CORNELIUS Ronald Michael 436789

LEST WE FORGET 

Flight Sergeant Ronald Michael CORNELIUS

Service No: 436789
Born: Woodanilling WA, 2 December 1924
Enlisted in the RAAF: 17 April 1943
Unit: No. 24 Squadron, Morotai
Died: Air Operations: (No. 24 Squadron Liberator aircraft A72-196), Borneo, 5 July 1945, Aged 20 Years
Buried: Labuan War Cemetery, Malaysia
CWGC Additional Information: Son of John Bowden Cornelius and Mary Edith Cornelius, of Katanning, Western Australia.
Roll of Honour: Katanning WA
Remembered: Panel 102, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT
Remembered: Cenotaph Undercroft, State War Memorial, Kings Park WA

Brother of Marc Stanley Cornelius (29835)

Squadron Leader Redman was the captain and he had a crew of ten RAAF airmen and also carried Captain Westgarth, an army observation officer.  At 10 o’clock in the morning, while flying at a height of 200 feet two miles north of Sepinggang airfield (Balikpapan), No. 3 engine was seen to catch fire after being hit by light enemy anti-aircraft fire, and the aircraft then exploded in mid-air.  None of the crew was seen to escape by parachute and a second aircraft directed to the scene of the crash saw the wreckage burning furiously on the ground.  An army patrol got to within 150 yard s of the wreckage, but was unable to penetrate farther because of enemy resistance.

Extract from Odgers, G.J. (George James) (VX127783) Air War Against Japan 1943-1945, Australian War Memorial, Canberra, 1957 – Page 486

The crew members of A72-196 were:

Pilot Officer Martin Allan Burrows (12720) (Flight Engineer)
Flight Sergeant Ronald Michael Cornelius (436789) (Wireless Air Gunner)
Warrant Officer Harold Allan Gooding (418040) (Co-Pilot)
Squadron Leader John Robert Walter Redman (402395) (Pilot)
Flight Sergeant Leslie Rogers (449787) (Air Gunner)
Flight Sergeant Frederick Leslie Rollings (438085) (Air Gunner)
Flight Sergeant Harold Shadforth (449303) (Air Gunner)
Flight Sergeant Rex Victor Skinner (407185) (Navigator Bomb Aimer)
Flight Sergeant Patrick Fraser Stanley (430846) (Wireless Air Gunner)
Flight Sergeant Roy Tapper (434336) (Wireless Air Gunner)
Flight Sergeant James Ogilvie Ross Vickers (66185) (Navigator Bomb Aimer)
Captain Brian Dudley Westgarth (NX204346) (Australian Army) (Support Air 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 WWII Nominal Roll
National Archives of Australia On-Line Record A9845, 72

Bibliography:

Baker, N. (Nicola) More Than Little Heroes: Australian Army Air Liaison Officers in WWII, Australian National University Canberra ACT 2600, 1994
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