Warrant Officer Michael James MATHERS

Service No: 410072
Born: Numurkah VIC, 27 November 1920
Enlisted in the RAAF: 8 November 1941
Unit: No. 43 Squadron (RAF)
Died: Air Operations: (No. 43 Squadron Spitfire aircraft EN296), Italy, 21 February 1945, Aged 24 Years
Buried: Unrecovered
CWGC Additional Information: Son of William John and Mary Gertrude Mathers, of Essendon, Victoria, Australia
Roll of Honour: Unknown
Remembered: Panel 19, Column 2, Malta Memorial, Malta
Remembered: Panel 127, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT

At 0900 hours on 21 February 1945 Spitfire EN296 was one of four aircraft which took off on a dive bombing mission. Flying at 5,000 feet over Lake Comacchio, Italy the formation led by Flight Lieutenant King (RAF) observed 10 bursts of 40mm anti-aircraft fire about 2 miles to the west.
Immediately after Warrant Officer Mathers (White 3) peeled off and was heard by White 4 on radio saying ‘I’ve had it’ or ‘It has had it’. The aircraft was seen to give off brown smoke which changed to a stream of white as the aircraft lost height and circled. When at 1,500 feet a small burst of flame was seen but then went out. The white smoke continued and the aircraft appeared to be making for a sandbar. The aircraft was still carrying one 500lb bomb when it hit the water of the lake and exploded at 0910 hours some 20 yards from the sandbar. Warrant Officer Mathers was not seen to bale out.


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, 166/27/790

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