CRASH OF A WIRRAWAY
NEAR ST. LAWRENCE, QLD
ON 19 DECEMBER 1940

 

wirraway.jpg (13892 bytes)
Wirraway

 

On 19 December 1940, Wirraway A20-53 of 24 Squadron crashed at St. Lawrence, killing Pilot Officer H. A. Lenne, RAAF.  He was buried at Mackay Cemetery.

The following information is from the Commonwealth War Graves:-

 

In Memory of

HUBERT ALBERT LENNE

Pilot Officer
375
Royal Australian Air Force
who died on
Thursday, 19th December 1940. Age 20.

 

Son of Charles Albert and Margaret Sullivan Lenne, of Echuca, Victoria. R.C. Plot. Sec. 1. Line

Cemetery:                                       MACKAY CEMETERY, Queensland, Australia
Grave Reference/Panel Number:       1. Grave 3786A.

 

 

Subject:    Merry Christmas from Down Under
Date:           Sun, 26 Dec 1999 11:57:04 +1000
From:          col@sri.org.au

G'day, Peter

Thanks for the reply ... hope you had an enjoyable Christmas.

Have had a busy year, somethings are on a fledgling web page, but have trouble finding the time to upgrade it. Hope to do some updates in the next two weeks that I have off from work.

Didn't have a blue Christmas ... overcast, warm and humid with a few light showers but pleasant.

You may be interested in another couple of crashes ... "Beautiful Betsy" (Liberator B-24) near Biloela, in Kroombit Tops National Forest. I am planning a trip to that site early in February with my boss, Garry Cooper and the owner of a 4WD vehicle here in Mackay. I was emailed some pix a few months ago by Neil Richardson from Rockhampton who went for a look. Garry has researched Betsy for a number of years and wants to see the site to relate to what was known about the kite when it went missing in Feb 1945. The pieces of wreckage make it interesting. My boss (Dr. Terry Dixon, research engineer) has an interest in these things, as well as two sons in the RAN ... another was in the RAAF and looks like re-enlisting.

Another ... a Wirraway that crashed late November 1940 (actually 19 Dec 1940) north of St. Lawrence. Most of the wreckage was taken to Townsville but there is supposed to be something still there. Cannot be much as they were fabric covered. A few weekends ago, myself and RSL President Adrian van Moolenbroek who has researched that incident, went with AIRTC cadets looking for it. Despite some sweeps of the area where we think it crashed ... from the crash report and newspaper reports ... we found nothing. More research to be done. A previous search of the area by an AIRTC contingent from Innisfail also found nothing but they met a stockman when they were leaving the area who told them he knew where it was. They were to come with us but never turned up so we don't know what they really learned. The local AIRTC flight commander was unable to ID the stockman by calling the cattle property owners where we searched. Also heard too late to check that a local council mobile library driver knows where it is ... According to the crash report, the plane crash landed on a salt pan and overshot the saltpan and crashed into trees and caught fire. The pilot later died in a Mackay hospital and the passenger was awarded a George Medal in 1945 (after much wrangling, it seems).

As a related issue to the Wirraway, it looks like a contingent of RAAF reservists from Adelaide will be in Mackay next ANZAC Day for a service at the pilot's grave, to march with us and possibly unveil a plaque at the crash site if we can locate it. It is about a 2 hour drive from Mackay.

Regards
Col, Mackay

 

 

Subject:     Merry Christmas from Down Under
Date:              Tue, 28 Dec 1999 20:07:21 +1000
From:             col@sri.org.au

Peter,

The Wirraway crash is the same as you have. There isn't enough info from the crash report or newspaper clippings to fix the position. The RAAF doesn't seem to have much on it. The RAAF Museum asked Adrian to give him anything we find, but have'nt been able to recipocate with anything of value.

Based on Neil Richardson's pixs of "Beautiful Betsy" we are planning to go to the site.

Col

 

REFERENCE BOOK

"Diary of WWII - North Queensland"
Complied by Peter Nielsen

"Aircraft of the RAAF 1921- 71"
By Geoffrey Pentland & Peter Malone

 

Can anyone help me with more information?

 

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This page first produced 15 July 1998

This page last updated 13 January 2017