Pilot Officer Frederick Richard John McDOWELL

Service No: 403070
Born: Waverley NSW, 4 February 1917
Enlisted in the RAAF: 9 December 1940
Unit: No. 457 Squadron
Died: Air Operations: (No. 457 Squadron Spitfire aircraft BR589), near Fenton airfield NT, 6 July 1943, Aged 26 Years
Buried: Adelaide River War Cemetery NT
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Lancelot William and Lillian Isabel McDowell; husband of Jean Frances McDowell of Oatley, New South Wales
Roll of Honour: Oatley NSW
Remembered: Panel 106, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT
Remembered: Oatley War Memorial, Oatley NSW

On 6 July 1943, Spitfires BR589, BR499 and BS 197 were part of an 11 aircraft formation which was detailed to intercept Japanese aircraft which had crossed the coast and headed in the direction of Fenton airfield, Northern Territory. The three Spitfires were part of Blue Section of four aircraft which included Flight Sergeant Rex Wyndham Watson (404714) (Discharged: 19 December 1945) who had to return to base with an unserviceable Radio. The enemy aircraft were intercepted 35 miles east of Anson Bay at 20,000 feet and following the engagement, the three Spitfires of Blue Section were reported missing and failed to return to base. Over the next five days, a search for the three aircraft was carried out in the area and all landing fields were contacted. On 20 July the wreck of BR499 and the remains of Pilot Officer McDowell were found in the Fenton area, but no trace of the other two Spitfires was found.

The Pilots were:

Flying Officer Frank Drury Hamilton (403050) (Pilot BR589)
Pilot Officer Frederick Richard John McDowell (403070) (Pilot BR499)
Flying Officer Norman Frederick Robinson (401284) (Pilot BS197)


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, 166/26/171; A9845, 271
Register of War Memorials in New South Wales On-Line


Ilbery, P.L.T. (Peter Leslie Thomas) (422957) Hatching an Air Force: 2SFTS, 5SFTS, 1BFTS Uranquinty and Wagga Wagga, Banner Books Maryborough QLD 4650, 2002

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