LEST WE FORGET

Pilot Officer Kenneth Charles CARLSSON

Service No: 400113
Born: South Melbourne VIC, 7 June 1920
Enlisted in the RAAF: 27 May 1940
Unit: No. 230 Squadron (RAF)
Died: Aircraft Accident: (No. 230 Squadron Sunderland aircraft T9050), Aboukir, 30 September 1942, Aged 22 Years
Buried: Alexandria (Hadra) War Memorial Cemetery, Egypt
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Charles Oscar and Nellie Evelyn Carlsson, of Canterbury, Victoria, Australia
Roll of Honour: Canterbury VIC
Remembered: Panel 120, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT

Sunderland T9050 was detailed to carry out a patrol ordered by No. 201 Group on 30 September 1942. The aircraft took off from Aboukir Bay at 0545 hours. The weather was good with the sea flat calm and a half moon. The aircraft was forced to return from the patrol and crashed on approach killing three crew members and injuring others.

The crew members of T9050 were:

Sergeant James Adam (1325680) (RAFVR) (Wireless Air Gunner)
Sergeant Kenneth Charles Carlsson (400113) (Wireless Air Gunner)
Sergeant J Groleau (R/77160) (RCAF) (Wireless Air Gunner) Serious injuries
Sergeant D Hall (571236) (RAFVR) (Flight Engineer) Serious injuries
Flight Sergeant J Harkins (624470) (RAFVR) (Wireless Air Gunner) Slight Injuries
Leading Aircraftman N Kelly (636659) (RAFVR) (Rigger) Slight injuries
Sergeant Gordon Alexander Lindsay (519338) (Wireless Operator Mechanic/ Air Gunner)
Pilot Officer (later Group Captain) Andrew Raymond Matthews (400192) (O33074) (Navigator) Serious injuries, Discharged from the RAAF: 2 July 1974
Leading Aircraftman D McLean (976430) (RAFVR) (Second Fitter) Uninjured
Flying Officer Raymond James Murphy (402524) (Pilot) Slight injuries, Discharged from the RAAF: 23 August 1945
Flying Officer T W Sanderson (65553) (RAFVR) (Third Pilot) Slight injuries
Pilot Officer R C Scott (104364) (RAFVR) (Second Pilot) Serious injuries

In a later statement to a Court of Inquiry into the accident, the Commanding Officer of No. 230 Squadron reported: “the aircraft was forced to return from patrol owing to failure of the port outer engine. There was no indication from any member of the crew including the fitter that any other engine appeared to be giving trouble. When the Captain thought the port engine was failing he should have immediately checked his engine instrument readings. Although the approach appears to have been normal the Captain did in fact make an error in the he did not allow for the facts that there was a flat calm or that he was making an approach off a flare path. Finally the pilot made the fatal mistake of attempting to look at the water. Such an act especially on a glassy sea is nearly always disastrous. The accident appears to have been brought about by the fact that the pilot attempted to land when a landing was unnecessary, and he made an error in his landing in that he appears to have used insufficient engine to flatten his approach. He also attempted to carry out a landing on a glassy sea at night by looking at the water.” The Group Commander in his remarks stated: “I consider this accident was primarily due to the fact that there had been a fatal accident in the Squadron a few days previously due to an engine catching fire* in the air and the resulting smoke filled the cockpit, making it impossible for the pilot to make a safe landing. In this case, the pilot after flying for 35 minutes on three engines, states that he suddenly noticed a bright glow and small burst of flame on another engine and decided to land immediately, in so doing he stalled the aircraft which broke its back on hitting the water. I consider the pilot, Flying Officer Murphy, made a wrong decision in deciding to land and was guilty of an error of judgement in making the actual landing. Air Vice Marshal Slatter 201 Group”

* This comment refers to the accident to Sunderland W3927 on 7 September 1942 in which Flight Lieutenant Alan Frederick Howell (400226) and seven other crew members including two other RAAF members were killed.

References:

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, 163/95/385