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RAAF February 1944
|Pilot WCdr William
Edwin Townsend, 170 (survived)
Gunner F/O David Mackinnon McClymont, 405491 (survived)
Crashed November 3, 1943
Built by Douglas. Assigned to the U. S. Army as A-20C-10-DO Havoc serial number 42-33211. Disassembled and shipped overseas to Australia arriving in September 1943.
During October 1943 delivered to the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) as Boston A28-29. Assigned to 22 Squadron. No known nose art or nickname. This aircraft flew at least three combat missions prior to crashing.
On November 3, 1943 one of five A-20s from 22 Squadron that took off from Vivigani Airfield on a strike mission with RAAF Beaufighters and P-40 Kittyhawks against Palmalmal Plantation near Jacquinot Bay. This bomber was leading the formation, and was observed to make a normal level attack as the formation went over the target in line abreast formation, meeting moderate anti-aircraft from light and medium guns. This bomber fell back in formation after dropping its bombs, it swung away emitted brown smoke and ditched into the sea near Sali, hitting the reef, causing the outer wings and upper fuselage to remain above water 50' from shore, but the crew were not seen at the crash and were declared Missing In Action (MIA).
Fates of the crew
In fact, both crew survived the crash and fled from the aircraft minutes before the Japanese arrived. While hiding in the jungle, they were assisted by local named Golpak. Later, the two were contacted by Australian coastwatcher in the area, Skinner and later taken to Major Robert's base on New Britain and awaited rescue. On February 5, 1944 USS Gato surfaced in Open Bay. The aviators were rescued in two groups, the first four American followed by the second group including Townsend and McClymont along with Fred Hargesheimer.
Gordon Manuel adds in 70,000 to One:
"We had gone out about fifty yards when one of the sailors spotted a signal from shore. It was dark now, but we could see a flashlight signaling. They turned the boat back to shore and rowed in the direction of the light. Three men were waiting for us - three men I had never seen before. They had been with Captain Stokey. They introduced themselves as Wing Commander Townsend, Flight Officer McClamont and Fred Hagershimer. The first two had been flying an A-20. When they had come down 'to do a bit of strafing' (as the Wing Commander expressed it) they had been shot down."
This aricraft is located 5-8m underwater off Sali.
The throttle column from this aircraft was recovered and is on display at Australian War Memorial (AWM) in aircraft hall.
Boston in service with Royal Australian Air Force
ADF Serials - Boston A28-29
Hostages to Freedom pages 238-239
22 Squadron Loss Report November 4, 1943
E&E Report No. 39 - William Edwin Townsend pages 1 - 6 plus appendix 1-4
E&E Report No. 36 - David M. McClymont page 1-5 plus appendix
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February 18, 2020
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