|Pilot Pilot Officer Colin R. Duncan, 401778 (survived) St. Kilda, VIC
Crashed June 30, 1943
Built by Supermarine at Westland Aircraft Factory. Assigned Royal Air Force (RAF) serial number AR523. On October 13, 1942 disassembled and loaded aboard SS Waroonga as cargo and shipped overseas to Australia.
December 25, 1942 assigned to the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) reassembled by 1 Air Depot (1 AD). On January 20, 1943 assigned to 7 Air Depot (7 AD). On February 23, 1943 assigned to 2 Operational Training Unit (2 OTU). Five days later, assigned to 84 Squadron then back to 2 OTU on April 5, 1943.
On May 9, 1943 to 1 Fighter Wing (1 FW) then five days later assigned to 452 Squadron. Coded "T" and later "QY-F". This Spitfire operated from Katherine Airfield in Northern Territory. On July 15, 1943 assigned to 7 Repair Salvage Unit (7 RSU) and written off October 4, 1943. During November 1943 administratively assigned RAAF serial number A58-2 (this serial number was never applied to the aircraft).
On June 30, 1943 took off piloted by Pilot Officer Colin R. Duncan, 401778 on a mission to intercept Japanese aircraft. This Spitfire was hit, set on fire and crashed into the remote outback. As Duncan tried to bail out, he found the canopy was stuck but managed to force it open and bailed out successfully.
Fates of the Pilot
Pilot Duncan survived the crash but was burned on his arms and legs. Spotted from the air, he was dropped food and cigarettes. He was rescued five days later and returned to duty. He passed away in 1992.
This Spitfire crashed into rough country. During March 2016, the crash site was spotted by a helicopter pilot in a remote portion of Litchfield National Park. The site was visited and later confirmed by the Royal Australian Air Force that confirmed the wreckage as Spitfire A58-2. The site is protected by the NT Heritage Act. The wreckage will be recovered and possibly displayed at the RAAF Museum Point Cook or Australian War Memorial (AWM).
WW2 Nominal Roll - Colin Ronald Duncan, 401778
ADF Serials - Spitfire A58-2
NT News "73-year-old spitfire mystery solved" by Craig Dunlop September 29, 2016 (photos)
The Age "'A very brave man': WWII plane wreck discovery highlights thrilling escape story" by Carolyn Webb October 3, 2016 (photos)
Thanks to Daniel Leahy for additional information
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January 5, 2018