CRASH OF A BOOMERANG
AT CHARLEVILLE, QLD
ON 29 JANUARY 1944

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On 29 January 1944 at about 0740 hours, Boomerang A46-174 piloted by Flight Lieutenant Bob Ashby took off from Charleville Airfield ahead of Boomerang A46-170 flown by F/O Anthony Kingsmill Brook (119531) Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve RAFVR, who was on loan to the RAAF.  While circling the aerodrome at 1,000 feet, A46-170 seemed to be overtaking A46-174 as though to take up position in formation. When nearing the leading aircraft, A46-170 dived suddenly into the ground, apparently out of control. The symptoms indicated that the pilot skidded or turned suddenly to lose speed whereupon a rudder lock developed.

A rudder lock is characteristic of Boomerangs and is likely to cause the pilot, especially if he is inexperienced in this type, to lose control for a short period, until he is able to forcibly overcome the lock.

The preliminary report of the accident states that the accident occurred "at 07.40 hours half a mile outside the aerodrome". The nature of the accident is stated to be "Aircraft crashed and burned shortly after take off. Cause unknown".

Nick Simpson, F/O Brook's nephew, told me that Boomerangs were often referred to as "flying coffins" or "widow-makers".

The two pilots had made a refuelling stop over at Charleville Airfield and were given the royal treatment by the mayor of the time, Oswald James Allen.

The funeral service took place with full RAF honours at the Charleville Cemetery (C. of E. Plot. Sec 10. Allotment 30. Grave 2190) and very many of the townspeople attended. A collection was later made and raised £95 which was used to erect a drinking fountain for the town. It was unveiled by HRH Duke of Gloucester on 21 June 1946. This drinking fountain is now located at the Charleville RSL Club at 37 Watson Street, Charleville.

 

The Charleville Times - Friday, 21 July 1944

TONY BROOK MEMORIAL

Mr. O. J. Allen has received the following letter from the father of Tony Brook, who was accidentally killed in a plane crash:-

Stone House, Wavering,
near Maidstone, Kent.
11th April, 1944.

Dear Mr. Allen, óMy wife and I wish to thank you from our hearts for your kind letter conveying to us your sympathy, and that of your townspeople. The knowledge that our boy's grave will be tended by loving and understanding hands has brought a measure of comfort to us which nothing else could have done, and the esteem and love which you tell us Tony engendered in the hearts of your people, compensates us to a great extent for the tragic loss we have suffered.

Tony's name was Anthony Kingsmill, and he was born on December 12th, 1922.

If you will be kind enough to convey to the citizens of Charleville and district our grateful thanks for all they have done, and are doing for us, you will be adding to a debt which we already feel is beyond repayment.

Yours sincerely,
        W. BROOK.

 

Charleville Airfield was occupied by 15 Operational Base Unit RAAF although no RAAF Squadron was actually based there. It had been referred to as "Australia's secret base" and had also been referred to with snide remarks by Tokyo Rose.

Tony Brook was born in Maidstone Kent in 1922. He had three sisters, Evelyn, Jeanne and Audrey. He was the second born to William and Dorothy Brook of Stone House, Weavering, Maidstone, Kent. He was educated at Sutton Valence School near Maidstone and joined the RAF in 1941. He was commissioned in January 1942 and posted abroad soon afterwards.

 

REFERENCES

"School Children Welcome Duke at Charleville", The Canberra Times, Saturday 22 June 1946

"Children Hail Duke for Town", The Courier Mail (Brisbane), Saturday 22 June 1946

 

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I'd like to thank Rick Hanning and Bruce Buchan for their assistance with this page.

I'd also like to thank Nick Simpson, the nephew of Flying Officer Anthony Kingsmill Brook (119531) RAF.

 

Can anyone help me with more information on this crash?

 

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This page first produced 10 June 2001

This page last updated 02 February 2020