Australian built Beaufort A9-217 was another aircraft
I found. The RAAF had recovered
the remains of the 4 crew members that were listed as missing in action
off Kawa Island in the Trobriand Islands.
Some of you may remember the article that appeared
in various Australian newspapers relating to the Recovery of the MIA's
from a WW II Beaufort Bomber A9-217 last seen circling Kawa Island in
Papua New Guinea.
A9-217 was attached to number 6 Squadron based
at Vivagani on Goodenough Island which took off on the night of the
14/15 November 1943 at 1423Z along with 12 other Beauforts for a bombing
and torpedo attack on shipping in Rabaul Harbor. "A9-217",
was assigned to the torpedo attack section of the flight. The flight
approached the target in formation and dropped bombs and torpedoes and
was later classified as a successful mission. However, on the return
flight the aircraft formation was lost and all aircraft returned singly.
Flight-Officer Horton of "A9-231" at the southern end of the
St. George's Channel last saw "A9-217", at approximately 1500Z.
According To Horton, no opposition was encounter. However, an A.A.,
opened fire at this time and it was though that it was firing at A9-217
which was in the vicinity and no communication was received from the
aircraft through out the return flight.
Army spotters at Kawa Island later observed an aircraft
in trouble which crashed into the sea near the island. This was later
investigated by a patrol craft, which found no survivors. However, a
fuel tank that was found at the site of the crash and was identified
as coming from a Beaufort and this is still on Kawa Island.
Those on board were Flt.Sgt. Woodgate, Sgt. Drake, Flt. Sgt.Maclean
and Plt.Off. Wells. All were listed as "Missing on Operations,
Presumed Killed". Their names are on the Rabaul Honor Roll at Bitapaka
War Cemetery, Rabaul, New Britain.
Beauford A9-217 was first discovered 18 months previous
by myself and guests on a private charter in early January 2000 and
on talking to RAAF officials a team was put together to investigate
the wreck and recover the MIA's
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