10 DECEMBER 1942
CRASH OF A BEAUFORT INTO THE SEA
15 MILES EAST OF PALM ISLAND, QLD
At 1300 hours E.A.S.T. on 10 December 1942, RAAF Beaufort A9-161 of 7 Squadron RAAF, ditched into the sea 15 miles east of Palm Island, off the east coast of Queensland, Australia after engine failure.
The pilot, Pilot Officer Peter Willoughby (408898) suffered severe shock and abrasions. Sgt. Albert George Holtham (406718) suffered a probable fractured pelvis, shock and abrasions and Sgt. Harry William Hudson (406806) suffered a possible fractured patella, shock and abrasions. The Preliminary Report (Internal) of lying Accident or Forced Landing only shows these three crew members whilst the National Archives shows and extra crew member, Sgt. Lloyd George Benjamin (408953).
The Australian Institute of Marine Science has located a WW2 bomber wreck at Robbery Shoals, Rib Reef about 30 kms north east of Palm Island in north Queensland. Could it be the wreckage of Beaufort A9-161 perhaps?
I'd like to thank Ross McNeill of Worcestershire, UK, who is a researcher specialising in sea losses of Allied aircraft 1939-45. His Beaufort data comes from the RAF 800 movement cards held at the RAF Museum, Hendon. Ross spent a few months transcribing the info in about 1997.
SOURCE:- Aircraft Crash Sites - Australia
Crash: No. 257 (shows the location as Pale Island, not Palm Island)
Position: 18.44 - 146.52
Department of Aviation Chart No: 3219
"Diary of WWII - North
Complied by Peter Nielsen
"Aircraft and Markings of the RAAF 1939 - 1945"
By Geoffrey Pentland
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© Peter Dunn 2007
This page first produced 25 April 1999
This page last updated 29 March 2013