Flying Officer James Bell KNIGHT

Service No: 19067
Born: Geelong VIC, 3 January 1918
Enlisted in the RAAF: 4 July 1940
Unit: No. 22 Squadron
Died: Aircraft Accident (No. 22 Squadron Boston aircraft A28-26), Vivigani PNG, 11 October 1943, Aged 25 Years
Buried: Port Moresby (Bomana) War Cemetery PNG
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Archie Cecil Clarence and Margaret May Knight, of Geelong West, Victoria
Roll of Honour: Geelong VIC
Remembered: Panel 101, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT

On 11 October 1943, Boston A28-26 was carrying out a test of American bombing equipment installed in Boston aircraft and 8 x 100lb anti-personnel bombs were carried. During take-off from the fighter strip at Vivigani, half way down the air strip the nose wheel tyre blew out and the pilot endeavoured to stop the aircraft with some 700 yards of runway available to him. However the entire nose wheel assembly was then seen to collapse and the aircraft immediately fell on is nose. The aircraft skidded along the metal strip about 400 yards in this attitude and arriving at the end of the runway, it crashed into a six foot ditch which caused the aircraft to overturn and catch fire. It was thought that the Pilot was killed in the crash, while the gunner was thrown clear as the tail went up. The armourer who was in a dazed condition in the rear cockpit was removed quickly and placed in an ambulance. It was impossible to get the Flying Officer Knight Pilot out and all personnel were forced to remain at a safe distance as the aircraft blew up in two large explosions.

The crew members of A28-26 were:

Flying Officer James Bell Knight (19067) (Pilot)
Leading Aircraftman Richard Francis McGlade (13731) (Fitter/ Armourer) Slightly Injured, Discharged from the RAAF: 24 October 1945
Flight Sergeant Keith Guest Thompson (420078) (Wireless Air Gunner) Severely Injured, Discharged from the RAAF: 19 May 1945


Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour On-Line Records
Commonwealth War Graves Commission On-Line Records
Department of Veterans’ Affairs On-Line WWII Nominal Roll
National Archives of Australia On-Line Record A705, 166/23/22

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