BARDEN William Morris 17409

LEST WE FORGET

Warrant Officer William Morris BARDEN 

Service No: 17409
Born: Perth WA, 6 June 1921
Enlisted in the RAAF: 22 July 1940
Unit: No. 75 Squadron, Hollandia, Netherlands East Indies
Died: Aircraft Accident: (No. 75 Squadron Kittyhawk aircraft A29-571), New Guinea, 9 August 1944, Aged 23 Years
Buried: Ambon War Cemetery, Indonesia
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Charles Patrick and Myrtle Gladys Barden; husband of Bernice May Barden, of Mount Hawthorn, Western Australia.
Roll of Honour: Unknown
Remembered: Panel 103, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT
Remembered: Cenotaph Undercroft, State War Memorial, Kings Park WA

On 9 August 1944, twelve aircraft covered US troops at Cape Sansapor without sighting the enemy. On the return flight, the formation was affecting a turn about onto a northerly course at a height of 8,000 feet over Cape Sawassar.  During the turn, Flight Sergeant R.G. Becker (1) ‘saw Yellow One Flight Lieutenant R.C. Kimpton (2) begin to turn.  I dropped down to follow him round and, half way round, I saw Yellow Three, Flying Officer Flying Officer Bath (420116) (A29-407), seem to rise and hit Yellow One’s wing.  I saw pieces fly off and ammunition exploded.  Number Three and Four, Flight Sergeant Barden (A29-571), fell out of my sight and I slipped out to port and followed Yellow One round in the turn and followed him home.  Jacklin (3) did not lose height on the turnabout prior to the collision.’

Flying Officer Don Andrew (4) saw the result of the collision and reported ‘I saw two interlocked aircraft from behind Red Two Flight Lieutenant McCaul (5).  They were immediately below Flying Officer Jacklin and Flight Sergeant Becker.  They fell apart and spun separately to the ground – saw one piece, possibly aileron, fly off one machine.  One aircraft straightened up at about 3,000 feet, and then dived straight in, the other spun in.  One burst into flames (grey smoke) after I lost sight of them among the trees.  I heard the pilots ordered to bailout but neither did.’  Bath and Barden’s aircraft crashed within 300 yards of each other, in heavy rain forest, two miles east of Menga village.  Jacklin, his aircraft barely controllable after being hit in the port wing by one of the other aircraft, flew back to Kamiri at over 200 mph (340kph), and showed superb airmanship to recover his Kittyhawk without further damage.  The aileron was completely gone and other damage was done to the wing.

(1) Warrant Officer Ronald Graham Becker (419800) was discharged from the RAAF on 1 October 1945.
(2) Squadron Leader Ronald Charles MacDonald Kimpton (O35314) was discharged from the RAAF on 5 September 1945.
(3) Flight Lieutenant Thomas Ross Jacklin (405738) was discharged from the RAAF on 11 February 1946.
(4) Flying Officer Donald Edward Andrew (403301) was discharged from the RAAF on 9 October 1945.
(5) Flight Lieutenant Kenneth Arthur McCaul (406066) was discharged from the RAAF on 24 September 1945.

Extract from Wilson, D. (David) See and Strike: 75 Squadron RAAF 1942-2002, Banner Books Maryborough QLD 4650, 2002 – Pages 114-5

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, 162

Bibliography:

Wilson, S. (Stewart) Spitfire, Mustang and Kittyhawk in Australian Service, Aerospace Publications Weston Creek ACT 2611, 1988