ON 22 MAY 1944

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At 0917 hours E.S.T. on Monday 22 May 1944, Avro Anson A4-20 of 1 Air Observers School, RAAF at Evans Head, crashed during a navigation training exercise one mile east of Knockrow Post Office, 10 miles north of Ballina in New South Wales, near the Pacific Highway. The Avro Anson was heard flying through cloud and observed coming out of the cloud at approximately 1,000 feet with one wing disintegrating.

The crew of 4 RAAF personnel were killed, listed as follows:-

Flight Lieutenant Ernest Allan Shackell (270755) - Pilot
Flying Officer Trevor Llewellyn Woodgate (405283)
Warrant Officer Edmund James Kiely Ahern (404758)
Sergeant Gordon Hill (434747)

On 23 May 1944 F/Lt Shackell's parents called in to Forward Echelon in reference to their late son's affairs. In the course of conversation Mr. Shackell stated:-

"That his son had recently complained that he was flying too much and on the Sunday before his death said he didn't know how he would get back as the plane was only hanging together".

 There is a Memorial at the crash site on the Pacific Highway, which is maintained by the Ballina RAAF Association.


Photo:- via Gordon Birkett

Wreckage of Avro Anson A4-20 on 2 June 1944


Photo:- via Gordon Birkett

Wreckage of Avro Anson A4-20 on 2 June 1944



Anson A4/20 Court of Inquiry re accident at No 1 AOS on 22/5/44 (NAA File)

RAAF Casualty Database



I'd like to thank Daniel Leahy and Gordon Birkett for their assistance with this web page.


Can anyone help me with more information on this crash?


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 Peter Dunn 2015


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This page first produced 20 December 2016

This page last updated 01 March 2020