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  CA-9 Wirraway Serial Number A20-447  
4 Squadron

Former Assignments
1 AD

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RAAF February 6, 1942
Pilot  Flight Sergeant Arthur Rodbourn, 407806 (survived) Adelaide, SA
Sgt Alan E. Cole, 35725 (WIA)
Destroyed  February 6, 1943

Aircraft History
Built by Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation (CAC). Constructor Number 648.

Wartime History
On November 28, 1941 delivered to the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) to 1 Air Depot (1 AD). On December 7, 1941 assigned to 5SFTS.

On August 5, 1942 while parked at Uranquinty Airfield, damaged by taxing Wirraway A20-542. Repaired by CAC by November 16, 1942 and returned to 5 SFTS by December 20, 1942. On January 8, 1943 assigned to 4 Squadron.

On February 6, 1943 took off from Berry Drome (12 Mile Drome) near Port Moresby piloted by Flight Sergeant Arthur Rodburn with observer Sgt Alan E. Cole on a reconnaissance and artillery observation mission and landed at Wau Airfield.

While parked at Wau Airfield, this aircraft was destroyed by a near miss from an exploding bomb dropped by Ki-48 Lily light bombers from the 45th Sentai escorted by Ki-43 Oscars from the 11th Sentai. Moments before the bombing, pilot Rodburn and observer Cole exited the aircraft and laid flat on the ground when the air raid was sounded. Cole was wounded by shrapnel in the left shoulder. As this aircraft burned, a photograph was taken of the wreckage that was included in the RAAF Official History. Officially, stricken on April 5, 1943.

No. 4 Squadron Operations Record Book (ORB) - February 6, 1943
"6.2.43 –  2 Sorties - Recce and Arty obs. Wau. A20-447 totally destroyed on ground, enemy bombing attack WAU strip. A20-395 & A20-395 slightly damaged. Sgt Cole A. E. (Observer) minor shrapnel wound left shoulder."
Aircraft Status Card (Form E/E.88) Wirraway M.K. II A20-447
AWM 128154 incorrectly lists the pilot's name as "Rodburn"
RAAF Official History 1939-1942 page 611 (photo)
WW2 Nominal Roll - Arthur Rodbourn
WW2 Nominal Roll - Alan Ernest Cole
ADF Serials - Wirraway A20-447 incorrectly states destroyed at Port Moresby
The Private War Diary of Captain Samuel Cutler, Army Air Corps US Forces in Australia, 1942-1944, page 78 [caption incorrectly identifies as Japanese wreckage at Kokoda]
The Battle for Wau page 215
Thanks to Daniel Leahy and Richard Dunn for additional information

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Last Updated
June 29, 2019


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