|Pilot F/O Harold Maurice Woodroffe, 407542 (MIA / KIA) Wagga Wagga, NSW
Observer F/Sgt John Livingstone Brooks, 43250 (MIA / KIA) Wollongong, NSW
Crashed September 5, 1943
Built by Bristol in the United Kingdom. Assigned Royal Air Force (RAF) serial number T4997. Disassembled and shipped overseas to Australia and reassembled.
Delivered to the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) as Beaufighter serial number A19-33. On May 11, 1942 assigned to 1 Air Depot (1 AD). On February 28, 1942 assigned to 5 Air Depot (5 AD) to repair fractures from firing the 20mm cannons. On March 3, 1942 assigned to 30 Squadron with fuselage code "Q" painted in white forward of the roundel. Returned to 30 Squadron after repairs on May 29, 1942.
On September 5, 1943 one of two aircraft that took off on a mission to attack Cape Gloucester Airfield. Over the target, hit by anti-aircraft fire in the right engine. Departing the target area, Beaufighter A19-33 was seen by the accompanying aircraft trailing a long intermittent plume of smoke from the right engine. After reaching Borgen Bay, the aircraft turned inland and crashed into the jungle with a large fire seen burning in the undergrowth.
During December 1946, a RAAF Searcher Team in New Britain discontinued searching. Beaufighter A19-133 crashed to the west of this approximate site. At the time, the RAAF thought they had made a typo with one of the serials, and stopped looking for this site. No trace of this aircraft has ever been found.
During September 2007, this crash was visited by the RAAF Searcher Team including Greg Williams looking for remains of the crew. They found the burned crash site, but failed to locate any remains of the crew.
Both crew were officially declared dead the day of the mission. Both are memorialized at Bita Paka War Cemetery on the Rabaul Memorial as having "no known grave". Woodroffe on panel 34. Brooks on panel 35.
CWGC - Harold Maurice Woodroffe
John Livingstone Brooks
RAAF Searcher Team Report by S/L Rundle
Beaufighters In The Pacific page 108
ADF Serials - Beaufighter A19-33
RAAFDB - Beaufighter A19-33
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April 23, 2019