert Francis Thomas, 13975 (KIA, BR) Prahran, VIC
Crew A1c Neville Leigh Chesshire, 49572 (KIA, BR) Kew, VIC
Crashed October 27, 1942
Built by Lockheed as Hudson Mark I. Constructors Number 1889. Disassembled and loaded aboard SS Cape Horn as cargo and shipped across the Pacific to Melbourne in Australia.
On February 22, 1940 delivered to the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) as Hudson A16-38. That same day, reassembled by 1 Air Depot (1 AD). On August 21, 1940 assigned to 23 Squadron. During February 3-7, 1942 assigned to 2 Air Depot (2 AD) for the installation of a Boulton Paul turret. On February 9, 1942 assigned to 24 Squadron.
On February 19, 1942 assigned to 32 Squadron in New Guinea. On March 31, 1942 took off piloted by Wing Commander Deryck Kingwell on a photographic reconnaissance mission over Lae. Over the target, attacked by three Zeros and damaged in both main planes by gunfire and both Sdn Ldr Kingwell and F/O Green were wounded. This Hudson claimed one shot down and returned safely.
Afterwards, on April 14, 1942 assigned to 5 Air Depot (5 AD) for repairs to the mainplanes, including 3" patches to both spars. On September 17, 1942 assigned to 1 Operational Training Unit (1 OTU) at Bairnsdale Airfield and refitted with another Boulton Paul turret four days later.
On October 27, 1942 took off from Bairnsdale Airfield piloted by Flt Lt Frank Tampion on a demonstration press flight for a cine crew from Cinesound Film (Fox Movietone) cameraman Geoff Thompson on the ground at Bairnsdale Airfield. At 3:00pm after pulling out of a shallow dive at 80' roughly 200 yards from the camera, the right wing failed causing the outer wing to break away causing this Hudson to roll upside down breaking the tail plane then crash into the ground and exploded on impact. At the time of the crash, this Hudson had 915 hours of flight time on the airframe.
Afterwards, the cine film recorded was confiscated and used in the court of inquiry about the cause of the crash.
After the crash, the broken off right wing panel was sent for metallurgy inspection and deemed to have been an acceptable repair, but had failed due to numerous patched repairs were made during its overhaul at 5 AD. The report stated that many Hudsons withdrawn from operational service and used in 1 OTU had been flown to the limits with resultant heavy loadings on their wings on operational service. As a result of this crash, during November 1942 eighteen Hudsons from 1 OTU were withdrawn from service for mainplane replacement due to spar stress.
The entire crew was officially declared dead the day of the mission. After the crash, the remains of the crew were recovered. Tampion was buried at Quambatook Cemetery at
C. of E. Plot. Grave 216. (GRM/3). Smith at Bairnsdale War Cemetery at Plot A. Row A. Grave 1.
Thomas was buried at St. Kilda General Cemetery at
C. of E. Plot. Compt. C. Grave 285. (GRM/3).
Chesshire is buried at Burwood General Cemetery at Presbyterian Plot. Sec. 9. Grave 267.
CWGC - Francis Charles Tampion
CWGC - Howard Preston Smith
CWGC - Albert Francis Thomas
CWGC - Neville Leigh Chesshire
ADF Serials - Hudson A16-38
ADF Serials - Hudson A16-38 Photo Gallery
RAAF DB - Hudson A16-38
Queensland Times "Four Killed - 'Plane Crash in Victoria" October 29, 1942
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January 5, 2018