ALLANSON Thomas Hessey 415106

LEST WE FORGET

Flying Officer Thomas Hessey ALLANSON 

Service No: 415106
Born: Albany WA, 10 July 1917
Enlisted in the RAAF: 21 July 1941
Unit: No. 100 Squadron, Milne Bay PNG
Died: Air Operations: (No. 100 Squadron Beaufort aircraft A9-204), Gasmata New Britain PNG, 4 September 1943, Aged 26 Years
Buried: Unrecovered
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Frank Booth Allanson and Grace Allanson; husband of Dorothy Ruth Allanson, of Como, Western Australia.
Roll of Honour: Perth WA
Remembered: Panel 34, Rabaul Memorial, PNG
Remembered: Panel 104, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT
Remembered: Cenotaph Undercroft, State War Memorial, Kings Park WA

September was a grim month for the Australian Beauforts.  The job demanded of them was one which necessitated grave risks.  Gasmata had to be kept unserviceable to prevent Japanese fighters from interfering with Allied moves in the Lae area.  On September 4, the Beauforts struck at the Gasmata airstrip.  Once again they were met by fierce anti-aircraft fire.  A9-204 was shot down and crashed in flames.  Its crew was Flying Officer Tom Allanson, Flying Officer Mervyn Keehn, Flight Sergeant Keith Grieve, and Flight Sergeant Dennis Webb.

Extract from Graham, B. (Burton) and Frank Smyth, A Nation Grew Wings: The Story of the RAAF Beaufort Squadrons in New Guinea, Winterset House Publishers Melbourne VIC, 1946 – Page 52

At 0547 hours on 4 September 1943 Beaufort A9-204 took off from Gurney Strip to carry out a bombing attack on Gasmata, New Britain. The attack was carried out ay 0750 hours from an altitude of 1,500 feet. When over the Gasmata strip A9-204 was hit by anti-aircraft fire, was seen to be smoking and immediately went into a vertical dive, crashed and burst into flames. No crew members were seen to bale out and eye witnesses reported that there would have been no chance of any survivors.

In 1948 a RAAF search party located the wreckage of A9-204.  It had crashed in mangrove swamp on the coast of New Britain about 3 miles north east of Gasmata.  A thorough search could not locate the remains of any of the crew. The aircraft which was completely wrecked exploded on impact and all the crew would have been killed instantly.

The crew members of A9-204 were:

Flying Officer Thomas Hessey Allanson (415106) (Pilot)
Flight Sergeant Keith Grieve (405850) (Wireless Air Gunner)
Flying Officer Mervyn Noel Keehn (405193) (Navigator Bomb Aimer)
Flight Sergeant Dennis Hamlin Webb (405458) (Wireless Air Gunner)

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, 248

Bibliography:

Wilson, S. (Stewart) Beaufort, Beaufighter and Mosquito in Australian Service, Aerospace Publications Weston Creek ACT 2611, 1990