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No. 32 Squadron
No. 14 Squadron
Mark Reichman 2007
Mark Reichman 2010
|Pilot F/O Arthur Renfred Nicolay, 406013 (MIA / KIA) Victoria Park, WA
Crew Sgt Mark Richard Korbosky, 406721 (MIA / KIA) Perth, WA
Crew Sgt William Ian Cass, 406432 (MIA / KIA) Kalgoorlie, WA
Crew Sgt William Hodgson Coppin, 406773 (MIA / KIA) Kalgoorlie, WA
Crashed March 4, 1942 around 12:30am
Built by Lockheed Aircraft Corporation (LAC) in Burbank. Constructors Number 6030. On September 13, 1941 Delivered to the U.S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as A-28-LO Hudson serial number 41-23171. Disassembled and shipped overseas to Australia and reassembled.
Assigned to the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) as Hudson serial number A16-101. On December 4, 1941 assigned to the 2nd Air Depot (2 AD). On December 28, 1941 assigned to No. 14 Squadron. Next, on February 19, 1942 assigned to 32 Squadron.
On March 2, 1942 took off from 7-Mile Drome near Port Moresby on a high altitude reconnaissance mission over Rabaul and encounters heavy anti-aircraft fire over Simpson Harbor.
On March 3, 1942 at 8:00am departs 7-Mile Drome and landed at Horn Island Airfield likely, this movement saved it from being caught on the ground at Port Moresby during a Japanese air raid in the afternoon. Later that afternoon, departs Horn Island Airfield and returns to 7-Mile Drome at 6:15pm.
On March 3, 1942 at 8:30pm took off from 7-Mile Drome as one of five Hudsons on a night bombing mission over Gasmata Airfield. On March 4, 1942 around midnight until 12:30am, this bomber made request for direction finding bearings from Port Moresby. When this aircraft failed to return it was officially declared Missing In Action (MIA).
Afterwards, It was believed this Hudson may have tried to fly through a tropical storm and might have crashed on New Britain. In fact, this aircraft reached the target area and crashed onto a coral reef off Gasmata. Also lost was Hudson A16-165 (MIA).
During 1945, a RAAF Searcher Team led by S/L Keith Rundle located the wreckage of a Hudson off Gasmata. Initially he (incorrectly) believed this may have been the wreckage of Hudson A16-126, locals advised that it crashed at the same time as Hudson A16-165. Though never being positively identified, it is believed by elimination to be the wreckage of A16-101. No human remains were found. After Hudson A16-126 was discovered May 8, 2008 it eliminated it as a possibility for this wreck, and further confirms this wreck is indeed Hudson A16-101.
Mark Reichman adds:
"It looks to me that those Hudsons come straight down and the cockpits break all apart. With the engine now totally covered in coral, it would be a miracle I think to find any remains. I'd still like to explore around that reef though. There is a complete port wing in 20' of water that I tried to flip but need heavier equipment as it's glued to the bottom but in excellent shape. I'm hoping the numbers are on the bottom side and able to confirm which plane it is. That object in the distance that looks like an "X" I thought to be an inner support bracing for the back section of the fuselage."
In May 2011, Mark Reichman guided family members of William Coppin, daughter Raewyn Pianta and grandson Drewe Vincent visited the wreckage on May 27, 2011. Afterwards, the family member group visited Bita Paka Cemetery to view their names on the Rabaul Memorial.
The entire crew was officially declared dead on March 4, 1942. All are memorialized at Bita Paka Cemetery on the Rabaul Memorial. Nicolay on panel 34. Korbosky, Cass and Coppin on panel 36.
Drewe Vincent (grandson of William Coppin)
Raewyn Pianta (daughter of William Coppin)
"My father was married a week when he went missing."
USAF Serial Number Search Results - A-28-LO 41-23171
"23171 to Australia as A16-101. Missing on ops Mar 7, 1942 with 32 Sqdn."
ADF Serials - Hudson A16-101
RAAF Status Card - Hudson A16-101
Thanks to Daniel Leahy and Mark Reichman for additional information
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March 3, 2021
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