CRASH OF A SPITFIRE
NEAR PINE CREEK, NT
ON 18 APRIL 1944

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Flying Officer Peter George Flemming Brown (RAF 120926) of 54 Squadron RAF was ferrying Spitfire VIII A58-309 from Gorrie Airfield to Darwin on 18 April 1944 in company with W/O I. D. Ross (1113993) in Spitfire A58-330. When he was approximately 40 miles south of Pine Creek, F/O Brown advised W/O Ross that his engine had cut out at 9,000 feet. F/O Brown glided down to look for a clear place to make a forced landing. When he had reached 1,000 feet he was unable to locate a suitable location and he advised W/O Ross that he was "going over the side" or bailing out.

F/O Brown bailed out at about 400 to 500 feet and his Spitfire dived almost vertically into the ground and immediately caught fire. Brown's parachute opened at about 100 feet but unfortunately for him he descended straight into the burning wreckage of his aircraft. He broke both legs and sustained severe burns and died of his injuries at 1625 hours on 18 April 1944.

His body was conveyed to 101 A.G.H. Katherine and later relocated to Adelaide River War Cemetery where he was buried at 1100 hours on 20 April 1944. The Burial Service was conducted by the Church of England Padre, Reverend J.H. Lance and was attended by seven officers and six other ranks of 54 Squadron.

 


Photo:- Doug Tilley

Headstone for F/O Peter George Flemming
Brown at Adelaide River Cemetery

 

This same aircraft had suffered an engine failure due to a fuel problem at 13,000 feet on 3 April 1944 when P/O M. J. Beaton of 452 Squadron had to make a emergency landing at Katherine Airfield during a cross country flight.

I was contacted by a helicopter pilot from Katherine on 4 November 2011, who told me he had noticed the wreckage of a WWII aircraft. He initially told me that it had twin engined six cylinder aircraft and there were 20mm shell cases and other small arms bullets and shells littered around the wreckage. Many of them were still live. He flew back to the site to take some photos for me which I used with the help of some of my contacts to identify it as a Spitfire with a V12 engine. The engine had split into two six cylinder blocks on impact.

The chopper pilot then confirmed there were a number of live HE rounds on site plus he found an RAF button with a crown and eagle on it. I advised him that he would have to report these live HE Rounds to the ADF for disposal as they are quite dangerous. Bob Alford help to identify this newly re-found wreckage as Spitfire A58-309.

 


Photo:- Dave Wharton

RAF button found at the crash site

 

I contacted the NT EOD contact in Defence in Darwin who looks after the discovery of UXO and reported the presence of a number of live HE Rounds at the crash site. I also contacted Wing Commander Wesley Perrett in RAAF Headquarters who is in charge of MIAs and historic aircraft wreck sites to report the discovery of the Spitfire wreckage.

 


Photo:- Jeremy Musk

 


Photo:- Jeremy Musk

 


Photo:- Jeremy Musk

 


Photo:- Dave Wharton

 


Photo:- Jeremy Musk

 


Photo:- Jeremy Musk

 


Photo:- Dave Wharton

 


Photo:- Dave Wharton

 


Photo:- Dave Wharton

 


Photo:- Dave Wharton

 


Photo:- Dave Wharton

 


Photo:- Jeremy Musk

 


Photo:- Jeremy Musk

 


Photo:- Dave Wharton

 


Photo:- Dave Wharton

 


Photo:- Jeremy Musk

 


Photo:- Jeremy Musk

 


Photo:- Jeremy Musk

 


Photo:- Jeremy Musk

 

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I'd like to thank Dave Wharton, Gordon Birkett, Bob Livingstone, Mark Walker, Bob Alford, and Jeremy Musk for their assistance with this web page.

 

Can anyone help me with more information on this crash?

 

I need your help

Copyright

 Peter Dunn 2015

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This page first produced 5 October 2016

This page last updated 05 October 2016