1648 hrs AEST, 7th September 1943 Catalina Flying Boat A24-52 based in Cairns with 11 Squadron RAAF, crashed whilst attempting to land in rough conditions in Cleveland Bay, Townsville, offshore from Kissing Point. Of the nineteen on board, thirteen crew and passengers were killed, making this one of the worst air crashes the RAAF has experienced.
THOSE WHO LOST THEIR LIVES
FLTLT Charles J. Miles, RAAF 405317 – Captain – 11SQN
FLTLT William John Canterbury, RAAF 400037 – Pilot – 11SQN
FLGOFF Ronald Irvine Ferguson, RAAF 402496 – Pilot – 11SQN
FLGOFF Gordon John Robert Hockey, RAAF 411089 – Navigator – 11SQN
FLGOFF Reginald Albert Weeks, RAAF 420317 – Wireless Operator/Air Gunner – 11SQN
FSGT Bernard Victor McInerney, RAAF 420585 – Wireless Operator/Air Gunner – 11SQN
CPL William Richard George Lobb, RAAF, 61254 – Fitter 11E – 11SQN
SQNLDR Leo Mathew Hogan, RAAF 281940 – Passenger
FLGOFF Charles Harry Ratcliffe, RAAF 119559 – Personal Assistant to Air Commodore Cobby
SQNLDR John Vernon Angus, RAAF 252693 – Passenger
FLTLT Frank Haighton Lord, RAAF 252297 – Passenger
FLTLT William Archie Wilkinson, RAAF 3418 – Passenger
PLTOFF Beresford Frederick Shearman, RAAF 423181 – Passenger
SGT Maxwell Burnett Dore, RAAF 23699 – Fitter 11E – 11SQN
CPL Ronald Colin Smith, RAAF 22211 – Fitter 11A – 11SQN
CPL Albert Leslie Fowler, RAAF 62546 – Armourer – 11SQN
AIRCDRE Arthur Henry Cobby – Air Officer Commanding North Eastern Area
WGCDR Bruce Panton Macfarlan 260105
WGCDR Willem Lodewyk Bosschart Stephens 1175
THEY WILL BE REMEMBERED – LEST WE FORGET
The deceased are buried in Townsville War Cemetery, Belgian Gardens.
Catalina Flying Boat A24-52 was returning to North East Area Headquarters, Townsville from Merauke, Dutch New Guinea after a flight seeking locations in New Guinea to establish a base for a Catalina squadron. On board, in addition to the crew and headquarters` staff, were three passengers who had arranged a lift back to Townsville. Whilst landing, the plan struck a large wave, causing the bow to collapse and exploding either one or both depth charges carried.
The loss of Catalina A24-52 was the worst RAAF crash, in and around Townsville, during the years of World War Two. There were over two hundered Allied air crashes in this area resulting in the loss of hundreds of lives.
It is here that we give thanks and remember these gallant men and women of the RAAF.
This memorial has been erected by the Townsville City Council for the families and friends, in memory of those who placed their lives at risk during World War II, 1939 – 1945