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  DAP Beaufort Mark VIII Serial Number A9-557 Code QH-L
RAAF
100 Squadron

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RAAF January 20, 1945

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Justin Taylan 2000

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John Buford 2001

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Daniel Leahy 2003
Pilot  F/L Harry John Fowler, 415636 (survived) Cottesloe, WA
Crew  F/L Francis Owen Smith, 422062 (survived) Kempsey, NSW
Crew  F/L John William Shipman, 422085 (survived) Bexley, NSW
Crew  F/O Arthur Geoffrey Waite, 406817 (survived) Bullsbrook, WA
Crashed  January 20, 1945


Aircraft History
Built by the Department of Aircraft Production (DAP) at Fishermans Bend in Melbourne. On January 4, 1944 delivered to the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) as Beaufort Mark VIII serial number A9-557.

Wartime History
During January 1944 assigned to No. 100 Squadron with code QH-L painted in white on both sides of the fuselage. No known nickname or nose art.

In November 1944, this Beaufort suffered an electrical fault which resulted in the nose being replaced with the nose from Beaufort A9-461. During January 1945 returned to No. 100 Squadron and began operating from Tadji Airfield.

On January 11, 1945 at 3:48pm took off from Tadji Airfield piloted by F/L Crisp on an anti-submarine patrol of area "A" without results and landed at 8:30pm.

On January 15, 1945 at 12:02pm took off from Tadji Airfield piloted by F/O Scott armed with bombs on a bombing and strafing mission against the Selena area and landed at 1:31pm.

On January 17, 1945 at 12:16pm took off from from Tadji Airfield piloted by F/O Fowler as one of eight Beauforts on a bombing mission against a truck concentration on Cape Moem and landed at 1:46pm.

On January 18, 1945 at 3:35pm took off from Tadji Airfield piloted by F/L Fowler armed with bombs as one of nine Beauforts on a bombing mission against Cape Moem and landed at 5:04pm.

On January 19, 1945 at 9:41am took off from Tadji Airfield piloted by F/L Fowler armed with bombs as one of six Beauforts on a bombing mission against Cape Moem. Afterwards, this Beaufort conducts a low level reconnaissance of the Cape Moem peninsula then landed at 11:55am.

In total, this Beaufort flew 103 combat missions flying a total of 126 hours, 26 minutes and dropped a total of 146,000 pounds of bombs over targets in New Guinea.

Mission History
On January 20, 1945 at 10:03am took off from Tadji Airfield piloted by F/L Harry J. Fowler armed with bombs on a bombing mission against Elimi [Emul?]. At 11:36am while landing at Tadji Airfield, ran off the runway then collided with three jeeps and a buildings killing one person on the ground but none of the air crew aboard were injured.

During the crash, the Beaufort sustained damage to the left propeller, wing, landing gear. Also damaged was the right wing, landing gear and the fuselage. Afterwards, allotted to 12 Repair Salvage Unit (12 RSU) and approval given for it to be converted to components and was written off and abandoned in a boneyard area.

Wreckage
Until 1974, this Beaufort remained in situ in a boneyard area at Tadji Airfield. In 1974, salvaged by Charles Darby and Monty Armstrong during a recovery operation funded by David Tallichet (Yesterday's Air Force / MACR). This aircraft was moved to the beach with other recovered aircraft and loaded onto a barge then shipped to Lae then exported to Victoria, Australia by Ian Whitney and shipped to the United States to Yesterday's Air Force / MACR and stored at Chino Airport.

During 1991 purchased by Robert Greinert / HARS and transported to Sydney and stored until traded to the Australian War Memorial (AWM). During 1997, transported to AWM Treloar Technology Centre.

Restoration
The nose section was sold or traded to RAF Hendon where it is being used with a number of other RAAF Beaufort parts recovered from Tadji Airfield in the restoration of Beaufort DD931.

During 1997 until 2003, this Beaufort (minus the original nose section) was restored to static condition by the Australian War Memorial (AWM).

The wing center section and part of the fuselage was sent to HARS for restoration. Used in the restoration is the tail section of Beaufort A9-639. The rear fuselage was trucked to Brisbane for repairs work completed by the Beaufort Restoration Group during early 2002. During 2000, the nose section of Beaufort A9-152 was acquired from the Moorabbin Air Museum for this restoration. During 2001, Robert Greinert / HARS recovered additional parts from Tadji Airfield.

By November 2002, all pieces were returned to Canberra and reassembled. On March 28, 2003 this Beaufort was officially unveiled at Australian War Memorial (AWM) in ANZAC Hall.

Storage
Afterwards, this Beaufort was placed into storage at Treloar Technology Centre (AWM Annex).

References
Afterwards, the crew aboard this Beaufort were Killed In Action (KIA) March 13, 1945 aboard Beaufort A9-650.
NAA "Operations Record Book (ORB) Number 100 Squadron - January 20, 1945" (NAA: A9186, 123 page 407, 409-410)
(Page 407) "11/1/45: A9-557 F/L Crisp 1548 2030 A/S Patrol Area 'A' Completed and negative."
(Page 408) "15/1/45: 447 F/O Scott 1202 1331 Bomb Selena and Area."
(Page 409) "18/1/45 557 F/L Fowler 1535 1704 Strike Cape Moem. 9 Beauforts
19/1/45: 557 F/L Fowler 0941 1155 Strike Cape Moem, after bombing A9-557 carry out low level recce Cape Moem Peninsula."
(Page 410) "20/1/45: 557 F/L Fowler 1003 1136 Bomb Elimi. A9-557 pranged [crashed] after landing 1136K 20/1/45."
ADF Serials - Beaufort A9-557
Pacific Aircraft Wrecks page 24 (upper right) 64 (middle left)
The Unveiling of Beaufort A9-557 by Daniel Leahy
Dedication of Beaufort A9-557 at Australian War Memorial by Robert Greinert
AWM - Beaufort Mk VIII Bomber A9-557 REL/20173
"Details of damage to A9-557 as recorded on a/c History card: ran off strip and collided with M/T vehicles and wood and iron building vicinity Tadji. A/c 40% (R), Port Airscrew 60% (R), Port Wing 60% (R), Port undercarriage 70% (R), S/b airscrew 40% (R), Starboard wing (U), S/b undercarriage 60% (R), Fuselage front 60% (R), Fuselage Rear 50%, Centre section 60% (R), Instrument panel 5% (R), Remainder of A/c (U), airframe and engines repairable.

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Last Updated
January 20, 2020

 

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