LEST WE FORGET

Flight Sergeant George Edwin GARRETT

Service No: 405519
Born: Lowood QLD, 28 October 1919
Enlisted in the RAAF: 31 March 1941
Unit: No. 612 Squadron (RAF), RAF Station Chivenor
Died: Aircraft Accident (No. 612 Squadron Wellington aircraft MP656), near Chivenor, 5 June 1943, Aged 23 Years
Buried: Heaton (Puncharden) St Augustine Churchyard, Devon
CWGC Additional Information: Son of the Revd. Herbert James Garrett and Francis Margaret Garrett, of Brisbane, Queensland, Australia; husband of Ailsa Garrett, of Brisbane
Roll of Honour: Brisbane QLD
Remembered: Panel 122, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT

While on a day non-operational training flight on 5 June 1943, Wellington MP656 crashed approximately one mile south of Chivenor at 1357 hours. Four of those on board were killed and two were seriously injured.

The crew members of MP656 were:

Flight Sergeant George Edwin Garrett (405519) (Third Pilot)
Wing Commander James Seaton Kendrick (37721) (RAF) (Pilot)
Flying Officer Peter Millington (133871) (RAFVR) (Second Pilot)
Flight Lieutenant R Neale (114389) (RAFVR) (Wireless Air Gunner) Seriously Injured
Sergeant H B Trethewey (1355460) (RAFVR) (Wireless Air Gunner) Seriously Injured
Warrant Officer II Donald Yuill Turnbull (R/83017) (RCAF) (Navigator Bomb Aimer)

A report on the accident stated: “the aircraft was seen on the downwind leg of the circuit with its wheels down, the nose of the aircraft went down, the wheels were retracted, and the aircraft continued in a downward spiral to port. The port wing hit a tree and then passed over a small ship about 60 feet high and crashed on sands on the estuary of the River Taw about 60 yards from the ship and caught fire on impact. The aircraft broke at the ASV station and one member of the crew was thrown clear, while another extricated himself when under water. The survivors had no knowledge that anything was wrong with the aircraft, but another Pilot saw some puffs of smoke from the port engine some minutes before.” In his remarks on the accident the Group Captain RAF Chivenor said: “The accident appears to be primarily caused through failure of the engine of the aircraft.”

References:

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, 166/15/63