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RAAF No. 6 Service Flight Training School Fatalities

From Mallala
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Fast Facts
Type of event Accident

Fatal accidenta at the Mallala Air base

Street name 4 Dublin Road
Town or locality Mallala

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On 25 August 1941, No. 6 Service Flying Training School was formed outside of the town of Mallala. This was a medium-proficiency school, where aircrew who had already learned elementary flying at a base such as Parafield increased their experience before moving on to a specialist school such as Port Pirie or Mount Gambier. Training aircraft included Avro Ansons, Airspeed Oxfords, Moth Minors and Tiger Moths and a total of 2,257 trainees passed out before the unit ceased to function as No. 6 SFTS on 31 December 1945. Tragically, during this time, there were a number of fatal accidents involving aircrew from the school: On 14 October 1941, two Avro Anson aircraft collided south of the base, resulting in the deaths of-

  • 402680 Pilot Officer Charles Edwards Somerville,
  • 407163 Sergeant Ian Bruce Blacker
  • 416356 Leading Aircraftman (LAC) John Gordon Maslen
  • 408654 LAC Bernard George Hutchins.

On 13 February 1942, two Avro Ansons collided after taking off from Mallala airfield, killing both crews. On board Avro Anson A4-31 were -

  • 409005 LAC Keith Allan Mustow and
  • 408993 LAC Keith Grant Hayter.

On board Avro Anson A4-6 were –

  • 408920 LAC Stanley Livingstone McFarlane and
  • 408742 LAC Charles Tilley Collet Shoppee.

On 13 May 1942 an Anson from the school crashed into Mount Oakden, about seven miles north east of Hoyleton, in South Australia, during a rainstorm. The plane was totally destroyed and the twenty one year old pilot, 409511 LAC David Alwyen Checchi, was killed.

Eight personnel from 6 Service Flying Training School RAAF based at Mallala were all killed on the 4 August 1942, when their two Avro Ansons collided and crashed into the Murray River near Monteith in South Australia. The airmen killed were:-

  • 2366 Flying Officer Lawrence Vivian Wotzko
  • 413187 Sgt Gordon Cooper
  • 406625 Sgt Hugh Godfrey Phillips
  • 413018 Sgt Mervyn John Nichols
  • 416929 LAC Leslie Cadd
  • 416956 LAC Norman Dudley Haines
  • 420056 LAC James Brignall Richardson
  • 409484 LAC Colin McCall Say

On 7 September 1942, while on a night flying exercise, 412891 LAC Patrick John Brady was killed when his Avro Anson crashed near Mallala.

LAC 437246 Gordon Rex Young was killed when his Anson crashed at Eden Valley on 1 July 1943.

On 14 July 1943 an Anson went missing during a test flight over the Gulf of St Vincent. A search undertaken the following day discovered only some floating wreckage and the cause of the accident was never determined. Those lost were -

  • 406662 Flying Officer John Frederick Pettit,
  • 27786 Corporal James Desmond Horrigan,
  • 59315 LAC Donald Beresford Tucker
  • 116182 Aircraftman First Class Desmond Whenan and
  • 45971 Aircraftman First Class John Vincent Colin Matheson.

On 21 July 1943, during a night cross country flight, whist attempting to land in heavy fog, 427803 LAC Colin Walter Cook was seriously injured when his Avro Anson crashed near the aerodrome. He was removed from the cockpit and admitted to hospital however he died of his injuries the next day.

On 23 September 1943, an Anson crashed approximately 1.5 miles east of Tarlee in South Australia, killing all the aircrew. On board were:

  • 419836 LAC Cyril Markham Lewis
  • 429980 LAC Donald Neill McDonald,
  • 29990 Sergeant Julian Patrick Rice
  • 284999 Flying Officer Ian Duncan Weston.

A service funeral for all four victims was held at the War Graves Cemetery, Mallala at 1400 hours on 25 September 1943. On 27 March 1944 an Airspeed Oxford crashed near Dublin South Australia, claiming the life of 437960 LAC Derek Goldsworthy Wicks.

Although hostilities ceased on 6 August 1945, the Unit continued to operate until December 1945 and on 28 November 1945, 444226 Sergeant Roger Byrom Clough was killed when his Airspeed Oxford crashed near Port Parham, on Yorke Peninsula. His plane pulled out from a dive into a steep right turn and slipped into the ground.

Not all deaths were aircraft related -

On 2 March 1943, 417643 Leading Aircraftman Peter Denis Kierse, 19, was detailed to proceed with other airmen to a sandpit about four miles away, for the purpose of obtaining sand for work being carried out at the unit. They were travelling in the open back of a three ton tender. While travelling along Owen Road, the truck moved from the left hand side of the road to the centre and passed over a rise, giving a sharp jolt and causing LAC Kierse to lose balance. He fell from the truck and was fatally injured.

The bodies of many of these men were sent back to their families, however in 1943 the government designated an area of the Mallala Cemetery as a War Graves site, after which time, deceased servicemen were buried there. Twelve men from the 6SFTS are interred in the War Graves Cemetery at Mallala where their graves are maintained by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. They are -

  • 420056 Leading Aircraftman James Brignall Richardson
  • 409484 Leading Aircraftman Colin McCall Say
  • 412891 Leading Aircraftman Patrick John Brady
  • 427803 Leading Aircraftman Aircraftman Colin Walter Cook
  • 419836 Leading Aircraftmen Cyril Markham Lewis
  • 429980 Leading Aircraftman Donald Neill McDonald,
  • 29990 Sergeant Julian Patrick Rice
  • 284999 Flying Officer Ian Duncan Weston.
  • 437960 Leading Aircraftman Derek Goldsworthy Wicks
  • 417643 Leading Aircraftman Peter Denis Kierse
  • 37246 Leading Aircraftman Gordon Rex Young
  • 444226 Sergeant Roger Byrom Clough


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