The Royal Australian Air Force has completed a search and recovery mission in Indonesia for 10 Australian airmen aboard Catalina A24-50, 76 years after the aircraft failed to return from a wartime mission.
FILE PHOTO: A Catalina graces the sky during 2009’s 70th Anniversary celebrations for RAAF’s 10 and 11 Squadrons. Photo by Leading Aircraftman Leigh Cameron.
INSET: Air gunner Sergeant Melville Tyrrell, lost with A24-50 in 1943.
A24-50 was reported missing on 2 September 1943 while on a sea mining operation to Sorong in occupied Dutch New Guinea.
The wreckage of the RAAF No 11 Squadron Catalina was located near Fakfak in West Papua in April 2018.
When she went missing, the crew of A24-50 consisted of…
Captain: F/O James Oliver, RAAF 401660
2nd Pilot: F/O Edward Carrington-Smith, RAAF 408042
3rd Pilot: F/O John Amess, RAAF 403794
Navigator: P/O Edward Howe, RAAF 423121
Air Gunner: Cpl Alexander Burns, RAAF 11000
Air Gunner: Cpl Ian Penrose, RAAF 26974
W/AG: P/O Athol Boyd, RAAF 423606
W/AG: Sgt Richard Hobbs, RAAF 415983
Air Gunner: Sgt Melville Tyrrell, RAAF 23771
Air Gunner: LAC Alexander Crouch, RAAF 23560
Minister for Veterans and Defence Personnel Darren Chester said the Air Force Unrecovered War Casualties team positively identified the missing aircraft during a reconnaissance mission to the crash site last year.
“We are committed to honouring the service and sacrifice of Australian military personnel from all theatres of war,” Mr Chester said.
“The RAAF team has concluded further search activities in the field and have reported finding a number of items of interest which require further testing in order to confirm the origin of each item.
“The only major recognisable pieces of wreckage were two sections of the wing, engines and propeller, and the empennage (rear part of fuselage) across the top of a ridge.
“We are very grateful for the support and assistance provided by the Indonesian Air Force throughout this process, without which this work could not take place.”