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Qantas Empire Airways
|Pilot F/O Allan Leslie Norman, 407006 (POW, executed 11-4-42) Hawthorn, VIC
Co-Pilot F/O Frederick Arthur Donald Diercks, 407708 (POW, executed 11-4-42) Plympton, SA
Navigator P/O Francis O’Connell Anderson, 403118 (POW, executed 11-4-42) Cremone, NSW
Engineer Cpl Alfred Harry Lanagan, 6853 (POW, executed 11-4-42) Old Burren, NSW
2nd Engineer Cpl Alfred Roland Hocking, 18005 (POW, executed 11-4-42) Prahran, VIC
Radio LAC William Murdoch Parker, 20343 (POW, executed 11-4-42) West Ryde, NSW
Asst Radio LAC Vernon Holloway Hardwick, 17635 (POW, executed 11-4-42) Bencubbin, WA
RIgger LAC John Joseph Burns, 19574 (POW, executed 11-4-42) Preston, VIC
Armour LAC Ernest John McDonald, 10253 (POW, executed 11-4-42) East Malvern, VIC
Ditched May 4, 1942
During the night of February 3, 1942, took off from Fairfax Harbor off Port Moresby piloted by Captain S/Ldr F B Chapman, 1349 with co-pilot P/O N V Robertson, 400076 on a night bombing mission against Japanese shipping in Simpson Harbor off Rabaul. The formation included five Catalinas: this aircraft, A24-5, A24-3, A24-14 and A24-17. Over the target, this Catalina was attacked by A5M4 Claudes of the Chitose Kokutai (operating in tandem with the searchlight crews). Afterwards, returned safely to Fairfax Harbor at 2028Z/3.
On Apirl 3, 1942 assigned to 20 Squadron.
Ross Smith adds:
This PBY reported it was under attack south of Bougainville, by anti-aircraft fire and the crew reported fighters. Another reference places it over the Solomon Sea, west of New Georgia and south of Bougainville. No further messages were received from the plane and it failed to return to base. This Catalina likely ditched, as the entire crew survived the landing.
Fates of the crew
In 1947 and 1950 a mass grave was uncovered on Matupi Island and the remains of the crew were recovered and identified.
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