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  Bristol Beaufighter Mark Ic Serial Number A19-47  
31 Squadron

Pilot  F/Lt Francis Joseph Gardiner, 407575 (MIA / KIA) South Broken Hill, NSW
Navigator  F/O Lewis John Lyne, 13986 (MIA / KIA) Carlton, VIC

Crashed  August 21, 1943

Aircraft History
Built by Bristol in the United Kingdom. Assigned Royal Air Force (RAF) serial number T5053. On March 21, 1942 disassembled and shipped as cargo from the United Kingdom to Australia.

Wartime History
In early June 1942 delivered to the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) as Beaufighter serial number A19-47. On June 7, 1942 reassembled by 1 Air Depot (1 AD). On October 13, 1942 assigned to No. 31 Squadron.

On May 19, 1943 took off piloted by F/O David W. B. Delaporte, 407573 on a mission against Penfoei and over the target was damaged by anti-aircraft fire but returned to base. On June 6, 1943 assigned to 14 ARD for repairs and on August 14, 1943 returned to No. 31 Squadron.

Mission History
On August 21, 1943 took off piloted by F/Lt Francis J. Gardiner as one of seven Beaufighters on a strike mission against Taberfane Seaplane Base in the Aru Islands (Aroe). During the strike, Beaufighter A19-63 and Beaufighter A19-47 made a converging attack, diving from 2,500' on a biplane type floatplane (F1M2 Pete) which had just become airborne. The starboard wing of A19-63 collided with the port wing of Beaufighter A19-47. Both wings broke off and engines caught fire, with both aircraft crashing into the sea in flames approximately 3,000' to 4,000' off Taberfane.

When this aircraft failed to return it was officially listed as Missing In Action (MIA).

During 1946, a RAAF Searcher Team led by F/Lt O'Shea reported:
"No definite news either of these aircraft - Native report that Australian aircraft crashed into bay at Taberfane date unknown may refer to [these] aircraft."

Both crew members were officially declared dead the day of the mission. Both crew are memorialized at the Ambon War Cemetery on the Ambon Memorial, panel 8.

ADF Serials - Beaufighter A19-47
WW2 Nominal Roll - David W. B. Delaporte, 407573
WW2 Nominal Roll - Francis Joseph Gardiner, 407575
WW2 Nominal Roll - Lewis John Lyne, 13986
CWCG - Francis Joseph Gardiner
CWGC - Lewis John Lyne
Aviation Heritage - Francis Joseph Gardiner (photo)
Aviation Heritage - Lewis John Lyne (photo)

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Last Updated
January 27, 2020


Tech Info

2 Missing
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