CRASH OF A BEAUFORT
AT MILLS LANE, 3 MILES NE OF TINAMBAH, VIC
ON 22 AUGUST 1943
Beaufort A9-175 of No. 1 Operational Training Unit 1OTU at East Sale crashed at Mills Lane, approximately 3 miles north east of Tinambah in Victoria at approximately 1500 hours E.S.T. on 22 August 1943. The pilot Flight Sergeant Maxwell Bruce Maxwell (413131) was killed in this crash. There were no other crew members on board the aircraft.
The aircraft was seen to bank nose down and dive into the ground from about 2,000 feet at an angle of 80 degrees. It engines were running normally. Mills Lane is the road between Maffra and Tinanbah.
Witnesses of this crash included:-
Edward William Lawrence Daniel of "Tarpeena", Maffra
Ernest George Barrett c/o C.R. Daniel, "Tarpeena", Maffra
Mr. & Mrs. Coffey, of Box 42, Maffra
Mr. French of Box 42, Maffra
Laurie Daniel contacted me in December 2015 and advised that he was a witness to this crash at Mills Lane approximately 5 miles North east of Maffra. Laurie was watching the plane as it was flying much higher than they normally flew in the district. Whilst he watched the plane overturned, the nose of the aircraft dropped, followed by a power dive with motors roaring until it hit the ground about 100 metres from the house and shed where Laurie was standing.
Laurie said it crashed across the middle of the road adjacent to an irrigation culvert. He did not see the actual impact, having laid down with his thumb in his mouth as per air raid instructions. It appeared to Laurie that the plane must have been sliding sideways as it hit one wingtip being directly below the power lines.
Photo:- via Laurie Daniel
Wreckage of Beaufort A9-175 beside Mills Lane
Photo:- via Laurie Daniel
Wreckage along the fence line beside Mills Lane
Laurie told me that the residents of Gippsland wondered for many years the reason for so many Beaufort crashes over many months. Laurie learned of the possible reason many years later. Melbourne Coroner Hal Hallenstein retired in 1984. At his retirement celebrations, he spoke of several highlights of his career including the enquiry into the Beaufort crashes. It appeared that one of the Beauforts crashed into a lake and the bodies of the crew were recovered. Postmortem tests showed carbon monoxide poisoning as the cause of death. Tests on the aircraft showed that exhaust gasses had entered the cabin heating system.
A funeral service for F/Sgt. Maxwell was held at the Sale War Cemetery on 24 August 1943.
I'd like to thank Laurie Daniel for his assistance with this web page.
Can anyone help me with more information on this crash?
© Peter Dunn 2015
This page first produced 17 December 2015
This page last updated 17 December 2015