On 4 September 1943 RAAF Vultee Vengeance A27-76, piloted by F/Lt. Richard Henry Roe, DFC and P/O James Noel Harris failed to recover from an inverted position and crashed in north Melbourne, Victoria. Both were killed. It was from 1AD Laverton.

In 2003 a memorial plaque was erected near Macauley Railway Station, about 4km from the centre of Melbourne. It states that the aircraft was taking part in an air display at nearby Flemington Racecourse when control was lost because of equipment malfunction and that it crashed on buildings in the vicinity killing the crew. Macaulay is a heavily built up inner industrial suburb of Melbourne. 


Photo:- Colin Pope 6 Feb 2008

Memorial plaque near Macauley Railway Station


Gordon Taylor witnessed this incident and told me his following recollections of this tragic crash:-

I was attending the air display with my parents and brothers when the Vultee Vengeance crashed on 4/9/43. My father was a Sergeant in the Commonwealth Peace Force. (which later became the Federal Police).

We were sitting in a park watching the display of planes coming in and dropping flower bags/bombs onto a target. If I recall correctly the display was to assist with war bond sales. I remember the plane in question coming in low as with the others, and dropping its bomb. Then as he started to climb it looked like the plane started a victory roll. When he was fully inverted he stayed that way and gently arced back down towards the ground and never recovered. As I remember it was a smooth roll and arc and there was no sign of an attempt to recover. I remember the sound of the engine and do not remember it changing speed or note.

My father immediately commandeered a car and driver who drove him to the scene of the crash. My father was away all night at the crash and came home the next day. Upon returning he told my mother of the crash and I was listening. He said. It crashed into the Central Spring Works. The plane had passed through several walls and some of the machinery. The largest human part he found was a foot in its boot.

Colin Pope told me that Owen Mashford from Caloundra, Queensland was also an eye witness of this crash.

Amanda Wilson told me that her father, his sister and brother were playing at the stock yards (drying sheds) when the aircraft crashed.



I'd like to thank Amanda Wilson, Rick Hanning, Brendan Moloney, Colin Pope, Gordon Taylor and Greg Staples for their assistance with this home page.


Can anyone help me with more information on this crash?


I need your help


 Peter Dunn 2015


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This page first produced 13 June 2001

This page last updated 06 June 2016