Accident Avro Anson Mk I AW878, 15 Feb 1944
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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 145137
 
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Date:15-FEB-1944
Time:
Type:Silhouette image of generic ANSN model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
Avro Anson Mk I
Owner/operator:2 AOS RAAF
Registration: AW878
MSN:
Fatalities:Fatalities: 4 / Occupants: 4
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:off Lady Julia Percy Island, Victoria -   Australia
Phase: En route
Nature:Training
Departure airport:Mount Gambier
Destination airport:Mount Gambier
Confidence Rating: Information is only available from news, social media or unofficial sources
Narrative:
On 15 February 1944, the Avro Anson I AW878 of 2 Air Observer's School (2 AOS) RAAF took off from Mount Gambier airfield in South Australia at 0800 hrs to carry out a radius of action navigation exercise. They were to fly from Mount Gambier to Douglas Point, radius of action to Lady Julia Percy Island, radius of action to Douglas Point and then back to Mount Gambier. Aboard were four men: the pilot, Flt Sgt Sergeant James Henry MacLellan, an instructor, Flt Sgt Dennis Leslie Baulderstone, and two student observers, LAC Norman Thomas Kruck and LAC Brian Carter Ladyman.

No radio contact was made with the aircraft but it was seen over Douglas Point by the pilot of one of the other aircraft engaged in the formal exercise. Endeavours were made continuously to contact the aircraft from 0830 hrs but were unsuccessful. At 1230 hrs the aircraft had not returned to base, and overdue signals were sent out. At 1300 hrs a search was carried out over the route of the exercise and at 1430 hrs part of the mainplane of the aircraft was sighted on Lady Julia Percy Island. This island lies 12 kilometres south-south-west of Yambuk, and 22 kilometres south-west of Port Fairy. It is about 2 kilometres in length by 1 kilometre wide, comprising a plateau in height from 32–46 metres above sea level, surrounded by cliffs, rock platforms and reefs.

A fishing boat searched in the vicinity of the island that evening and passed through small pieces of wreckage strewn over about 3 miles. A further search by boat was carried out the next morning in the same area which resulted in the recovery from the sea and the island of the port and starboard wing tips, the port aileron, the door to the gunner's cockpit, portion of a main spar, the top cover of a fuel tank bay and a Mae West. The top cover of the fuel tank bay had the number AW878 in pencil on the underneath side and the Mae West was identified as having been drawn and signed for by Flight Sergeant MacLellan on 15 February 1944. The bodies of the 4 crew members were never located.

A Court of Inquiry into this tragic accident was held on 18 February 1944.

A memorial stone and bronze plaque remembering this tragic accident was unveiled at The Crags Car Park overlooking Lady Julia Percy Island on 14 February 2015. The wreck sits in about 12 metres of water on the western side of Lady Julia Percy Island.

Sources:

Casualty file of Dennis Leslie Baulderstone (available online on the Australian Archives website, https://recordsearch.naa.gov.au/SearchNRetrieve/Interface/ViewImage.aspx?B=1062153)
https://www.ozatwar.com/ozcrashes/vic181.htm
https://monumentaustralia.org.au/themes/conflict/ww2/display/104594-avro-anson-aw-878
https://vwma.org.au/explore/memorials/1578
https://www.scubadoctor.com.au/divesite.htm?site=Avro-Anson-AW-878
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lady_Julia_Percy_Island
http://wikimapia.org/#lang=en&lat=-38.425000&lon=142.000000&z=12&m=w


Revision history:

Date/timeContributorUpdates
18-Apr-2012 14:13 Dr. John Smith Added
21-Aug-2014 15:55 craigb Updated [Narrative]
27-Dec-2018 22:27 Nepa Updated [Operator, Nature, Operator]
15-Feb-2022 13:34 Laurent Rizzotti Updated [Date, Location, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Narrative]

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