CRASH OF A BEAUFORT
ON MOUNT TAWONGA
15 MILES SOUTH WEST OF ESKDALE, VICTORIA
ON 4 JUNE 1945

 

beaufort.jpg (13398 bytes)

Beaufort

 

RAAF Beaufort, A9-228, of No. 1 Operational Training Unit (1 OTU), left Mount Gambier at 5.33pm on 4 June 1945, headed for East Sale on a long range sea reconnaissance and night astro-navigation exercise. The aircraft was meant to head east for East Sale, but instead it headed north east. It flew over Albury in New South Wales. It circled Albury and and then flew in the direction of the Victorian Alps.

Several bearing adjustments were radioed to the aircraft from East Sale, but these were not acted on and the aircraft descended through the clouds. Radio transmissions had ceased at 8.15 pm. The aircraft slammed into the side of Mount Tawonga killing all the crew listed below:-

F/O Don Flavel (pilot)
F/O Robert Clayton (navigator)
F/O Fred Wallis
Flt. Sgt. L. J. Sims (radio operator)

The RAAF searched for 5 days in the area where they suspected the crash may have occurred. Evidence at a Court of Inquiry indicated a possible aircraft crash on Mount Tawonga. This area had not been checked and relatives, with the aid of Lieutenant Richard Hamilton of the Volunteer Defence Corps started a search on Mount Tawonga. It only took them 2.5 hours to find the wreckage. The crew were buried at the military cemetery at Sale.

 

Photos supplied by Daniel Leahy.
Photos taken 28 November 2000

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Rear panel

 

vic81b.jpg (109117 bytes)

Turret

 

There were still some significant remnants of this wreck at the crash site in early 2000. Parts of the tail section still have the green and brown camouflage quite evident. Malcolm Black of Sydney has been involved in finding many WW2 wrecks in the Northern Territory and Western Australia and was surprised to find this wreck in Victoria.

 


 

Subject:    Beaufort Crash
Date:             Mon, 13 Dec 1999 13:03:30 +1100
From:           Russell Kelly <wombat@albury.net.au>

G'day

I am researching for a small booklet on the crash of a Beaufort A9-228 in North East Victoria in June 1945.

Do you have Bruce Stewart's List? I am trying to track down the book - "Aircraft in Australian Service". can you give me any more details, please ?

Many thanks
Russell Kelly
Mitta Mitta Vic

 


 

Subject:   Beaufort Crash
Date:           Tue, 14 Dec 1999 09:44:05 +1100
From:          Russell & Robyn Kelly <wombat@albury.net.au>

G'day Peter

The crash occurred at approx 2018 on 4th June near Eskdale, on the side of a mountain.

Eskdale is in the Mitta Valley and there is considerable local interest in the crash. Most of the wreck has been taken away. Only recently part of a  wing and an engine were removed from the site.

The crash occurred because of some terrible navigation errors. The aircraft was supposed to be on the direct track from Mt Gambier to East Sale, finished up 20 degrees left of track and flying around at night in bad weather in mountainous terrain apparently looking for east Sale (100nm away!). The RAAF didnt find the wreck until 2 months later.

My interest : I'm a commercial pilot (hobby only) living in the Mitta Valley with an interest in aviation history.

Do you know anyone (ex navigator) who remembers how to use or has a handbook on the Astro Compass? Are there any (I guess old!) ex Beaufort pilots and navigators on the internet who remember how some of the systems work ?

Thanks for your help

Regards

Russell Kelly

 


 

Subject:    A9-228
Date:             Wed, 12 Jan 2000 18:19:56 +1100
From:           Russell Kelly <wombat@albury.net.au>

Hi

For your records, A9-228 crashed 7nm SW of Eskdale (NE Victoria) on 4 June 1945.

I am writing a publication covering the crash for release later this year.

Regards
Russell Kelly

 


 

Subject:    A9-228
Date:             Thu, 13 Jan 2000 11:20:17 +1100
From:           Russell & Robyn Kelly <wombat@albury.net.au>

G'day Peter

A9-228 crashed at 2018 hrs on 4th June 1945 on the northern slopes of Mt Tawonga, 7nm SW of Eskdale. Eskdale is a small village in the Mitta Valley SE of Albury/Wodonga.

A9-228 was returning to East Sale from Mount Gambier on a training exercise which included practice Astro navigation.

Soon after leaving Mount Gambier, the crew incorrectly set a heading 20 degrees to the left and due to a succession of navigational errors, continued on this track until overhead Albury (thinking this was East Sale). The aircraft then flew in the area for around an hour and at low altitude collided with Mt Tawonga, 85nm off course.

The a/c exploded on impact with a rocky outcrop and the wreckage spread over a wide area.

The bodies were badly mutilated and burnt.

Despite an extensive search, the wreckage was not found until eight weeks later. The search was initiated by relatives who were concerned at the inactivity of the RAAF.

The crew were:

FLAVEL Donald Algernon, 416663, F/O Pilot

CLAYTON Robert Victor, 406640, F/O Navigator

WALLIS Frederick Anthony, 408715, F/O WOAG

SIMS Lloyd Joseph, 434749, F/Sgt WAOG

Something you may be able to help me with:

1. Do you have accurate statistics as to how many Beauforts crashed in Victoria during WW2?

I have seen the figure of 100 mentioned. Know how many crew killed?

2. Do you know were I might be able to find the records of the construction of A9-228 and how it was equipped ?

3. Do you know anyone familiar with the avionics - specifically the radar and IFF ?

Thanks,

Russell Kelly

 


 

Subject:   "Going My Way"
Date:            Fri, 26 May 2000 18:26:43 +1000
From:           Russell J Kelly <wombat@albury.net.au>

Peter:

I have written a booklet on the crash of Beaufort A9-228 on 4th June 1945 near Eskdale, Victoria.

The booklet will be available from next week:

Title: "Going My Way - The Story of the Mysterious Crash of a Beaufort Bomber"
Price: $12.00 plus $1.00 P&P.
Cheque, Money Order etc payable to R.J.Kelly

Regards

Russell Kelly

 

Home page on book "Going My Way" by Russell J. Kelly

 


 

Subject:   Ceremony
Date:           Sat, 03 Jun 2000 11:27:47 +1000
From:          Russell J Kelly <wombat@albury.net.au>

G'day Peter

I forgot to mention:

Tomorrow (Sunday 4 June 2000) there will be a memorial plaque unveiled dedicated to the airmen who lost their lives in A9-228. Also dedicated to the locals who searched for the Beaufort for 8 weeks. Many of the relatives of the crew will be present. Also the Commanding Officer of RAAF East Sale and a fly-past, local politicians etc etc.

It will be the 55th Anniversary (4th June).

Regards

Russell

 


 

Subject:    A9-228
Date:           Tue, 06 Jun 2000 08:28:48 +1000
From:          Russell J Kelly <wombat@albury.net.au>

Peter

Thanks, very timely.

I was disappointed to read that the article was inviting scavengers to take what was left. In fact there is very little left and the relatives of the dead crew see the site as being sacred.

Hope you have received my booklet. You will need to correct some details in your database for A9-228.

Regards

Russell

 

Home page on book "Going My Way" by Russell J. Kelly

 

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I'd like to thank Daniel Leahy for his assistance with this home page.

 

REFERENCE

Flightpath Magazine
Volume 11, No. 4, May - July 2000 (page 10- 11)

 

Can anyone help me with more information on this crash?

 

I need your help

Copyright

 Peter Dunn 2015

Disclaimer

Please e-mail me
any information or photographs


"Australia @ War"
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This page first produced 28 May 2000

This page last updated 31 August 2015