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Clifford Grove c1943
|Pilot Flight Lt. Philip Courtney Mullens, 402249 (KIA, BR) Pymble, NSW
Gunner FSgt Austin James Collins, 400871 (KIA, BR) Black Rock, VIC
Crew Sgt Norman Henry Saill, 33313 (KIA, BR) Wallangarra, QLD
Crew LAC John Eames Moore, 20932 (KIA, BR) North Sydney, NSW
Crashed June 1, 1943 at 11:15am
Built by Douglas. Constructors Number 2748. Assigned Royal Air Force (RAF) serial number AL367. At the factory, painted in RAF markings and camouflage. No known U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) serial number was allocated.
This Boston was one of twenty-two Bostons from the RAF production that were instead allocated to the Netherlands East Indies Air Force (NEIAF) and over painted with the markings of the Kon Marine (Dutch Navy). Disassembled and shipped overseas bound for the Netherlands East Indies. After the fall of Java while still in transit, diverted to Australia.
During March 1942, delivered to the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) as DB-7B Boston serial number A28-13. Assigned to 22 Squadron. Coded "O". Nicknamed "Rocky's Girl" with the nose art of a blonde woman wearing a dress on the left side of the nose below the cockpit. A row of bomb markings above indicated at least 23 combat missions flown.
On June 1, 1943 at 10:05am took off from 5 Mile Drome (Wards) near Port Moresby piloted by Flight Lt. Philip Courtney Mullens on a mission to test the guns and wireless transmitter. According to eye witnesses, this aircraft was nose down conducting mock strafing run against a coral reef when it struck the sea at approximately 11:15am near Hood Point off the southern coast of New Guinea. The sky was overcast and the water was glassy smooth, suggesting that the pilot mistook his height when conducting the run. The entire crew were killed on impact.
Recovery of Remains
Nearby, Hood Point villagers witnessed the crash and swam out to the wreckage and recovered the bodies of the crew from a depth of approximately 18' underwater. Afterwards, they were transported aboard an aircraft from Hula Airfield (Hood Point Airfield) to Port Moresby the next day and buried on June 2. 1943 at Bomana War Cemetery.
The entire crew was officially declared dead the day of the mission. The entire crew is buried at Bomana War Cemetery. Collins at A1. D. 20. Mullens at A1. D. 21. Saill at A1. D. 22. Moore at A1. D. 23.
Boston in service with Royal Australian Air Force
ADF Serials - Boston A28-13
CWGC - Philip Courtney Mullens
CWGC - Austin James Collins
CWGC - Norman Henry Saill
CWGC - John Eames Moore
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March 3, 2021
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