CRASH OF A BEAUFIGHTER
NEAR TAMWORTH, NSW
ON 8 NOVEMBER 1944
Beaufighter Mark I, A19-41 of 5 OTU Williamtown, NSW, crashed during a cross country exercise from Williamtown to Tamworth to Dubbo and back to Williamtown on 8 November 1944. The aircraft had earlier answered a recall signal but due to atmospheric conditions the reply was not understood. No further news was received from the Beaufighter.
A Volunteer Air Observers Corps Post reported that this aircraft had remained in the vicinity of Gloucester for some time. Air and ground parties searched this area for some time without result.
The crew of two were reported missing and eventually presumed dead:-
Flight Lieutenant Raymond Julian Helling (416426) - Pilot
Pilot Officer Victor Winston Partridge (443265) - Navigator
12 crews took part in this night exercise. They were instructed to fly at 6,000 feet and to call up base on W/T at each turning point. The first four crews completed the exercise without incident. The next four including A19-41 took off as scheduled as per the night flying program. A19-41 took off at approximately 2135 hours. At 2320 hours the weather around Dubbo appeared to be deteriorating, so Squadron Leader Charles Arbuthnot Crombie (404099), the Officer Commanding of No. 5 Operational Training Unit (5 OTU) at RAAF Station Williamtown called out for all the aircraft to return directly to base. The last W/T contact with A19-41 was a 2340 hours.
At 0115 hours Squadron Leader Crombie was informed that two aircraft were overdue. All VAOC centres along the course of the exercise were contacted along with No. 1 Fighter Sector Headquarters in Sydney to see if they had any plots of straying aircraft.
Six Beaufighters and 3 Mosquitos took off at dawn with the Beaufighters to search an area between Williamtown and Dubbo and the Mosquitos a coastal area between Port Stephens and Sydney. The Beaufighters were forced to turn back due to poor visibility. Nothing was found.
Does anyone know if this aircraft was ever found?
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTSI'd like to thank Naomi Bortolinf and Wayne ? for their assistance with this web page.
Can anyone help me with more information on this crash?
© Peter Dunn 2015
This page first produced 3 December 2009
This page last updated 30 August 2015