On 7 October 1943 RAAF Beaufort A9-409 from No1 OTU East Sale was carrying out Exercise DR 10 (T) . The aircraft crashed at approximately 0530 hours at a point 1 1/2 miles east of Woodside Beach on the Ninety Mile Beach,. It crashed in approximately 10 fathoms of water. Sgt Sexton's body was the only one recovered. 22 year old Laurence William Smith (425769), 19 year old Flt Sgt William John Rogers (427150) and 20 year old Sgt Ronald Francis Butler (426529) were also killed in this crash.





Over the years parts of A9-409 have washed up on the beach. The propeller hub with one blade is now on display at Point Cook RAAF Museum. It was found near the crash site of Boeing 707 A20-103 which crashed in 1991 near the same spot at Woodside.

After the crash one of the local farmers swam out in the surf behind the breakers and tied a rope to one of the undercarriage legs from the Beaufort. He then dragged it to shore using his horse and cart. It has laid on his farm ever since.



Subject:    Beaufort bomber crash off East Sale Victoria - Oct 1943
Date:             Thu, 17 May 2001 02:23:34 +1000
From:           Christine Forrester <>

Dear Peter,

I am researching my uncle's crash off the coast near East Sale in Victoria and noticed that the details of his crash are not listed on your website (they are now). I have his flying log book which shows the last entry as 3/10/43. The aircraft was a Beaufort A9-152 and the Duty column shows Low Formation. My uncle, Laurence William Smith (425769), was the pilot and Sgt Sexton was the 2nd Pilot, Pupil or Passenger. The Memorial Registers 25-26 ("1939-1945 The Sydney and Northern Territory Memorials") lists the names of those who fell in WWII and have no known grave. It lists my uncle's death as 7/10/1943, age 22.

The entries in my uncle's log book for the previous day, 2/10/43, show 3 flights as below:

Oct 2 Beaufort A9- Self (Pilot), F/Sgt Rogers, Sgts Butler & Sexton (2nd Pilot, Pupil or Passenger)

Oct 2 Beaufort A9-301     "      "     "

Oct 2 Beaufort A9-102     "      "     "

My Dad told me that the wreckage has never been found, but that an elderly lady living near the shore heard the crash. Only one body was found. The Memorial Registers list Flt Sgt William John Rogers (427150) died 7/10/43, aged 19 and Sgt Ronald Francis Butler (426529) also died 7/10/43, aged 20. I can only assume that it was Sgt Sexton's body that was found, since his name is the only one of the four men that is not listed in the Memorial Registers.

I hope this information is of use to you, and would appreciate any feedback or other info you may have.

Thanks so much
Christine Forrester



Subject:   Beaufort bomber crash off East Sale Victoria - Oct 1943
Date:           Sat, 19 May 2001 00:10:54 +1000
From:          Christine Forrester <>

I'm finding the debate on why the Beauforts crashed in such large numbers very interesting - 490 aircrew killed during WWII with 100 in the East Gippsland area alone. I have a copy of Flightpath magazine Volume 12 Number 2 (Nov-Jan 2001) in which there are 2 letters replying to an article in an earlier edition. These 2 letters have a lot of information about the elevator trim tab failure and carbon monoxide poisoning theories.

Thanks again
Christine Forrester



Subject:   Beaufort bomber crash off East Sale Victoria - Oct 1943
Date:           Mon, 21 May 2001 21:38:14 +1000
From:          Christine Forrester <>

Hi Peter,

I just wanted to let you know that I have had an email from Rick Hanning from Gippsland, with a lot of info regarding my uncle's crash, including the serial number of the plane, where it crashed and at what time of the day, and where some of the wreckage is on display at Point Cook RAAF Museum.

I can't thank you enough for helping - my Dad and his two surviving brothers will be very pleased to receive this information.

Thanks once again
Christine Forrester




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


Can anyone help me with more information on this crash?


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This page first produced 7 June 2001

This page last updated 03 February 2020