13 JUNE 1943



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Two Spitfires from 79 Squadron RAAF collided when landing at Garbutt aerodrome on Sunday 13 June 1943.

Flight Lieutenant Virgil Paul Brennan (404692), DFC, DFM, was killed when his Spitfire EE 954 caught fire.  He was buried at the Townsville War Cemetery, Grave Reference/Panel No. A.D.12. Virgil, or Paul as he was known, was one of four sons of the late Mr Edgar James Brennan and Mrs Katherine Brennan who was living at Hendra at the time of her sons death. Paul was born in Warwick, Queensland on 6 March 1920. He was 23 years old at the time of his death. Flt. Lt. Brennan was en route to join 452 Squadron RAAF at the time of this accident. Prior to being in 79 Squadron RAAF, he had been in 64 and 249 Squadrons RAF and had served at Malta. He had been credited with 10 kills during combat missions. He was a co-author of a 96 page book "Spitfires over Malta" published in London in 1943 by Jarrolds. He became known as "Brennan of Malta".

The squadron designations for the two aircraft were UPK and UBH.

The other pilot, Sergeant (newly appointed) Gardner, survived the writeoff of his Spitfire JG 897.

79 Squadron RAAF were at Wooloomanata, near Geelong, from May until June 1943. They moved to Goodenough Island in June 1943. I assume they must have been in transit to Goodenough Island through Garbutt when this incident occurred.



I'd like to thank Joe Baker for his assistance with this web page.



"Diary of WWII - North Queensland"
Complied by Peter Nielsen

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


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This page first produced 20 June 1998

This page last updated 02 February 2020