LEST WE FORGET
Sergeant Keith Richard Theodore McCRACKAN
Service No: 406219
Born: Wickepin WA, 28 March 1922
Enlisted in the RAAF: 12 September 1940
Unit: No. 2 Squadron, operating from Namlea
Died: Air Operations: (No. 2 Squadron Hudson aircraft A16-46), Kema Bay, Celebes, 12 January 1942, Aged 19 Years
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Theodore James McCrackan and Muriel McCrackan, of Wickepin, Western Australia; husband of Shirley Norma McCrackan, of Wickepin.
Roll of Honour: Unknown
Remembered: Column 10, Ambon Memorial, Indonesia
Remembered: Panel 98, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT
Remembered: Cenotaph Undercroft, State War Memorial, Kings Park WA
Remembered: Honour Avenues, Kings Park WA
At dawn on 12th January the Allied air attacks on the enemy forces invading Celebes were resumed. On their way to Menado five Hudsons from Namlea were intercepted by three enemy float-planes and five Zeros —the first of these Japanese fighters to be reported in the area. The Zero pilots immediately turned the tables on the Hudson crews. In unequal combat, the details of which were never recorded, the aircraft piloted by Flight Lieutenant Parker Henry Russell Hodge (451) and Flying Officer Peter Creighton Gorrie (407168) were both shot down from between 6,000 and 10,000 feet. Two other Hudsons, piloted by Flight Lieutenant Geoffrey Sattler (260510) (No. 13 Squadron) and Flight Lieutenant Arthur Robert Barton (270525) (No. 13 Squadron), failed to return and their crews were later listed as “presumed lost”. The only aircraft of the flight to return was that piloted by Flight Lieutenant Robert Wylie Burns Cuming (200540) who reported having seen the Hudsons flown by Hodge and Gorrie shot down. When, half an hour later, those captained by Sattler and Barton had not returned, permission was given to the base operators to break wireless silence in an endeavour to call them up. There was a prompt reply, in good signals procedure, informing the base that the pilots had no message for them. That reply, if in fact it did come from either of the two missing crews, was the last the squadron heard of them.
Extract from Gillison, D.N. (Douglas Napier) (254475) Royal Australian Air Force 1939-1942, Australian War Memorial, Canberra, 1962 – Page 307
The crew members of A16-46 were:
Sergeant John Edward Farrington (17633) (Wireless Air Gunner)
Flying Officer Peter Creighton Gorrie (407168) (Pilot)
Sergeant Wesley Leonard Morgan (408112) (Second Pilot)
Sergeant Keith Richard Theodore McCrackan (406219) (Wireless Air Gunner)
No. 2 Squadron lost Hudson A16-46 (Flight Lieutenant Parker Henry Russell Hodge (451) (Pilot)) on 12 January 1942.
No. 13 Squadron lost Hudson aircraft A16-7 (Flight Lieutenant Arthur Robert Barton (270525) (Pilot)) on 12 January 1942.
No. 13 Squadron Hudson lost A16-67 (Flight Lieutenant Geoffrey Sattler (260510) (Pilot)) on 12 January 1942.
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, 163/141/432
Bennett, J. (John William) Highest Traditions: the history of No. 2 Squadron RAAF, Australian Government Publishing Service, 1995
Grantham, S.R. (Sidney Richard) (6590) The 13 Squadron Story, S.R. Grantham, Dee Why NSW 2099, 1991
Wilson, S. (Stewart) Anson, Hudson and Sunderland in Australian Service, Aerospace Publications Weston Creek ACT 2611, 1992