|Pilot P/O Warwick Neville Rose, 400939 (MIA / KIA) Brunswick, VIC
2nd Pilot F/O Allan Roger Meakin, 418142 (MIA / KIA) Toorak, VIC
Navigator F/Sgt L. W. Stringer, 419679 (MIA / KIA) Northcote, VIC
W/AG F/Sgt Alexander John Hine, 415327 (MIA / KIA) Brookton, WA
W/AG F/Sgt James William Willesden, 427052 (MIA / KIA) WA
W/AG F/Sgt J. B. Miller, 406811 (MIA / KIA) Mount Lawley, WA
Flight Engineer Sgt Alfred Harvey Brooks Wadham, 28840 (MIA / KIA) Mildura, VIC
Flight Engineer Sgt Herbert John Alexander Coates, 35037 (MIA / KIA) Ashfield, NSW
Air Gunner Sgt Philip Charles Carter, 34396 (MIA / KIA)
Air Gunner Sgt George Wise Whitley, 41312 (MIA / KIA) Geelong, VIC
Crashed April 28, 1944
Built by Consolidated. Constructors Number 1199. Assigned U. S. Navy (USN) bureau number 8285.
Delivered to the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) as Catalina A24-49. On May 5, 1943 assigned to 20 Squadron. On June 24, 1943 assigned to 11 Squadron. Coded FJ-L. Nicknamed "Maggie" with the nose art of a portrait of Maggie, the wife of pilot F/Lt Malcolm Brooks. It is unknown whether the nickname stayed on the aircraft after he left in late 1943.
On April 28, 1944 took off from Groote Eylandt on a mission bound for
Manokwari. Nothing further was heard from the aircraft. It never reached its intended target and when it failed to return was declared Missing In Action (MIA).
The entire crew was officially declared dead the day of the mission. All are memorialized on the Northern Territory Memorial at Adelaide River War Cemetery. Meakin and Miller on panel 7. Rose on panel 8. Stringer, Willesden and Hine on panel 9. Coates on panel 10. Whitley on panel 11.
Bob Alford adds:
"The aircraft never reached the target and no trace has been found of the aircraft or crew."
"[From Australian Defense records] There were a number of suggestions
that the Catalina, with 10 crew aboard, may have come down in the vicinity
of a village called Moegim near Babo. It does appear that it reached
its target area, and there is a suggestion, though rather vague, that
the aircraft came under fire and may have been hit, although still
able to continue flying. I realize
the dreadful things that befell any downed airmen in that theatre
of war, but it may be that the remains of the
boat may one day be located.
One of the reports
was from a native medical orderly, who was on Biak in the August
of 1944. It
was also stated that the Japanese had reported an Australian Catalina
crashing into the sea, but this was unconfirmed. In a 1946 report,
the Catalina A24-49 was listed as one of the aircraft lost in this
area, along with a Liberator 42-40967, and three Kittykawks. They
did believe that they may have found the Liberator in Manroeni."
Daniel Leahy adds:
"Some post-war documentation includes references to wrecks and losses in the Manokwari area which could have been this aircraft. All were investigated and were found to be related to other aircraft losses or incidents and were ultimately dismissed as being Catalina A24-49."
Another source incorrectly states this PBY crashed off Horn Island.
RAAF Casualty Card - Catalina A24-49
ADF Serials - Catalina A24-49
RAAFDB - Catalina A24-49
A Mystery Unsolved... the Loss of Catalina A24-49
Thanks to Bob Alford and Daniel Leahy for additional information
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May 3, 2016