LEST WE FORGET

Aircraftman Class I Ernest Alfred FLANAGAN

Service No: 51288
Born: Glenferrie VIC, 19 December 1907
Enlisted in the RAAF: 26 February 1942
Unit: No. 1 Reserve Personnel Pool, Townsville
Died: Aircraft Accident (QANTAS Empire Flying Boat VH-ADU (Camilla)), off Port Moresby, 22 April 1943, Aged 35 Years
Buried: Unrecovered
CWGC Additional Information: Son of John and Mabel Flanagan; husband of Kara Kathleen Flanagan, of Oakleigh, Victoria
Roll of Honour: Oakleigh VIC
Remembered: Panel 10, Port Moresby Memorial, PNG
Remembered: Panel 114, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT

At 1922 hours on 22 April 1943 on a ferry flight from Townsville to Port Moresby VH-ADU crashed in the Coral Sea at night during heavy rain and low cloud, 21 miles south of the Basilisk Light, Port Moresby. On board were four crew members and 22 RAAF members and five US Servicemen travelling as passengers. There were nine fatalities – two crew members and seven RAAF members.

The QANTAS Crew members were:

Pilot Officer Walter Robert Bartley (267521) (Civil Aircrew, QANTAS Purser) RAAF Reserve
Flying Officer Albert Aubrey Koch (1361) (Civil Aircrew, QANTAS Pilot) RAAF Reserve, Rescued
First Officer S W Peak (QANTAS Co-Pilot) Rescued
Pilot Officer Theodore John Phillips (267520) (Civil Aircrew, QANTAS Radio Officer) RAAF Reserve

The RAAF passengers were:

Aircraftman Class I George James Bell (72831) (Motor Boat Crew) Rescued, Discharged from the RAAF: 25 March 1945
Aircraftman Class I Gordon Devon Corlish (72224) (Fitter Driver Motor Transport) Rescued, Discharged from the RAAF: 5 April 1946
Aircraftman Class I Frank Lindsay Cox (72540) (Motor Boat Crew) Rescued, Discharged from the RAAF: 15 August 1945
Leading Aircraftman Alfred James Ellis (32238) (Cook) No. 45 Operational base Unit, port Moresby
Aircraftman Class I Robert Forbes Falconer (72674) (Fitter Driver Motor Transport) Rescued, Discharged from the RAAF: 26 February 1945
Aircraftman Class I Ernest Alfred Flanagan (51288) (Cook) No. 1 Reserve Personnel Pool, Townsville
Aircraftman Class I Walter Leigh Gardiner (36414) (Motor Cyclist) Serious injuries, Rescued, Discharged from the RAAF: 23 November 1944
Sergeant Ernest John Grady (37501) (Fitter Driver Motor Transport) No. 1 Reserve Personnel Pool, Townsville
Aircraftman Class I Vincent Edward Grogan (55573) (Fitter Driver Motor Transport) No. 15 Aircraft Repair Depot, Port Moresby
Leading Aircraftman Norman Arthur Harper (23196) (A217767) (Carpenter Boat Builder) Rescued, Discharged from the RAAF: 27 April 1945
Aircraftman Class I James Abraham Harris (423531) (Fitter Driver Motor Transport) No. 15 Aircraft Repair Depot, Port Moresby
Aircraftman Class I Mervyn Milton King (130766) (Driver Motor Transport) Rescued, Discharged from the RAAF: 23 March 1945
Leading Aircraftman Leonard Joseph Klaebe (27953) (Electrical Fitter) Rescued, Discharged from the RAAF: 22 November 1945
Flight Sergeant Norman MacLeod (1929) (Carpenter Boat Builder) Rescued, Discharged from the RAAF: 31 October 1945
Aircraftman Class I Eric Paul Marshall (130767) (Driver Motor Transport) Rescued, Discharged from the RAAF: 8 August 1945
Aircraftman Class I Albert Basil Gerald Mayfield (70783) (Fitter Driver Motor Transport) Rescued, Discharged from the RAAF: 20 December 1945
Aircraftman Class I Lloyd Le Page Morris (116522) (Telegraphist) Rescued, Discharged from the RAAF: 7 January 1946
Corporal Donald William Nicholson (50337) (Fitter Armourer) No. 1 Reserve Personnel Pool, Townsville
Aircraftman Class I Alyn Vincent Pryor (88171) (Motor Boat Crew) Rescued, Discharged from the RAAF: 2 August 1945
Aircraftman Class I Jack Sydney Sherwin (69790) (Driver Motor Transport) Rescued, Discharged from the RAAF: 25 August 1945
Aircraftman Class I Alan Reginald Stephens (59312) (Fitter II Engines) No. 1 Reserve Personnel Pool, Townsville
Aircraftman Class I William Ernest Warhurst (57788) (Telegraphist) Serious injuries, Rescued, Discharged from the RAAF: 11 June 1945

None of five US Servicemen on board became casualties; their names are not given in NAA records.

QANTAS Empire Flying Boats lost in the period 1942-3 were Corio (VH-ADB) on 30 January 1942 (Pilot Officer William George Cruikshank (267534)); Coogee (VH-ABC, A18-12) on 27 February 1942 (Flying Officer Robert John Love (400004)); Circe (G-AETZ) on 28 February 1942 (Flight Lieutenant William Bloxham Purton (296)); Centaurus (G-ADUT) and Corinna (G-AEUC) at Broome on 3 March 1942; Corinthian (G-AEUF) at Darwin on 22 March 1942; Calypso (G-AEUA, A18-11) near Daru PNG on 8 August 1942; and Camilla (VH-ADU) on 22 April 1943 (Pilot Officer Walter Robert Bartley (267521)).

References:

Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour On-Line Records
Commonwealth War Graves Commission On-Line Records
Department of Veterans’ Affairs On-Line WWII Nominal Roll
National Archives of Australia On-Line Record A705, 166/13/41

Bibliography:

Bennett-Bremner, E. Front Line Airline: The War Story of QANTAS Empire Airways Limited, Angus and Robertson, Sydney, 1944
Fysh, H. (Sir Hudson) QANTAS at War, Angus and Robertson, Sydney NSW, 1968