Corporal Cameron Henry KEYS

Service No: 12921
Born: Footscray VIC, 9 October 1911
Enlisted in the RAAF: 4 February 1941
Unit: Air Gunnery School, West Sale VIC
Died: Aircraft Accident (Air Gunnery School Ryan aircraft A50-12), near Sale VIC, 18 May 1944, Aged 32 Years
Buried: Sale War Cemetery, Victoria
CWGC Additional Information: Son of William Henry and Edith Cameron Keys, of Oakleigh; foster-son of Florence Elizabeth Keys, of Oakleigh
Roll of Honour: Oakleigh VIC
Remembered: Panel 116, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT

At 1056 hours on 18 May 1944, Ryan A50-12 crashed on private property at Nambok six miles west south west of the Sale aerodrome and Corporal Keys was killed. The pilot had been detailed to carry out an authorised test flight, and the crash was believed to be due to structural failure in the aircraft. At 3,500 feet, the Pilot dived the aircraft at speeds of 130 knots and while easing the aircraft out of a dive to commence a loop, a loud crack was heard accompanied by violent shuddering of the aircraft. The pilot eased the pressure on the control column to release the strain on the aircraft, and realizing something was serious had occurred, called to Corporal Keys to jump.  At this juncture the port main plane collapsed and both the pilot and the passenger ducked their heads into their cockpits, as the detached main plane smacked the side of the fuselage, and then rolled right over the top of the aircraft and away. The aircraft then went into a viscous inverted spin, and the pilot released his safety pin to his harness, was flung from the aircraft, and landed safely. Corporal Keys failed to release himself from his safety harness and was killed when the aircraft crashed.

The crew members of A50-12 were:

Flight Sergeant Clifford Gumbley (403511) (Pilot) Thrown clear and parachuted to safety, Discharged from the RAAF: 3 April 1945
Corporal Cameron Henry Keys (12921) (Fitter II Airframe) (Supernumerary)


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, 166/22/245

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