Part Four - Crashes
While I was stationed in Nowra in 1943, two Beaufort Bombers crashed at Jervis Bay, killing the crews in both aircraft. It was a very sad time, as I knew some of the crew by sight and others I had met at the dances. On the day of the crash, I saw Jack Norman and 'Titchy' Rex Solomon walking down to the runway, when I was on morning parade. They were laughing and joking and I can still picture them in my mind.
I have watched the newsreel many times on television and become rather tearful each time.
The following information is from this website where you can find more detailed reports on these incidents.
COLLISION OF TWO BEAUFORTS AT JERVIS BAY, NSW 14 APRIL 1943
Beaufort A9-268 hits the water while A9-27 falls towards Jervis Bay
and the third Beaufort pulls away to the left
On 14 April 1943, two Beauforts collided with each other over Jervis Bay. They were A9-27 and A9-268 from Base Torpedo at Nowra. They were carrying out a series of dummy runs and torpedo attacks on HMAS Burra-bra for a group of accredited War Correspondents on board the ship.
The accident was filmed by Fox Movietone News cameraman Eric Bieve and has been shown many times over the years. It also featured in the television documentary "This Fabulous Century". Flight Lieutenant David George Dey and his crew and Flying Officer Raymond Sydney Green and his crew were all killed.
The crew of A9-268: Flt Lt David George Dey (280627) - Pilot,
F/O Rex Lindsay Solomon (408149),
Sgt Hugh Sydney George Richardson (410093), F/O Jack Norman (407561) [far right],
photo supplied by Tony Norman (Jack’s son)
The following comment from Warren Bishop:
"I am sorry to have brought this up for you, as it was so tragic. However, I watched a documentary with an interview with Group Captain Bull Garing before he passed away a few years ago and he said that this was a common problem with Beaufort aircraft that, after this crash, he took it upon himself to find the answer. They disassembled a Beaufort at RAAF Base East Sale and found the problem in the elevator trim tab motor, which caused it to run to full travel uncommanded, further causing the elevator to deflect full travel too quickly for the pilot to recover. In this film, the right hand aircraft collides with the middle aircraft, causing the horizontal stabilizor to detach from the middle aircraft and the right hand aircraft damaged it's left aileron, causing both to lose control. Once Garing isolated the problem, it was fixed on all Beaufort aircraft around the world."
DITCHING of ARVO ANSON AT JERVIS BAY, NSW MAY 1943
Wreckage of an Avro Anson aircraft (possibly no. NJ141) of No. 73 Squadron RAAF floating in the water 20 nautical miles east of Jervis Bay. The aircraft continued to float until sunk by naval gunfire. It had made a forced landing due to engine failure. The crew, who were not injured, were picked up by a naval escort and taken to Sydney. A message from the pilot received by other patrol aircraft of the squadron via lamp through the naval escort was `Tell my wife not to keep dinner. I'm going to Sydney with the Navy'.
CRASH of ARVO ANSON AT JERVIS BAY, NSW SEPT 1943
Crash of an Avro Anson at Pigeon House Mountain, near Ulladulla, New South Wales
on 9 September 1943 killing all three crew members
One of our Equipment Officers with some airman had to go there to recover the bodies and perform other duties. As he was rather overweight and in my opinion not really fit, I do not know how he managed to get there, seeing the terrain in these photos.