Aircraftman Class 1 Brian Joseph LACEY

Service No: 68344
Born: Melbourne VIC, 21 June 1924
Enlisted in the RAAF: 29 July 1942
Unit: No. 47 Radar Direction Finding Unit, Geraldton WA
Died: Drowned in the Indian Ocean off Geraldton WA, 19 August 1943, Aged 19 years
Buried: Geraldton War Cemetery WA
CWGC Additional Information: Son of James Valentine and Alice Josephine Lacey, of Dulwich Hill, New South Wales.
Roll of Honour: Sydney NSW
Remembered: Panel 114, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT

(19 August 1943) This day, 68344 A.C.l LACEY, BRIAN JOSEPH was drowned in the surf on a beach about one mile from the unit. A search by three aircraft and service personnel from the shore revealed no further signs of him. Appreciation is recorded of the assistance rendered by a detachment of the United States NAVAL AIR FORCE who sent a truck and a boat to the scene and also a CATALINA aircraft to search the area.

(20 August 1943) Patrols along the beach revealed no signs of AC.1. LACEY. Patrols were maintained day and night in the hope of recovering his body.

(22 August 1943) FLIGHT LIEUTENANT Jack GIBBINGS (406440) of NUMBER FOUR SERVICE FLYING TRAINING SCHOOL has been appointed as Investigating Officer to enquire into the circumstances of the death of No.68344 A.C.1. LACEY, B.J.

(23 August 1943) FLIGHT LIEUTENANT GIBBINGS visited this unit this day in connection with his duties as Investigating Officer.
The body of AC.1. LACEY was recovered by a beach patrol, and arrangements made for his funeral.

(24 August 1943) The remains of AC.l. LACEY were interred this day at the WAR CEMETERY at GERALDTON.

No. 47 Radar Direction Finding Unit Operations Record Book A50 Entries dated 19 to 24 August 1943

Brian made a surf board from heavy packing timber and went surfing alone to the Back Beach on 19th August 1943 and went missing about 1400 hours. We searched more than 10 miles of coast on foot and an aircraft also joined the search. Some of us went 36 hours without sleep. Our Unit personnel found his body on 23rd August 1.5 miles south from where he had been surfing. He had a large bruise over the temple where we believe the heavy board struck him. That day I wrote to Mrs Lacey his mother. His funeral was on Tuesday.

Account of the event by Alan Stark (70771) as related in Brenkley, D.J. (Doug J.) RAAF Historical Record of No. 47 Radar RDF (RADAR) Geraldton WA, D.J. Brenkley, 2008 – page 72


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 A705, 166/24/171

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