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  CA-8 Wirraway Serial Number A20-410 Code BF-N
No. 5 Squadron

Former Assignments
1 AD
13 ARD

Pilot  F/Lt Gilbert "Gil" R. I. Cory, 404387 (survived) Grafton, NSW
Observer   F/O William "Bill" H. Tucker, 434378 (survived) Childers, QLD
Crashed  December 25, 1944 at 11:25am

Aircraft History
Built by Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation (CAC) in Melbourne. Constructor Number 612. Delivered to the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) as CA-8 Wirraway serial number A20-410.

Wartime History
On October 31, 1941 assigned to 1 Air Depot (1 AD). On November 11, 1941 assigned to No. 5 Service Flying Training School (5 SFTS) at Uranquinty Airfield. On January 29, 1942 took off piloted by F/O Lynn R. Brown with observer Sgt R. N. Milligan on a flight an suffered an engine failure and force landed one mile west of Wadonga Railway Station in Wadonga, VIC. Both crew were uninjured in the landing. Afterwards, recovered and repaired.

On October 12, 1942 returned to Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation (CAC) for dive bombing modifications. On November 7, 1942 returned to 5 SFTS. On January 30, 1943 assigned to No. 5 Squadron. No known nickname or nose art. During July 1943 code BF-N. On October 24, 1943 assigned to 13 ARD. On April 6, 1944 returned to 5 Squadron. On June 16, 1944 returned to 13 ARD the on November 8, 1944 back to 5 Squadron. During December 1944 flown to Bougainville and operated from Piva North Airfield (Piva Uncle) flying tactical reconnaissance, artillery support missions and as escorts for RNZAF F4U Corsairs.

Mission History
On December 25, 1944 at 10:45am took off from Piva North Airfield (Piva Uncle) on Bougainville off piloted by F/Lt Gilbert "Gil" R. I. Cory with observer F/O William "Bill" H. Tucker with three storepedos under the wings for a supply drop to Australian Army troops behind enemy lines on Bougainville. Inside each storepedo was food, cigarettes and other gifts contributed by No. 5 Squadron personnel as a good will mission on Christmas Day for the troops on the ground. During the flight, this aircraft suffered a drop in boost (down to 15 lbs) and stall-crash landed on a 60' x 30' ledge on a mountain by making a stall landing at 11:25am. The crash was in the jungle in the Jaba River Valley area.

When this aircraft failed to return, two searches were flown by No. 5 Squadron to try to locate this aircraft. The first was Boomerang A46-186 pilot F/L Vernon took off at 2:15pm and returned at 3:35pm. The second was Boomerang A46-203 pilot F/O Glassop took off 2:15pm and returned at 3:35pm. Both searches were noted as "Search for F/L Cory".

Fate of the Crew
During the crash, F/O Tucker received cuts and bruises on his legs and arms. F/Lt Cory suffered four broken ribs and gashes on the legs. Soon afterwards, both were located by Australian Army 2/8th Cav Commandos and the fact they were safe was reported by radio to Army Intelligence that was relayed back to No. 5 Squadron.

Afterwards, both crew were escorted back to friendly lines by 2/8th Cav Commandos, staying in native villages and evading the Japanese until they reached the Allied perimeter. On January 6, 1945 at 4:15pm the pair returned to base.

ADF Serials - Wirraway A20-410
WW2 Nominal Roll - Lynn Rudolph Brown
WW2 Nominal Roll - Gilbert Richard Isler Cory
WW2 Nominal Roll - William Herbert Tucker
AWM Flight Lieutenant Gilbert Richard Isler Cory
AWM OG2093 (1/16/45 No. 5 Squadron strike conference including Cory)
AWM OG2432 (4/11/45 No. 5 Squadron Wirraway [A2-476] handing camera to FO Bill Tucker)
NAA RAAF Unit History sheets (Form A50) [Operations Record Book - Forms A50 and A51] Number 5 Squadron Jan 41 - Feb 46 (NAA: A9186, 13) pages 545 (Monthly Summary), 553 (Detail of Operations)
(Page 545) "25/12/44. A fund was opened by the Senior Air Liaison Officer (Major D. Daniel) to which [No. 5] Squadron personnel contributed cigarettes, tobacco, cigarette papers, matches, tinned fruit, cake, plum pudding, candy & peanuts, etc. These were to be dropped from a Wirraway [A20-410] by F/Lt. Cory and F/O Tucker to Australian troops on patrol in enemy territory. Unfortunately the plane crashed while on this good-will mission. News from Army Intelligence was received at Operations Room in the afternoon that both pilot and observer were safe and were in friendly hands, that F/O Tucker was uninjured and that F/Lt Cory had sustained slight injuries to his ribs. The news of their safety was received with great relieve throughout the Squadron."
(Page 553) "Detail of Operations
A20-410 / F/L. Cory F/O Tucker / 1045 / 1125 / 25/12/44 / Supply Drop. Prang"
A46-186 / F/L Vernon / 1414 / 1535 / 25/12/44 / Search for F/L Cory"
A46-203 / F/L Glassop / 1414 / 1535 / 25/12/44 / Search for F/L Cory"
(Page 556) "6/1/45. At 1615 hours F/Lt. G. R. I. Cory (404387) and F/O. W. H. Tucker (434378) returned to the Squadron, bearded, thirsty and tired but in excellent spirits. Cory and Tucker, while on a goodwill mission dropping gifts to front line troops on Christmas Day, were force down by engine failure in Jap infested jungle over the Jaba River Valley. Cory sustained four broken ribs and gashes on the legs and Tucker received cuts and bruises on legs and arms. They were rescued by natives and then began an adventurous fortnight of trekking through the jungle, over razor back ridges, across streams, living in native villages and dodging enemy troops until they were eventually brought to the perimeter and handed over to the Australian Army. The
(Page 557) 6/1/45 (continued) assistance and co-operation of the natives and of Army personnel was magnificent. The complete story was covered later by R.A.A.F. Public Relations Officers and accounts appeared in the leading Australian Daily Newspapers on 23 Jan. 1945. Unfortunately, copies of the press reports are not available for appending to this history."

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Last Updated
October 9, 2019


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