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|Pilot F/Lt William James Clark, 403318 (KIA, April 26, 1943)
Co-Pilot F/O John Nigel Elmhurst Potts, 408268 (KIA, April 26, 1943)
Engineer Sgt Dudley James Ward, 32917 (KIA, April 26, 1943) Kingsford, NSW
Nav/Asst Engineer F/O Clifton Stuart Dunn, 403985 (KIA, June 16, 1943)
W/AG Cpl John Fenwick, 22532 (POW, executed March 5, 1944) Hawthorne, QLD
Crew F/O Colin J. Twist, 407655 (POW / MIA August 7, 1943) Cammeray, NSW
Crew Cpl Ronald Hugh Alexander Wettenhall, 11785 (survived)
Crew Sgt Frederick Gordon Thompson, 416629 (survived)
Crew Cpl Herbert Yates, 62031 (POW / MIA August 7, 1943) Summer Hill, NSW
Crashed April 26, 1943 at 11:20pm
At 11:00pm, the first drop zone at Aita was located from an altitude of 10,000' and the crew released two parachutes while making two left circuits. Before to the third drop, an impact was heard and engine revved to full power at 11:20pm before crashing into trees on a ridge. During the crash three were killed: Clark, Potts and Ward.
Fates of the Crew
The next morning, Wettenhall and Twist smashed the waist blister windows, allowing the other crew members to exited. The noise made smashing the windows attracted the attention of the coastwatchers and natives who had been searching for them since hearing the crash. Using the bunks from the wrecked Catalina, they were carried to an Australian Army commandos camp to recover from their wounds and await rescue.
They group remained there for a month and a half. A U.S. submarine was due to pick up some personnel at Teopasina roughly 15 miles away but the pickup was rescheduled for a later date.
On the morning June 16, 1943, Lt. Bedkober, Sgt. Florence, L/Sgt. Martin and Spr. Cassidy of the A.I.F. and four members of this Catalina: Dunn (on crutches), Fenwick (unable to walk) Twist and Yates were at the camp. They were surprised by a force of about 80 Japanese and 40 natives. Bedkober fired his Owen gun until the magazine was empty. Dunn and Fenwick could not escape, and Bedkober refused to leave them and threw down his gun and walked towards the Japanese. At that moment, Dunn was shot and killed.
The others kept firing and escaped into the jungle. Without food, the survivors of the attack wandered eastward in search of other friendly forces. Near Numa Numa, natives betrayed them to the Japanese and Twist and Yates were both captured and became Prisoners Of War (POW). Both died in captivity during August 1944, location unknown, possibly Rabaul.
Wettenhall and Thompson evaded capture and survived.
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