Sergeant William David COWE

Service No: 401769
Born: Berwick Scotland, 8 June 1921
Enlisted in the RAAF: 29 March 1941 (at Melbourne VIC)
Unit: No. 75 Squadron, Milne Bay PNG
Died: Aircraft Accident: (No. 75 Squadron Kittyhawk aircraft A29-109), near Port Moresby PNG, 28 August 1942, Aged 21 Years
Buried: Port Moresby (Bomana) War Cemetery, PNG
CWGC Additional Information: Son of David and Alice Mary Cowe, of Berwick, Victoria.
Roll of Honour: Berwick VIC
Remembered: Panel 103, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT

Sergeant Cowe’s combat claims are one fighter damaged (24 April 1942), one fighter damaged (25 April 1942) and one fighter damaged (11 August 1942).

Due to the pressure of the Japanese advances, Lieutenant General Cyril Albert Clowes CBE DSO MBE (61) (General Officer Commanding 1st Division) and Group Captain William Henry Garing (O326) (Air Officer Commanding No. 9 Operational Group) were now concerned about the safety of the Kittyhawks on the ground at Milne Bay and decided late on the afternoon of the 28th that all aircraft should be flown to Port Moresby to remain there at least overnight. Twenty aircraft from No. 75 and 10 from No. 76 therefore made the 196-miles flight, one pilot, Sergeant Cowe, being killed when his aircraft, caught in dense cloud, crashed into a hill near the Seven Mile aerodrome. Next morning the squadrons moved back to Milne Bay.

Extract from Gillison, D.N. (Douglas Napier) (254475) Royal Australian Air Force 1939-1942, Australian War Memorial, Canberra, 1962 – Page 613


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 A9301, 401769


Wilson, D. (David) The Decisive Factor: 75 and 76 squadrons Port Moresby and Milne Bay 1942, Banner Books Brunswick VIC 3056, 1991
Wilson, S. (Stewart) Spitfire, Mustang and Kittyhawk in Australian Service, Aerospace Publications Weston Creek ACT 2611, 1988

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