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  Vultee Vengeance Mark IA Serial Number A27-49  
RAAF
1 APU

Pilot  P/O Ralph Langley Erskine, 419119 (KIA, BR) Box Hill, VIC
Crew  F/O Kenneth Alexander Wood, 419363 (KIA, BR) West Footscray, VIC
Crew  Sgt Philip West, 41360
(KIA, BR) Christmas Hills, VIC
Crashed  May 25, 1944


Aircraft History
Built by Vultee in Los Angeles. Assigned Royal Air Force (RAF) serial number EZ937 and was intended for use by the British but instead shipped across the Pacific to Australia.

Wartime History
On April 24, 1943 delivered to Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) as Vengeance Mark IA serial number A27-49. Reassembled by No. 1 Air Depot (1 AD) and assigned to No. 21 Squadron for a short time before being received at No. 1 Aircraft Performance Unit (1 APU) at Laverton Airfield.

Mission History
On May 25, 1944 took off from Laverton Airfield piloted by P/O R L Erskine with Vengeance A27-92 on a ferry flight via Wagga Wagga Airfield bound for Bowen Airfield. At around 11:50am, both aircraft collided in midair and the crews of both were killed. The wreckage of both aircraft landed on Mount Disappointment approximately six miles north of Whittlesea.

Wreckage
Today, both aircraft can still be found at their respective sites, though it is impossible at this stage to determine what wreckage is from which aircraft.

Recovery of Remains
After the crash, the remains of the crew were recovered.

Memorial
The entire crew was officially declared dead the day of the mission. All are buried at Springvale War Cemetery. Erskine at 1.R.B.5. Wood at 1.R.B.3. West at 1.R.B.9.

References
ADF Serials - Vengeance A27-49
CWGC - Ralph Langley Erskine
CWGC - Kenneth Alexander Wood
CWGC - Philip West

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Last Updated
June 29, 2019

 

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