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  CA-9 Wirraway Serial Number A20-519  
4 Squadron

Former Assignments
1 AD

Pilot  F/O Thoms Henry Hoatio Saunders, O5816 (survived) Cottesloe, WA
Gunner  Sgt Douglas Elgin Withers Bain, 21899 (WIA, survived) Glasgow, Scotland

Crashed  November 21, 1942

Aircraft History
Built by Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation (CAC). Constructors Number 720. During January 1942 assigned to the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) as Wirraway serial number A20-519.

Wartime History
On January 27, 1942 assigned to 1 Air Depot (1 AD). On March 29, 1942 assigned to 4 Squadron, coded D.

On May 5, 1942 while taxing, the right break seized and cause the aircraft to tip onto the airscrew causing slight damage and was repaired afterwards.

On November 2, 1942 took off from Kingaroy piloted by F/O T H Saunders and F/Sgt C Hadley as part of No. 2 Flight on a ferry flight bound for Berry Drome (12 Mile Drome) near Port Moresby.

On November 20, 1942 took off from Berry Drome (12 Mile Drome) piloted by P/O J. S. Archer and F/O A. K. Avery on a reconassiance flight over Gona.

Mission History
On November 21, 1942 took off from Berry Drome (12 Mile Drome) near Port Moresby piloted by F/O T H Saunders with observer F/Sgt Douglas E. W. Bains on a mission to preform a survey landing at Wairopi Airstrip near Wairopi. During the landing, this aircraft struck a soft patch of ground, causing it to crash land beyond the runway, hitting trees and landing on the nose and left wing. The observer was slightly wounded in the crash.

Fates of the Crew
After the crash, both crew walked westward to Kokoda. On November 24, 1942 both were rescued by Wirraway A20-183 and Wirraway A20-176 that landed at Kokoda Airfield and flew both crew members back to Berry Drome (12 Mile Drome). Afterwards, both returned to duty.

On December 11, 1942 Bain went MIssing In Action (MIA) as an observer aboard Wirraway A20-485.

The wreckage of this Wirraway was administratively salvaged by 15 Repair Salvage Unit (15 RSU). On May 31, 1943 reported as stricken off charge (SOC) in situ and abandoned.

A wing, likely from this aircraft with the RAAF roundel and large block letter "A20-" (indicating the RAAF prefix for a CAC Wirraway) was transported to Kokoda in the late 1990s and stored alongside a building at the Kokokda Museum. During the middle 2000s, this wing was installed vertically outside the new Kokokda Museum.

Bain is memorialized at the Port Moresby Memorial, panel 9 at Bomana War Cemetery.

Chapter 30 "Advance to Buna" page 635-636
"The squadron's first accident report was filed on 21st November when the crew of a Wirraway on reconnaissance over Wairopi, Flying Officer Saunders (pilot) and Flight Sergeant Bain (observer), were forced to make a crash landing on the Wairopi strip. The aircraft was completely wrecked but the crew escaped injury and walked to Kokoda whence they were brought back to Port Moresby.
ADF Serials - Wirraway A20-519
"Rec 1AD ex CAC 27/01/42. Issued 4Sqn RAAF ex 1AD 29/03/42. Coded with 4Sqn "D" Letter. Accident 05/05/42 Canberra when taxying during test, right brake seized causing aircraft to tip on airscrew. Slight damage. Pilot may have been P/O E I found. NFDs. Repaired. Flown to Port Moresby 02/11/42 by F/O T H Saunders and F/Sgt C Hadley in No 2 Flight from Kingaroy Qld. Flown by P/O J S Archer and F/O A K Avery on Recce over Gona 20/11/42. Operational Loss 1100 hrs 21/11/42 on survey landing a Wairopi Strip when aircraft struck soft patch on strip and loss lift, causing it to stall and loose lift halfway along runway, causing a fast involuntary landing run past the end of strip and then striking trees at 80 miles per hour. Aircraft came to rest on nose and port wing. Crew; F/O T H Saunders and F/Sgt D E W Bains Serv#21899 slightly injured. Despite this, both crew trekked back to Kokoda. They were collected individually by two 4 Sqn Wirraways on the 24/11/42 in A20-183 and A20-176 and ferried back to Berry Strip. The airframe was to be salvaged by 15RSU. Rec administratively 15RSU 30/11/42. SOC insitu 31/05/43."
WW2 Nominal Roll - Thomas Henry H. Saunders
WW2 Nominal Roll - Douglas Elgin Withers Bain
Thanks to Daniel Leahy for additional information.

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Last Updated
June 29, 2019


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