CRASH LANDING OF A BEAUFIGHTER
ON MUDFLATS ON ARNHEM COAST, NT
ON 2 JANUARY 1943
An RAAF Beaufighter of 31 Squadron RAAF, piloted by Ken Blundell, did not return from a mission on 2 January 1943. 31 Squadron was based at Coomalie Creek airfield in the Northern Territory. Later that day his Beaufighter was sighted on a mud flat on the Arnhem coast in the Northern Territory. The crew were soon rescued. There was very little damage to the aircraft. It had run low on fuel and made a forced landing.
Ken Blundell's crew returned to base on 5 January 1943. Blundell advised that the oil pressure had dropped in one of his engines, so he turned back for Coomalie Creek airfield. The engine later failed completely and he started to lose height. Blundell then pointed his aircraft in the direction of the nearest coastline. This was just to the east of Darwin. When he reached the coast of the Northern Territory he had dropped down to 200 feet at 100 knots. He made a forced landing on a mud flat and waited for help.
This Beaufighter was eventually flown out by Bill McKinnon after the swamp had dried up in July 1943.
"Coomalie Charlie's Commandos - 31 Squadron
"Beaufighters at Darwin 1942-43"
by Kenneth Neal McDonald, DFC
© Peter Dunn 2015
This page first produced 12 October 1999
This page last updated 31 August 2015