CRASH OF A BEAUFIGHTER
AT MOUNT DISAPPOINTMENT
NORTH OF WHITTLESEA, VIC
ON 5 AUGUST 1942
I visited this crash site on 1 March 2000 with Les Lewis, and his friends Rob Pocock, and Ken "Roach" Brookes. In fact this was the first crash site that I have ever visited. This was despite the fact that by that time I had already posted the details of 1,085 crashes of WW2 aircraft in Australia on my home pages. In fact I visited 4 crash sites in three and a half hours on that day in March. Quite an interesting day.
We drove along the forestry tracks at the top of Mount Disappointment and after passing over the track taken by the famous explorers Hume and Hovel in the 19th century, we pulled up at the side of the narrow forestry road.
We arrived at the crash site of Beaufighter Mark IC, RAAF Serial No. A19-12, (RAF Serial No. T4931) from 30 Squadron RAAF after a short walk. The site is only about 50 metres in from the road. There was no real evidence of the aircraft itself but it was clear that something was different about this particular area in the thickly wooded forest. In the area of the crash there was a large air space under the canopy of the forest where no trees had grown since the crash on 5 August 1942. The large fire and the presence of fuel and oil etc has obviously effected the ecosystem in this area preventing normal regrowth.
Two young men died in this tragic crash.
This aircraft had been delivered to the RAAF in April 1942.
The following summary on this crash was provided by Les Lewis:-
A19-12 Beaufighter IC
A synopsis of the tragedy on 5th August 1942.
Location: (Stated) North of Whittlesea. Approx. 35 miles north of Melbourne.
Actual: Three hundred yards north of the Mt. Disappointment peak.
Unit: 30 Squadron.
Date: 5th August 1942.
Time: Around 1245Z
Pilot: 405744 Pilot Officer L.D.Langusch. [aged 24 years from Tinana Qld.]
Crew: 205761 Sgt. Greasley N.E. [aged 22 years from Ascot Vale Vic.]
Both men were killed.
(Nature and cause of this accident is not stated on the preliminary report.)
Damage: Aircraft burnt out.
(The above notes are transcribed from the Preliminary Accident Report PT81)
Notes where added are in brackets
The PT 81 is on microfilm, at this stage I cannot get a printed copy.
Note: the following is an extract from a memorandum to the Secretary of the Air Board, Victoria Barracks Melbourne, dated 19th August 1942, and may go some way to explain the disappearance of the court of inquiry records.
" Full details of the accident involving the death of the late airman cannot be given.- but are presumably held by the Investigating Officer."
It is an unfortunate fact that only around ten percent of records of this type are on file to date.
Many have been lost altogether.
Notwithstanding this, the following details have been gained from sources other than the Court of Inquiry and are none the less factual.
The aircraft, Bristol Beaufighter A19-12 departed No. 30 Squadrons home base at Richmond New South Wales on the morning of 5th August 1942 en route to Laverton Base Victoria with a scheduled stop over at No.11 EFTS Benalla.
It was carrying a cargo of aircraft spare parts.
The Navigator, Sergeant N.E. Greasley had been granted a request to visit his brother who had just been repatriated from the Middle East following injuries that he sustained as a passenger in an air crash.
As the Squadron were about to relocate to their temporary operations base at Bohle River in Queensland, he was assigned along with Pilot Officer Langusch on this flight.
Detail: The aircraft was en route to Laverton air base from its home base of Richmond.
Following a short stop over, it departed Benalla Victoria at 1215Z .
It failed to arrive at Laverton, and when out of endurance, and with no reports of landing at any other location, the aircraft was subsequently reported as missing.
On the 7th of August an air search reported sighting wreckage at a point to the west of the mountain, and a land party was sent in.
This location was not correct, and the search resumed the next day.
At 1000Z on the 8th August, the wreckage was finally located beside the north-south firebreak on the northern slope and near the peak of Mt. Disappointment
Wreckage was scattered over a wide area.
There were no survivors.
Twelve days after the incident, on the 17th August No.30 Squadron moved from Richmond to Bohle River in North Queensland, and on the 12th of September they moved to Wards Strip just out from Port Moresby under the control of the Fifth Air Force USAAF.
It was from there the operations that were to establish the reputation of the aircraft and the fame of 30 Squadron were destined to commence.
|Mount Disappointment (802 metres) - view from the south|
|Les Lewis, Rob Pocock, and Ken "Roach" Brookes|
You could clearly see the same large rock where one of the crew's belongings had been laid out after the crash as seen in a photograph taken in 1942
|Note the absence of trees for about 25 metres in front of the camera|
|Note the absence of trees in front of the camera|
|Another old burnt tree stump at the crash site (centre of picture)|
|Les Lewis standing in front of a large old tree stump at the crash site|
|The top of the above large burnt tree at the crash site|
Whittlesea Home Page
© Peter Dunn 2015
This page first produced 4 March 2000
This page last updated 15 September 2018