LEST WE FORGET

Sergeant Noel Sherrin GEAPPEN

Service No: 408074
Born: Glenora TAS, 8 December 1917
Enlisted in the RAAF: 10 October 1940
Unit: No. 84 Squadron (RAF), Palembang, Sumatra
Died: Air Operations (No. 84 Squadron Blenheim aircraft), Sumatra, 16 February 1942, Aged 24 Years
Buried: Unrecovered
CWGC Additional Information: No information provided
Roll of Honour: Unknown
Remembered: Column 422, Singapore Memorial, Singapore
Remembered: Panel 122, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT

Leaving P2 (Palembang No. 2 Airfield) on the morning of 16 February, a No. 84 Squadron Blenheim piloted by Sergeant Geappen crashed near Lahat on its way to Batavia in Java. Killed in the accident were the pilot and Sergeant Davey, Wireless Air Gunner, and Sergeant Gosbell, Observer, and three RAF personnel. The only survivor was Corporal Shaw, who was cared for by Chinese in the area.

Extract from Hall, E.R. (Eldred Rayner) (O3341) Glory in Chaos, Sembawang Association West Coburg VIC, 1989 – Page 418

Sergeant Davey was a member of the crew of a Blenheim aircraft of 84 Squadron which was reported to have crashed into the side of a hill south east of Lahat, Sumatra. The aircraft had left Palembang in the early hours of 16 February 1942 to proceed to Bandoeng, Java. It encountered bad weather on the way and the aircraft was forced to return, crashing into the hillside at Lahat, which is about 160 kms east of Palembang.

The crew members of the Blenheim aircraft were:

Sergeant Walter James Davey (406208) (Wireless Operator Air Gunner)
Sergeant Noel Sherrin Geappen (408074) (Pilot)
Sergeant Donald James Gosbell (400532) (Observer)

The four RAF ground crew members on board were:

Sergeant Brookes (1)
Sergeant Andrew Ross (565384) (RAF)
Corporal Ronald Francis Shaw (650188) (RAF) Injured, Died (PoW): 9 August 1945
Corporal David Henry Sumner (528883) (RAF)

(1) Sergeant Brookes, named in NAA records, is unable to be corroborated by Commonwealth War Graves Commission On-Line records.

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 Veteran’s Affairs On-Line WWII Nominal Roll
National Archives of Australia On-Line Records A705, 163/116/31