ON 13 MAY 1942


On the 13 May 1942, RAAF Avro Anson, R3561, from No 6 Service Flying Training School Mallala, (6 SFTS), South Australia crashed into Mount Oakden about 7 miles north east of Hoyleton, in South Australia during a rainstorm. 

The Anson was totally destroyed and 21 year old LAC David Alwyen Checchi (409511) was killed. 

On page 120 of a book by Jean V. Moyle, The Wakefield, Its Water And Its Wealth (Riverton, SA: Jean V. Moyle, 1975), Jean  says:-

"In this western valley the Skilly...turns sharply south and on its western side it is flanked by the range in which Mount the highest peak....Mount Oakden was the scene of a tragedy during WW 11. A young trainee pilot, on an early morning flight, found the range enveloped in thick fog. He crashed into the side of the invisible , densely tree-covered mount. A wood cutter, Anton Pawelski who heard the sound, was able to direct the search. The plane was wrecked, the pilot dead and a trail of blazed tree tops showed the line of flight. This trail remained visible for several years."

As a child in the 1940's Ivan Winter's father told him about a plane that crashed on one of these hills (part of the North Mount Lofty Ranges and often referred to as the Skilly Hills), as they carried their truck load of bee-boxes to the western foot of Tower Hill. Ivan  always thought the crash was on a hill directly south of Tower Hill which, to this day, is notable for the big, single tree growing on its summit. From the west Ivan probably could not see Mt Oakden.

Gordon Hazel's family was on Hughes Park from 1959 to 1974. As a child Gordon rode on horseback over to the crash site at the back of Mount Oakden. Gordon advised he saw a damaged tree and three indentations in the ground where the nose and engines impacted. Claude Thomas who was a young station hand there at the time said it was a day of heavy low cloud and he had heard the plane fly over quite low. Gordon said that the joy stick belonging to the plane is still probably hanging in the Craig Forda workshop, which belongs to the Parker family, on the southern side of Hughes Park. 

The late Washington Parker told Gordon Hazel, that as a boy he remembered a series of army trucks carrying away the wreckage of the aircraft, and that it was several days before it was found. The site is located in paddock called the Honeysuckle, which is north east of Peake Hill which lies behind the Peake, which is the original homestead on Hughes Park, where the overseer lived in Gordon's fathers’ time. Gordon's father was the Manager during the time his family lived there.

Gordon Hazel did have a fragment of the wreck, just a small aluminium bracket, for some time, but it has since been lost. Gordon doesn’t remember who found the wreck. Gordon indicated that the country is very rough and heavily timbered with red stringy bark. Gordon was most interested to find this web site as he had often wondered who the poor pilot was, and why and how he got there.

Avro Anson R.3561 had earlier been involved in a forced landing at Ashgrove Hill near Gympie on 20 July 1941.



The Wakefield, Its Water And Its Wealth
by Jean V. Moyle, 1975



I'd like to thank Rick Hanning and Ivan Winter for their assistance with this home page.

I'd also like to thank Gordon Hazel for his assistance with this web page.


Can anyone help me with more information on this crash?


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This page first produced 18 June 2002

This page last updated 02 February 2020