ON 21 JANUARY 1943

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At 1300 hours on 21 January 1943, two RAAF CA-8 Wirraways from No. 2 Operational Training Unit (2 OTU) based at Mildura, Vic, collided over Koorlong in Victoria while engaged in a Section mock combat exercise. Wirraway A20-277 was struck by A20-349 piloted by G.E. Taafe at about 7,000 ft causing tail of A20-277 to break away completely sending the aircraft crashing out of control.

One instructor, Flight Lieutenant James Stuart Menzies (250816) managed to bale out of Wirraway A20-277 and survived. The following crew members were killed in this terrible accident:-

Wirraway A20-277
Sergeant John Michael David Ryan (414839)      20 yrs old

Wirraway A20-349
Pilot Officer Geoffrey Edgar Taaffe (421099)    23 yrs old
Sgt. Alan Frederick Bates (413510)                19 yrs old



I'd like to thank John Lever for his assistance with details of this crash. John Lever is the author of a number of books on RAAF Operational Training Units.


Can anyone help me with more information on this crash?


"Australia @ War" Research Products

I need your help


 Peter Dunn 2015


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This page first produced 2 March 2001

This page last updated 10 September 2018