LEST WE FORGET
Warrant Officer Alfred COOK
Service No: 419295
Born: North Melbourne VIC, 21 May 1915
Enlisted in the RAAF: 18 July 1942
Unit: No. 21 Squadron, Morotai
Died: Air Operations: (No. 21 Squadron Liberator aircraft A72-92), Celebes, 27 July 1945, Aged 30 Years
Buried: Ambon War Cemetery, Indonesia
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Alfred and Molly Cook; husband of Mia Jean Cook, of Spotswood, Victoria. Australia.
Roll of Honour: Unknown
Remembered: Panel 101, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT
Limbung airfield across Macassar Strait from Bandjermasin was also bombed by six Liberators of No. 82 Wing, operating from Morotai. This wing lost a Liberator (A72-92) near Tomohon on 27th July, and another Liberator was lost four days later after another mission to Celebes, making a total of five for the month.
Extract from Odgers, G.J. (George James) (VX127783) Air War Against Japan 1943-1945, Australian War Memorial, Canberra, 1957 – Page 489
The northern tip of the Celebes was the site of the loss of Flight Lieutenant K.J. Hanson’s aircraft, A72-92, on 27 July. Six 82 Wing Liberators located the wreckage near the village of Tomohon but could see no sign of activity around it. Details of the incident were only discovered during RAAF post-war investigations in the area. The following account is from a report by Flying Officer Pierce John Keating (408067) of No. 3 Contact Party, Manado Force, dated 11 October 1945:
A Liberator RAAF employed on either a low level attack or possible photo recce off Tomohon was hit by flak, burst into flames in the air, and exploded on impact with a hillside. Three men were seen to jump from the plane, one without his parachute. One landed in Sarongsong, a small village near Tomohon, and we have no further news of him. The other landed in Tomohon, and was arrested immediately by the Kempei, hands bound behind back. He was very dazed, and our informant in this case, Lasut who described himself as the Governor of Tomohon, spoke to him. The airman complained of pain in his hands which were injured and very swollen. Lasut asked the Kempei for permission to cut his rope and to give him water. This was permitted. Lasut asked the man his name and where he came from, but the only answer was the repetition of a word which sounded like ‘Rice’. The airman was taken away almost immediately by the Kempei and nothing more is known.
None of the crew of A72-92 had a name resembling Rice. The crewman who jumped without his parachute was identified as Flight Sergeant Nichol, and those still aboard when the plane crashed had been buried, presumably by locals, near the site. The RAAF investigation revealed that two captured men had been interrogated by a Sergeant Kobiashi of the Japanese Kempei. According to Kobiashi the men, whose names he did not remember, were flown to Macassar; another report states that they were taken to the southern Celebes by boat. It was subsequently
rumoured that they were interrogated on the subject of the atomic bomb (of which, of course, they would have known nothing) before being murdered.
Extract from Nelmes, M.V. (Michael) Tocumwal to Tarakan: Australians and the Consolidated B-24 Liberator, Banner Books Belconnen ACT 2616, 1994 – Pages 116-7
While attacking enemy positions on 27 July 1945, Liberator A72-92 was hit by anti-aircraft fire in the vicinity of Tomohon, a village in the Celebes at position 01.18N, 123.51E. The wreck of A72-92 was located but no sign of the crew members was observed. It was later learned that nine crew members had been killed in the crash and three had been taken prisoner but were subsequently executed.
The crew members of A72-92 were:
Flight Sergeant Stephen Patrick Cloake (441014) (Air Gunner)
Warrant Officer Alfred Cook (419295) (Navigator)
Flight Lieutenant Kenneth John Hanson (403585) (Pilot)
Flight Sergeant Brendan Michael Heslin (440787) (Air Gunner)
Flying Officer John James Oliver Hume (427095) (Second Pilot)
Flight Sergeant Frank Grainger Vincent Hutton (437421) (Air Gunner)
Pilot Officer George Grey Lindley (427712) (Wireless Air Gunner) PoW, Died 21 August 1945
Flight Sergeant Arnold Alexander Lockyer (Flight Engineer) (80471) PoW, Died 21 August 1945
Flight Sergeant William James Maxwell (435994) (Air Gunner)
Flight Sergeant Charles Neville Nichol (440381) (Navigator)
Flight Sergeant John Victor Orgill (441469) (Wireless Air Gunner) PoW, Died 28 July 1945
Corporal John R Waite (36404344) (USAAF) (Meteorological Duties)
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, 71
Nelmes, M.V. (Michael) Tocumwal to Tarakan: Australians and the Consolidated B-24 Liberator, Banner Books Belconnen ACT 2616, 1994
Wilson, S. (Stewart) Boston, Mitchell and Liberator in Australian Service, Aerospace Publications Weston Creek ACT 2611, 1992