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Mark Reichman 2007
|Pilot F/Lt Kenneth James Erwin, 261863 (MIA / KIA) Leichhardt, NSW
Crew P/O Eric Lyle McLauchlan, 405644 (MIA / KIA) Northgate, QLD
Crew Sgt James Watt Simpson, 400570 (MIA / KIA) Albert Park, VIC
Crew Sgt Ian Munro Barwick, 5810 (MIA / KIA) Parramatta, NSW
Crashed March 4, 1942
Built by Lockheed Aircraft Corporation (LAC) in Burbank. Constructor Number 6094. Delivered to the U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as A-29-LO Hudson serial number 41-23277. Disassembled and shipped to Australia and reassembled.
On September 27, 1941 delivered to the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) as Hudson Mark IIIa serial number A16-165. On January 8, 1942 assigned to 2 Air Depot (2AD). On January 24, 1942 assigned to No. 23 Squadron. Next, on February 23, 1942. assigned to No. 32 Squadron.
On March 3, 1942 at 8:30pm took off from 7-Mile Drome near Port Moresby piloted by F/Lt Kenneth J. Erwin on a night bombing mission over Gasmata Airfield on New Britain arriving on March 4, 1942 after midnight. When this aircraft failed to return it was officially listed as Missing In Action (MIA). Also lost was Hudson A16-101 (MIA). Afterwards, the loss of this Hudson was attributed to a tropical storm. In fact, this Hudson reached the target area and crashed onto Urai Island off Gasmata.
During 1946, a RAAF Searcher Team led by S/L Keith Rundle located the wreckage of this Hudson on Urai Island near Gasmata and recovered the remains of the crew.
On May 6, 2007, Mark Reichman visited the wreck site of a Hudson on Avurai Island. Based on the type of engine - GR1820-G205A - the wreck was determined to be a Hudson Mark III, and most likely the wreck of A16-165.
The entire crew was officially declared dead the day of the mission. After the recovery of remains, the entire crew was buried at Bita Paka War Cemetery. Erwin at H. B. 16. McLauchlan at F. C. 10. Simpson at F. C. 9. Barwick at F. C. 8.
USAF Serial Number Search Results - A-29-LO Hudson 41-23277
"23277 (BW415) to Australia as A16-165. MIA Gasmata Mar 3, 1942 while with 32 Sqdn."
ADF Serials - Hudson A16-165
CWGC - Kenneth James Erwin
CWGC - Eric Lyle McLauchlan
CWGC - James Watt Simpson
CWGC - Ian Munro Barwick
Thanks to Mark Reichman and Daniel Leahy for additional information
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March 3, 2021
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