CHIDLOW Frederick Erick 406689

LEST WE FORGET 

Pilot Officer Frederick Erick CHIDLOW

Service No: 406689
Born: Northam WA, 3 June 1917
Enlisted in RAAF: 3 March 1941
Unit: No 14 Squadron RAAF Station Pearce WA
Died: Aircraft Accident (No. 14 Squadron Beaufort aircraft A9-346) off Rottnest Island WA, 6 January 1944, Aged 26 Years
Buried: Unrecovered
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Frederick Clynck Blackmore Chidlow and May Bertha Chidlow, of Northam, Western Australia.
Roll of Honour: Unknown
Remembered: Panel 5, Sydney Memorial, Rookwood NSW
Remembered: Panel 100, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT.
Remembered: Cenotaph Undercroft, State War Memorial, Kings Park WA

Beaufort Aircraft A9-346, captained by Wing Commander Learmonth DFC (385), Observer Flying Officer Moore (401523), Wireless Air Gunners Pilot Officer Cullen (406095) and Flight Sergeant Chidlow (406689) was airborne Pearce at 1447 hours to carry out formation practice with aircraft A9-331 and A9-345.

At approximately 1455 hours and approximately 18 miles northwest of Rottnest Island, whilst flying straight and level and leading the formation, the aircraft developed a flutter in the starboard elevator trim.  Wing Commander LEARMONTH reported by radio that the aircraft was vibrating badly, and almost immediately afterwards the trim tab was seen to jam in the “fully up” (nose down) position by the other pilots in formation.  The aircraft immediately went into a dive from approximately 1,000 feet, which gradually steepened until the aircraft crashed into the sea at an angle of 70 to 80 degrees, killing the whole of the crew.

The United States Navy assisted in raising the aircraft.

No. 14 Squadron Operations Record Book A50 Entry dated 6 January 1944.

No remains have been recovered.  The squadron record book is not fully accurate in that only some debris rather that the aircraft was recovered from the crash scene.

The crew members of A9-346 were:

Flight Sergeant Frederick Erick Chidlow (406689) (Wireless Air Gunner)
Pilot Officer Douglas Raymond Cullen (406095) (Wireless Air Gunner)
Wing Commander Charles Cuthbertson Learmonth DFC & Bar (385) (Pilot)
Flying Officer Gordon Gwynne Moore (401523) (Observer)

References:

Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour On-Line Records
Commonwealth War Graves Commission On-Line Records
Department of Veteran’s Affairs On-Line Nominal Roll
National Archives of Australia On-Line Record A9845, 253

Bibliography:

Page, C. (Charles) Wings of Destiny: Wing Commander Charles Learmonth DFC and Bar and the Air War in New Guinea, C. Page, 2008  – A full description of this aircraft accident is available in this book
Wilson, S. (Stewart) Beaufort, Beaufighter and Mosquito in Australian Service, Aerospace Publications Weston Creek ACT 2611, 1990