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  Lockheed Hudson Mark II Serial Number A16-97  
2 Squadron

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RAAF August 13, 1940

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Daniel Leahy 2005

Pilot   F/Lt Robert Edward Hitchcock, 115 (KIA, BR) East St. Kilda, VIC
Navigator  P/O Richard Frederick Wiesener, 607 (KIA, BR) Strathfield, NSW
Crew  Cpl John Frederick Palmer, 2130 (KIA, BR) Glen Iris, VIC
Crew  AC1 Charles Joseph Crosdale, 6673 (KIA, BR) West Cessnock, NSW
Passenger  James Valentine Fairbairn, Air Minister (KIA, BR)
Passenger  Richard Edwyn Elford, Secretary to the Air Minister (KIA, BR)
Passenger  Geoffrey Austin Street, Army Minister (KIA, BR)
Passenger  Sir Henry Somer Gullett, VP of Executive Council (KIA, BR)
Passenger  Lt Gen Sir Cyril Brudenell Bingham White, Chief General Staff (KIA, BR) Woodnaggerak, VIC
Passenger  Lt Col Francis Thornthwaite, V159753 Snr Army Officer (KIA, BR) Derrinallum, VIC

Crashed  August 13, 1940 at 10:50am

Aircraft History
Built by DAP in Australia. Constructors Number 1951. Disassembled and shipped overseas to Australia.

Wartime History
On June 20, 1940 assigned to the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) as Hudson A16-97. Reassembled by 1 Air Depot (1 AD). On August 12, 1940 assigned to 2 Squadron. No known nickname or nose art.

Mission History
On August 13, 1940 took off with passengers aboard including Government officials and VIPs. On the approach to t RAAF Base at Canberra, this Hudson spun and crashed two miles east of the airfield, killing everyone aboard and burning. On August 17, 1940 this Hudson was officially written off.

Today, nothing remain at the crash site.

Daniel Leahy adds:
"I've visited the site about 3 times and have found nothing of the aircraft. I have however found a ditch about the same shape and size as that in the crash photo just behind the memorial - so chances are the same place."

The entire crew was officially declared dead the day of the crash. After the recovery of remains, the remains of the crew and passengers were recovered and buried in Australia.

The civilian dead: Fairbairn, Elford, Street and Gullett are commemorated at St. George's Chapel in Westminster Abbey, London, England.

Afterwards, Canberra Airport (RAAF Base at Canberra) was renamed "Fairbairn Airfield" in honor of James V. Fairbairn. A stone memorial is located at the crash site.

Wiesener is buried at Rookwood Crematorium Sydney at memorial wall, niche 115PD.
White is buried at Buangor Public Cemetery at C of E section grave 40.
Thornthwaite is buried at Lismore Civil Cemetery at section A, grave 10.

CWGC - Robert Edward Hitchcock
CWGC - Richard Frederick Wiesener
CWGC - John Frederick Palmer
CWGC - Charles Joseph Crosdale
CWGC - James Valentine Fairbairn
CWGC - Richard Edwyn Elford
CWGC - Geoffrey Austin Street
CWGC - Sir Henry Somer Gullett
CWGC - Sir Cyril Brudenell Bingham White
CWGC - Francis Thornthwaite
ADF Serials - Hudson A16-97

RAAFDB - Hudson A16-97
Thanks to Daniel Leahy for additional information.

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Last Updated
February 4, 2018


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