Flying Officer Richard William Raven BATH

Service No: 420116
Born: Waverley NSW, 14 April 1922
Enlisted in the RAAF: 11 October 1941
Unit: No. 75 Squadron, Hollandia, Netherlands East Indies
Died: Aircraft Accident (No. 75 Squadron Kittyhawk aircraft A29-407), New Guinea, 9 August 1944, Aged 22 Years
Buried: Ambon War Cemetery, Indonesia
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Richard and Olive Pearl Gladys Bath, of Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia.
Roll of Honour: Unknown
Remembered: Panel 103, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT
Remembered: Newcastle Boys High School Memorial Entrance World War II (Callaghan College), Waratah NSW

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


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, 156
Register of War Memorials in New South Wales On-Line


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

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