Sergeant Herbert Frederick HEARLE

Service No: 406758
Born: Fremantle WA, 24 December 1920
Enlisted in the RAAF: 31 March 1941
Unit: No. 2 Squadron, Darwin NT
Died: Prisoner of War (Executed): Timor, 8 May 1942, Aged 21 Years
Buried: Ambon War Cemetery, Indonesia
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Harry Joseph and Ellen Amelia Hearle, of North Perth, Western Australia.
Roll of Honour: Unknown
Remembered: Panel 98, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT
Remembered: Cenotaph Undercroft, State War Memorial, Kings Park WA
Remembered: Honour Avenues, Kings Park WA

The supply sorties to Timor were being continued but still without much success. A Hudson crew captained by Flying Officer Neil Thomson Badger (407861) (No. 2 Squadron) tried again on 5th April, over Point Kurus, but the parachute broke away from the package, which was not recovered. Attempts by two other Hudson crews to supply the RAAF party on the island were more successful. The crews added to this operation an attack on Penfui aerodrome where they started fires in the barracks area. Similar attacks were made on Penfui on the nights of the 12th and 13th.

Extract from Gillison, D.N. (Douglas Napier) (254475) Royal Australian Air Force 1939-1942, Australian War Memorial, Canberra, 1962 – Page 558

Flight Lieutenant Cook’s Hudson aircraft (A16-159) was shot down on 13 April 1942 and crashed in the sea near the northern shore of Koepang Bay. The two pilots made the trek to the northern side of the island, leaving the wounded gunners in the care of local residents. The two wounded gunners were captured and executed by the Japanese with the date of death recorded as 8 May 1942.

The crew members of A16-159 were:

Flight Lieutenant Harold Oliver Cook (280229) (Pilot) Discharged from the RAAF: 26 December 1944.
Sergeant Herbert Frederick Hearle (406758) (Wireless Air Gunner) PoW, Executed 8 May 1942
Flying Officer Vivian Charles Leithhead (406858) (Second Pilot) Killed on Air Operations: 21 August 1943
Sergeant William Douglas Witham (404761) (Wireless Air Gunner) PoW: Executed 8 May 1942

Flight Lieutenant Cook and Flying Officer Leithhead joined the party of mostly No. 2 Squadron members that they had been attempting to resupply. The party evaded Japanese forces during which time Corporal Roy Ernest Andrews (18533) and two other members died before the party was rescued.


Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour On-Line Records
Bennett, J. (John William) Highest Traditions: the history of No. 2 Squadron RAAF, Australian Government Publishing Service, 1995
Commonwealth War Graves Commission On-Line Records
Department of Veteran’s Affairs On-Line WWII Nominal Roll
National Archives of Australia On-Line Record A9301, 406758


Gaston, Bruce DFC (406646), Harry Horner DFC OAM (406595), Raymond Storer (406666) (Editors), Aircrew for the Duration: of and by members of RAAF EATS Courses 10, 11, 12 & 13, Gaston Horner and Storer, Nedlands WA, 1990
Wilson, S. (Stewart) Anson, Hudson and Sunderland in Australian Service, Aerospace Publications Weston Creek ACT 2611, 1992

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