Pilot Officer Allan Graham FAIRFAX

Service No: 412502
Born: Chatswood NSW, 14 June 1917
Enlisted in the RAAF: 19 July 1941
Unit: 65th Bomber Squadron (Heavy) (USAAF)
Died: Air Operations: (65th Bomber Squadron Flying Fortress (B17) aircraft 41-2536), Lae area, 22 November 1942, Aged 25 Years
Buried: Unrecovered
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Arthur Graham Fairfax and Ceaviney Fairfax; husband of Edna Bessie Fairfax, of Killara, New South Wales
Roll of Honour: Unknown
Remembered: Panel 6, Lae Memorial, PNG
Remembered: Panel 134, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT
Remembered: Killara Uniting Church WW2 Honour Roll, Killara NSW

Pilot Officer Fairfax was the Navigator on a B17 41-2536 attacking two destroyers 58 miles from Lae on 22 November 1942. After the bombs were dropped on the target his plane was seen to be hit by anti-aircraft fire from the two destroyers. Six men were seen to parachute from the plane and land in the water. When last observed one of the destroyers was seen heading for the men who had parachuted from the plane.

In a statement by Pilot Officer John Lyall Edkins (416553) an Observer attached to the USAAF and on the same mission, he reported “at about 1630 on the day in question a flight of our Squadron was bombing a Japanese destroyer off Lae. The aircraft in which Fairfax was in was doing a dive and turn away from the target, when ack-ack fire caught the plane under the pilot. The aircraft burst into flames and went down in the sea. There were 10 in the crew and 6 were seen to bale out and go into the sea. Japanese destroyers turned and circled the spot, and it is not known if those in the sea were picked up. Two hours later the two Japanese destroyers were sunk, and is it not known if any
of the aircraft survivors who were picked up, drowned or became Prisoners.”

In 1949, it was concluded that if Fairfax was picked up from the sea it must have been by one of the destroyers which was sunk shortly afterwards. Whether Fairfax survived to become a Prisoner of War could not be established from interrogation of the Japanese and no further information is available as to his ultimate fate.

The crew members of 41-2536 were:

First Lieutenant Frank M Colburn (O-725053) (USAAF) (Bombardier)
Pilot Officer Allan Graham Fairfax (412502) (Navigator)
Private Roger H Feind (16022601) (USAAF) (Crew Member)
First Lieutenant John Frost II (O-401157) (USAAF) (Pilot)
Private Carl A Griffin (19076670) (USAAF) (Crew Member)
First Lieutenant Robert A Guenther (O-661926) (USAAF) (Co-Pilot)
Private Arnold G Osborn (37009844) (USAAF) (Crew Member)
Private Paul H Paulson (17036424) (USAAF) (Crew Member)
Corporal Gerald P Shaughnessy (11042014) (USAAF) (Crew Member)
Private David J Thomas (18029656) (USAAF) (Crew Member)


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, 163/31/53
PacificWrecks.com Website
Register of War Memorials in New South Wales On-Line

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