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  B-24L-5-CO "Old Nick" Serial Number A72-80  
No. 24 Squadron

Former Assignment

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RAAF March 23, 1945
Pilot  S/L Nathaniel Herbert Straus, 250759 (KIA, BR) East Malvern, VIC
2nd Pilot  F/SGT Harry James Boyd, 427775 (MIA / KIA) Pomborneit North, VIC
Bombardier  F/Lt Charles David Parry-Okeden, 404485 (KIA, BR) Redcliffe, QLD
Navigator/Bombardier  F/O Raymond Allenby Whiting, 426733 (MIA / KIA) Ascot, QLD
WO/Gunner  F/O John Wilson Hursthouse, 416215 (MIA / KIA) Toorak Gardens, SA
WO/Gunner  W/O William Richard Flanagan, 401748 (MIA / KIA) Warrandyte, VIC
Gunner  W/O Herbert Gordon Parker, 408591 (MIA / KIA) Broadbeach, QLD
Gunner  F/SGT John Richmond Ryan, 422716 (MIA / KIA) Bondi, NSW
Gunner  F/Sgt William Anthony Jordon Rodgers, 436889 (KIA, BR)
Gunner  Sgt Alexander Douglas Whitehead, 121592 (MIA / KIA) Jervois, SA
Engineer  F/SGT Ronald Malcolm Morris, 46563 (MIA / KIA) Wagin, WA
Passenger  Cpl Douglas William Madden, 36484 (MIA / KIA) Carlton, NSW
Crashed  March 23, 1945 at 7:13am

Aircraft History
Built by Consolidated at San Diego. Constructors Number 5386. Delivered to the U.S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as B-24L-5-CO Liberator serial number 44-41450. Ferried overseas via Hickam Field then across the Pacific to arriving June 10, 1944 in Australia.

Wartime History
Assigned to the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) as Liberator A72-80. Assigned to 7 Operational Training Unit (7 OTU). Nicknamed "Old Nick". On December 1, 1944 assigned to No. 24 Squadron and four days later arrived at Truscott Airfield.

Mission History
On March 23, 1945 at 6:50am took off from Truscott Airfield piloted by S/L Nathaniel H. Straus as one of four Liberators on an armed shipping sweep. This Liberator turned back to base after experiencing a problem and attempted to ditch but instead crashed into Vansittart Bay off Western Australia. When this aircraft failed to return it was officially listed as Missing In Action (MIA).b

Recovery of Remains
After the crash, the bodies of three of the crew were recovered. Rogers on March 23, Straus on March 29 and Parry-Okeden on March 31.

The entire crew was officially declared dead the day of the mission. The three recovered crew members are buried at Adelaide River War Cemetery. Rodgers at C.D.2. Straus at G.D.15. Parry-Okeden at G.D.13.

The rest of the crew is memorialized at Adelaide River War Cemetery on the Northern Territory Memorial panel 6 Whiting, Boyd, panel 7 Hursthouse, panel 8 Flanagan, Broadbeach, Whitehead, panel 9 Ryan, Morris and panel 11 Madden.

USAF Serial Number Search Results - B-24L-5-CO Liberator 44-41450
"41450 to RAAF as A72-80 - w/o in crash 3-45."
No. 24 Squadron Operations Log March 23, 1945:
"Shortly after take off, S/Ldr Straus called Truscott tower on V.H.F. indicating that he was preparing for an emergency landing. Owing to low altitude it was apparent that S/Ldr Straus could not locate the strip. For 23 minutes after take off the aircraft was airborne and during this time various messages from the aircraft were received by Truscott tower and V.H.F. homing and by the remainder of the aircraft in the formation. None of these messages informed the exact cause of the distress but all that was received was that the aircraft could not gain height. At 0713 hours a message was received that S/Ldr Straus was about to ditch in Vansittart Bay. Following this the crews of the remaining three aircraft saw A72-80 ditch with wings level but at a fairly high rate of descent. The aircraft caught fire on impact with the water and disintegrated."
ADF Serials - Liberator A72-80
CWGC - Nathaniel Herbert Straus
CWGC - Harry James Boyd
CWGC - Charles David Parry-Okeden
CWGC - Raymond Allenby Whiting
CWGC - John Wilson Hursthouse
CWGC - William Richard Flanagan
CWGC - Herbert Gordon Parker
CWGC - John Richmond Ryan
CWGC - William Anthony Jordon Rodgers
CWGC - Alexander Douglas Whitehead
CWGC - Ronald Malcolm Morris
CWGC - Douglas William Madden
Thanks to Daniel Leahy and David J. Hursthouse for additional information

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Last Updated
February 18, 2020


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