LEST WE FORGET
Flying Officer Theodor Victor Benno KLEINIG
Service No: 416433
Born: Stockwell SA, 9 October 1917
Enlisted in the RAAF: 23 June 1941
Unit: No. 8 Squadron, Vivigani
Died: Air Operations (No. 8 Squadron Beaufort aircraft A9-444), 25 December 1943, Aged 26 Years
Buried: Port Moresby (Bomana) War Cemetery, PNG
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Johann Hermann Kleinig and Dorothea Caroline Rosine Kleinig, of Eudunda, South Australia.
Roll of Honour: Truro SA
Remembered: Panel 99, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT
Remembered: World War II Honour Roll, National War Memorial of SA, North Terrace, Adelaide
On Christmas Day, the Beauforts bombed Lakunai dispersal areas, returning at 6.45 a.m. One of the Beauforts, A9-444, had one of his wing-bombs hungup, unnoticed. When the aircraft came in to land, it touched down on the strip and the bomb became dislodged, fell and exploded with a terrific blast. The Beaufort, still travelling at some speed, was blown to bits and set on fire and its crew killed.
Christmas Day, 1943, was spent under a cloud of sorrow.
Extract from Graham, B. (Burton) and Frank Smyth, A Nation Grew Wings: The Story of the RAAF Beaufort Squadrons in New Guinea, Winterset House Publishers Melbourne VIC, 1946 – Page 85
Beaufort A9-444 made a heavy landing at Vivigani airstrip, Goodenough Island, when returning from a bombing mission on 25 December 1943. This caused a 250lb General Purpose bomb which had failed to release, to fall off and explode under the tail of the aircraft. The aircraft was destroyed by fire and all the crew members were killed.
The crew members of A9-444 were:
Flying Officer Theodor Victor Benno Kleinig (416433) (Pilot)
Flying Officer Stanley James Miller (420699) (Wireless Air Gunner)
Pilot Officer Edwin John Turk (428376) (Navigator Bomb Aimer)
Flight Sergeant Barry Cameron White (418030) (Wireless Air Gunner)
Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour On-Line Records
Commonwealth War Graves Commission On-Line Records
Department of Veteran’s Affairs On-Line WWII Nominal Roll
National Archives of Australia On-line Record A9845, 257