Sergeant Henry William CLAPINSON

Service No: 6109
Born: London England, 30 June 1907
Enlisted in the RAAF: 6 November 1939 (at RAAF Station Richmond NSW)
Unit: Paratroop Training Unit (Attached to RAAF Headquarters)
Died: Air Operations) (528th Squadron USAAF Liberator aircraft 42-72801), Dutch New Guinea, 19 March 1944, Aged 36 Years
Buried: St Louis (Jefferson Barracks) National Cemetery, Missouri, USA
CWGC Additional Information: Son of James John and Martha Charlotte Clapinson; husband of Frances Vera Clapinson, of Newton, Wellington, New Zealand
Roll of Honour: Sydney NSW
Remembered: Panel 134, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT

Liberator 42-72801 was one of two Liberator aircraft which took off from Darwin on the night of 18 March 1944 on Services Reconnaissance Department (SRD) Operation Hawk to drop SRD personnel in the Vogelkop district of Dutch New Guinea. Approximately two hours after take-off, one of the aircraft developed engine trouble and had to return to base. Liberator 42-72801 was also recalled to base and for the next 4 hours, radio messages to the aircraft were not answered and the aircraft failed to return to base. Later searches found the wreck of the aircraft and the remains of the missing crew near Fak Fak in Dutch New Guinea, some 50 miles west of Babo.

The crew members were:

Staff Sergeant Charles F Burtis (32427593) (USAAF) (Gunner)
Sergeant Henry William Clapinson (6109) (Supernumerary, Fabric Worker)
Staff Sergeant Walter H Dellinger (34085818) (USAAF) (Gunner)
Corporal Arthur Wesley Filewood (QX6556) (Australian Army)
Staff Sergeant Henry P Flanagan (31231640) (USAAF) (Gunner)
Second Lieutenant Ernest R Hedges (O-68411) (USAAF) (Co-Pilot)
Lance Sergeant Kenneth Dreis Ireland (NX134938) (Australian Army)
Second Lieutenant Brian J Kennedy (O-68411) (USAAF) (Navigator)
Corporal Ernest Charles Marshall (WX4211) (Australian Army)
First Lieutenant Otto H Martens (O-437245) (USAAF) (Pilot)
Corporal Janes Norman McPherson (VX16623) (Australian Army)
Corporal Geoffrey Charles Mitchell-Burden (NX134272) (Australian Army)
Staff Sergeant Howard W Musson (16156517) (USAAF) (Gunner)
Second Lieutenant Clifford M Odegaard (O-808127) (USAAF) (Bombardier)
Technical Sergeant William T Rabbitt (32535761) (USAAF) (Flight Engineer)
Technical Sergeant Arthur J Schechtel (12157189) (USAAF) (Radio Operator)


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
Horton, G.R. Jr. (Glenn) The Best in the Southwest: The 380th Bombardment Group (H) in World War II Southwest Pacific Area, Mosie Publications, Savage Minnesota US, 1995
National Archives of Australia On-Line Record A705, 166/7/444


Courtney, Godfrey Basil MBE MC Silent Feet: the history of ‘Z’ Special Operations, RJ & SP Austin, McCrae VIC 3938, 1993
Nelmes, M.V. (Michael) Tocumwal to Tarakan: Australians and the Consolidated B-24 Liberator, Banner Books Belconnen ACT 2616, 1994

Book Now Book Now