AITKEN Arthur Matthew 415570

LEST WE FORGET 

Flying Officer Arthur Matthew AITKEN

Service No: 415570
Born: Narrogin WA, 9 January 1920
Enlisted in the RAAF: 30 November 1941
Unit: No. 14 Squadron, RAAF Station Pearce WA
Died: Aircraft Accident: (No. 14 Squadron Beaufort aircraft A9-317), off the WA Coast, 9 September 1943, Aged 22 years
Buried: Unrecovered
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Hugh and Minnie Louisa Aitken of Armadale WA
Roll of Honour: Armadale WA
Remembered: Panel 5, Sydney Memorial Rookwood NSW
Remembered: Panel 100, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT
Remembered: Cenotaph Undercroft, State War Memorial, Kings Park WA

Beaufort aircraft A9-317, captained by Flying Officer Arthur .Aitken (415570), Observer Flying Officer Richards (256336), Wireless Air Gunners Flight Sergeant Emerson (408802) and Flight Sergeant Hastie, (415326), and Captain Kolbig (SX1574), Air Liaison Officer, was airborne from BUSSELTON at 1157 hours to patrol seaward DENTRECASTEAUX POINT through 36’00S 114’40E, 34’12S 113’08E to ROTTNEST.  At 1436 hours a sighting report on M.V. “NORDNES” was received from the aircraft the position given being 34’54S 115’17E and time of origin of the message was 1400 hours.  This position was approximately confirmed by a report from the captain of the “NORDNES” when in port at FREMANTLE who stated that the aircraft, after establishing contact in the normal manner and identifying the “NORDNES” as friendly, proceeded away climbing on a bearing of 340 degrees and was apparently behaving normally.  This was the last known radio and visual contact with the aircraft.  An exhaustive search was carried out until 11 September without result.

The “DUKE OF SPARTA” sighted what appeared to be a yellow rubber dinghy in position 33’58S 113’31E at 1015 hours on 11 September but no crew was visible in the dinghy.

Portions of what appear to be a dinghy similar to those carried in Beaufort aircraft have been located at the mouth of CAPEL CREEK, but, on further investigation the parts recovered do not appear to be from this aircraft.

No. 14 Squadron Operations Record Book A50 Entry dated 9 September 1943

No trace of the crew or aircraft has ever been found. The crew members of A9-317 were:

Flying Officer Arthur Matthew Aitken (415570) (Pilot)
Flight Sergeant Alexander Emerson (408802) (Wireless Air Gunner)
Flight Sergeant Peter Douglas Hastie (415326) (Wireless Air Gunner)
Captain Harry Donald Kolbig (SX1574) (Air Liaison Officer, Australian Army)
Flying Officer Cedric Sutton Richards (256336) (Observer)

References:

Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour On-Line Records
Commonwealth War Graves Commission On-Line Records
Department of Veteran’s Affairs On-Line WWII Nominal Roll
National Archives of Australia On-line Record A9845, 252

Bibliography:

Baker, N. (Nicola) More Than Little Heroes: Australian Army Air Liaison Officers in WWII, Australian National University Canberra ACT 2600, 1994
Wilson, S. (Stewart) Beaufort, Beaufighter and Mosquito in Australian Service, Aerospace Publications Weston Creek ACT 2611, 1990