Leading Aircraftman Keith Ernest DICKINSON

Service No: 117834
Born: Geelong VIC, 1 May 1911
Enlisted in the RAAF: 27 August 1942
Unit: No. 31 Squadron
Died: Wounds, Coomalie Creek NT, 7 July 1943, Aged 32 Years
Buried: Adelaide River War Cemetery NT
CWGC Additional Information: Son of George Edmond and Margaret Ann Dickinson, of East Geelong, Victoria
Roll of Honour: Geelong VIC
Remembered: Panel 102, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT

On 7 July 1943 Leading Aircraftman Dickinson, a Messman, died of gunshot wounds when shot by Aircraftman Class 1 Maxwell Slicer (25389) at Coomalie Creek.  Dickinson died soon after.  On hearing the shot, the Warrant Officer Disciplinary, Warrant Officer Henry Thomas Cove (14337), approached Slicer and was shot below the heart, but survived.  Slicer fired a third shot over the head of a Service Policeman, Flight Sergeant James Anthony Smith (26391), who was accompanying Cove, but had fallen to the ground.  Another Service Policeman, Corporal Herbert Vivian Leach (29709), obtained a rifle and exchanged shots with Slicer until he was forced to surrender at gunpoint when out of ammunition.

ACI Slicer was charged in a civil court with the murder of LAC Dickinson and was acquitted.  He was immediately then charged with the attempted murder of WOFF Cove, and after being found guilty and sentenced to 5 years jail with hard labour in late 1943, was discharged from the RAAF on 5 February 1944 while serving his sentence.


Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour On-Line Records (RAAF Casualty Information compiled by Alan Storr (409804))
Commonwealth War Graves Commission On-Line Records
Department of Veterans’ Affairs On-Line WWII Nominal Roll
National Archives of Australia On-Line Record A705, 166/9/119


Parnell, N.M. (Neville M.) Whispering Death: A history of the RAAF’s Beaufighter Squadrons, AH & AW Reed, Terry Hills NSW, 1980
Wilson, S. (Stewart) Beaufort, Beaufighter and Mosquito in Australian Service, Aerospace Publications Weston Creek ACT 2611, 1990

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