COX Charles Ian 415403

LEST WE FORGET 

Flying Officer Charles Ian COX 

Service No: 415403
Born: Katanning WA, 1 July 1922
Enlisted in the RAAF: 12 October 1941
Unit: 200 Flight, Leyburn QLD
Died: Air Operations: (No. 200 Flight Liberator aircraft A72-191), North Borneo, 25 March 1945, Aged 22 Years
Buried: Unrecovered
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Frederick William and Jessie Egerton Cox, of Katanning, Western Australia.
Roll of Honour: Unknown
Remembered: Panel 32, Labuan Memorial, Malaysia
Remembered: Panel 111, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT
Remembered: Cenotaph Undercroft, State War Memorial, Kings Park WA

The weather over Borneo improved on the 24th and the two crews took off from McGuire again in A72-159 and, this time, A72-191 (which had also been flown up); they carried eight Z Special Unit men, with their supplies, radios and weapons packed into storpedoes.  After flying down the west coast of Borneo they made landfall 7000 feet over Brunei Bay, and proceeded inland heading east. They located the drop zone near Bario in the north Borneo jungle, came down to 1000 feet and slowed down, whereupon the eight Z Special men slid down the chutes and on a second pass the storpedoes left the bomb bays.  The drop successfully accomplished, Pockley radioed Ball (1) ‘Where to?’ Keeping to minimal radio conversation, Ball replied simply ‘Follow you’ and the two Liberators headed west to Brunei Bay, where they turned north.  There was by now a covering of thick cloud and Ball lost sight of A72-l91.  No more communications were received from Pockley’s aircraft.  Shortly afterwards a US Navy aircraft spotted a B-24 flying at 5,000 feet about eight kilometres north of Jesselton.  There is an unconfirmed report that the aircraft was seen descending to attack a Japanese ship, and that this vessel shot the aircraft down. Searches for A72-191 were carried out for two days by Ball and others, and oil slicks were sighted near Balembangan Island off the north coast of Borneo; but no wreckage was ever found.

(1) Flight Lieutenant Frank John Ball AFC (406911) was discharged from the RAAF on 27 March 1946.

Extract from Nelmes, M.V. (Michael) Tocumwal to Tarakan: Australians and the Consolidated B-24 Liberator, Banner Books Belconnen ACT 2616, 1994 – Page 131

The crew members of A72-191 were:

Flying Officer Charles Ian Cox (415403) (Second Pilot)
Flight Lieutenant Leonard Francis Day (409672) (Navigator)
Major Henry Everard Ellis (93124) (British Army, Leicestershire Regiment) (Supernumerary)
Flying Officer Ronald Roy Farmer (412503) (Air Gunner)
Flight Lieutenant David Prenton Gradwell (8960) (Wireless Air Gunner)
Sergeant Robert Ronald Hale (444233) (Air Gunner)
Sergeant Eric Mileham Litchfield (439370) (Air Gunner)
Sergeant Kenneth Mervyn Low (435733) (Wireless Air Gunner)
Squadron Leader Harold Graham Pockley DFC & Bar (260608) (Pilot)
Sergeant Charles Kevin Ponting (434348) (Wireless Air Gunner)
Sergeant Leslie Ernest Tonkin (443698) (Air Bomber)
Sergeant Kenneth Charles Wilmshurst (28787) (Flight Engineer)

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; A705, 166/8/949

Bibliography:

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
Wilson, S. (Stewart) Boston, Mitchell and Liberator in Australian Service, Aerospace Publications Weston Creek ACT 2611, 1992