Flight Sergeant Owen William John DAVERN

Service No: 5312
Born: Glen Huon TAS, 26 June 1912
Enlisted in the RAAF: 22 November 1939 (at RAAF Station Laverton VIC)
Unit: No. 200 Flight, Leyburn QLD
Died: Air Operations: (No. 200 Flight Liberator aircraft A72-177), North Borneo, 21 May 1945, Aged 32 Years
Buried: Labuan War Cemetery, Malaysia
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Phillip and Amy Caroline Davern; husband of Dorothy Mary Jean Davern, of Crows Nest, New South Wales, Australia
Roll of Honour: Unknown
Remembered: Panel 111, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT

A72-177 was lost at 0555 hours on 21 May 1945 with the crew of Flight Lieutenant Keith Emmett and Z Special Force personnel on Services Reconnaissance Department (SRD) AGAS 2 (long term insertion party) sortie. In fine weather and on the fifth pass of a supply mission to the Bawing Drop Zone, the aircraft struck a tree on a hill to the south east of the Zone and crashed, killing all on board. A witness report compiled by Major R G P M Combe SRD (details unable to be verified by DVA on-line records) states that the aircraft appeared to be flying low with engines unthrottled leading up to the accident. The aircraft crashed two miles west of the Melabong Village at position 06.58N 117.07E.

The crew members of A72-177 were:

Flight Sergeant John Colin William Anderson (424011) (Nose Gunner)
Warrant Officer Phillip Hector Cormack (421295) (Gunner)
Flight Sergeant Owen William John Davern (5312) (Tail Gunner)
Captain Thomas Ivanhoe Eltham MID (VX85284) (Z Special Unit)
Flight Lieutenant Keith Roy Norman Emmett (411761) (Pilot)
Flight Lieutenant John Oswald Graham (418101) (Navigator)
Private Kenneth Lloyd Hardie (NX201540) (Z Special Unit)
Lieutenant Leslie Alec McLaren (VX4326) (Z Special Unit)
Warrant Officer Ralph Proudlock (420488) (Radio Operator)
Warrant Officer Ernest Travers Shorter (14791) (Mid Upper Gunner)
Sergeant Lawrence James Starr (71522) (Flight Engineer)
Flying Officer Reginald Lee Taylor (120044) (Air Bomber)
Flight Lieutenant Ernest Frederick Theyer (422755) (Second Pilot)
Flight Lieutenant Rodney Nelson Walker (421421) (Radio Operator)


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
Register of War Memorials in New South Wales On-Line


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

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