ON 19 APRIL 1944


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At 8:50am on 19 April 1944, three Spitfires of 548 Squadron RAF, took off from Strathpine airfield. Two of these Spitfires had a mid air collision near the Strathpine airfield just north of Brisbane. LF.VIII Spitfire A58-392 (JG342) collided with LF.VII Spitfire A58-393 (JG350). The two British pilots Wright and Chandler were both killed.

Both Spitfires had been delivered to the RAAF in February 1944.

An information sign on this accident has been erected at the corner of Youngs Crossing Road and Dayboro Road at Petrie. Behind it is a rock in which part of one of the aircraft's wiring is embedded. A ceremony is held each year on about the 19 April at this location.

I spoke to Bert Baker, the Secretary of the RAAF Association of Pine Rivers on 2 April 2000. They have a large function planned for 15 April 2000 at Merv Hewitt Reserve commencing at 8.30am. Two replica Spitfires were due to fly overhead at about 8.50am.

Their RAAF Association supports No. 12 Flight Air Training Corps (ATC). Bert mentioned that he had received a letter from a Sir John Aitken, who was at Strathpine at the time of the accident. Bert mentioned the existence of a lady from Mount Isa who had seen the accident and whose parents owned the land on which the two aircraft crashed. Bert expected that there would be some ex members of 548 Squadron RAF from New South Wales present at the ceremony.


"Spitfire Avenue" by Robert Martin
A DVD-R dedicated to the two pilots



In Memory of


Flight Sergeant (1319672), Pilot
548 Sqdn., Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
who died on Wednesday, 19th April 1944. Age 22.

Son of William Thomas Chandler and Annie Dorothy Chandler, of Chingford, Essex, England.

Grave Reference/Panel Number:     Sec. 77. Grave 41.


In Memory of


Squadron Leader (70834), Pilot
R.A.F.(O). 548 Sqdn., Royal Air Force
who died on Wednesday, 19th April 1944. Age 26.

Son of William Henry Wright, M.R.C.S., F.R.C.P., and Sadie Ann
Wright, of Helensburgh, Dunbartonshire.

Grave Reference/Panel Number:      Sec. 77. Grave 40.



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The Program for the Reunion and Memorial Service


The following photos are frame grabs from a video that I took at a Reunion and Memorial Service at Merv Hewitt Reserve at Petrie on 15 April 2000.


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18 April 1998
Article by Joanne Bevan


A REUNION of two World War II squadrons will be held this weekend at Pine Rivers to commemorate the mid-air crash of two Spitfires.

Petrie resident Keith Beakey, who was an eyewitness to the 1944 collision, will honour the pilots by playing the bagpipes at the Sunday service.

A Spitfire will make a fly-by over the ceremony, to be held at the crash site of one of the aircraft.

Mr Beakey said there was still a depression in the ground where the fighter crashed and part of the engine had been fused into a rock.

The other aircraft went down in North Pine River. Both pilots were killed.

Mr Beakey said he had been watching the Spitfire training flight when he was playing cricket before school.

Later, he went salvaging at the wrecks with his schoolmates.

Mr Beakey said that while aircraft parts he recovered had since been lost, he had never forgotten his gruesome discovery of a pilot's body.

Pine Rivers Shire councillor and local historian David Dwyer said former squadron members would march to the crash site on the corner of Youngs Crossing and Dayboro roads, Petrie for the 8.40am fly-by.

Cr Dwyer said the Spitfire then would land at the Caboolture Air Museum, where the ceremony would be completed.

"There are a couple of hundred people expected at the reunion from all over Australia," he said.



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


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This page first produced 3 January 1999

This page last updated 25 February 2020