Sergeant David CANET

Service No: 401298
Born: Numurkah VIC, 29 June 1919
Enlisted in the RAAF: 1 February 1941
Unit: No. 61 Squadron (RAF), Detachment RAF Station St Eval (supporting Coastal Command)
Died: Air Operations (No. 61 Squadron Lancaster aircraft R5661), Atlantic Ocean, 19 August 1942, Aged 23 years
Buried: Unrecovered
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Albert and Linda Caroline Canet, of St. Kilda, Victoria, Australia
Roll of Honour: Unknown
Remembered: Panel 112, Runnymede Memorial, Surrey UK
Remembered: Panel 120, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT

At 1216 hours on 19 August 1942 Lancaster R 5661 operating under Coastal Command control and detached to St Eval, took-off carry out an anti-ship patrol. At 1445 hours a signal was received from the aircraft over the Atlantic Ocean approximately 100 miles NW off Cape Ortegal, just outside the Bay of Biscay. An hour later another signal was received giving the same position but this could not be established if the signal came from R 5661. No further signals were received from R5661 and the aircraft did not return to base. The route was Base – 43.52N 9deg W – then East to 4 Deg West – then return to the same longitude to a point limited by endurance, then return to base. There was 5/10ths cloud at 2/3000 feet. Following post war enquiries and investigations, it was established that the remains of Sergeant Townsend were recovered from the sea and it was recorded in 1949 that the remaining missing crew members had no known graves.

The crew members R5661 were:

Sergeant David Canet (401298) (Wireless Operator Air Gunner)
Pilot Officer Arthur Eaton (113398) (RAF) (Second Pilot)
Flying Officer Rupert Alexandre Haig (84886) (RAFVR) (Wireless Operator Air Gunner)
Flying Officer Archibald Leonard Searby (67626) (RAFVR) (Pilot)
Sergeant Albert Eric Townsend (925413) (RAF) (Wireless Operator Air Gunner acting as Air Bomber) Remains recovered
Sergeant Samuel Richard Vowles (1315934) (RAFVR) (Air Gunner)
Sergeant Ian Verdun Witham (401357) (Navigator)


Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour On-Line Records (RAAF Casualty Information compiled by Alan Storr (409804))
Commonwealth War Graves Commission On-Line Records
Department of Veterans’ Affairs On-Line WWII Nominal Roll
National Archives of Australia On-Line Record A705, 163/95/355

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