LEST WE FORGET

Flying Officer George Erikson McNAUGHTON

Service No: 409182
Born: Orbost VIC, 14 May 1918
Enlisted in the RAAF: 19 July 1941
Unit: No. 210 Squadron (RAF), Detachment RAF Station North Front, Gibraltar
Died: Air Operations: (No. 210 Squadron Catalina aircraft FP154), off the Portuguese Coast, 22 March 1943, Aged 25 Years
Buried: Unrecovered
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Ewen Duncan McNaughton and Emma Sophia Jane McNaughton, of Caulfield, Victoria, Australia
Roll of Honour: Unknown
Remembered: Panel 11, Column 1, Malta Memorial, Malta
Remembered: Panel 126, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT

At 0812 hours on 22 March 1943 Catalina FP154 took off on an anti-submarine sweep off the north west of Cape St Vincent, Portugal. At 1523 hours a signal from base recalling the aircraft by 1915 hours was acknowledged. As no ETA was received by 1800 hours, the aircraft was called on all operational frequencies but no reply was received. A signal was received from the Air Attache, Lisbon stating that an aircraft thought to be a Catalina flew low over Sagres and crashed into the sea at 1600 hours on 22 March. No survivors were picked up but the bodies of two Sergeants were recovered. A later signal advised that the aircraft passed close to Cape St Vincent in direct line for Sagres point, climbed to avoid buildings and did a sharp turn to starboard crashing into the sea 50 yards from the centre of Sagres at 1542 hours. At the time visibility was very bad and it appears the aircraft was flying very low beneath a cold front in the vicinity of Cape St Vincent and was unaware of the presence of land due to bad visibility and possibly the radar being unserviceable. The aircraft appears to have climbed and turned at the same time and stalled into the sea when trying to avoid land.

The crew members of FB154 were:

Flight Sergeant Robert Joseph Gordon Campbell (949047) (RAFVR) (Air Gunner)
Sergeant Cyril Field (1070071) (RAFVR) (Flight Engineer)
Flying Officer Martin Joseph French (149854) (RAFVR) (Pilot)
Sergeant George Tod Wright Gibson (977499) (RAFVR) (Wireless Operator/Air Gunner) Remains recovered
Sergeant Ernest Hugh Strathearn Marsh (1365817) (RAFVR) (Wireless Operator/Air)
Sergeant Eric McKim (RAF) (Second Pilot)
Sergeant I L McLean (1084515) (RAFVR) (Wireless Operator/Air)
Flying Officer George Erikson McNaughton (409182) (Observer)
Sergeant Gilbert Joseph Orton (1495406) (RAFVR) (Fitter Mechanic/Air Gunner) Remains recovered
Sergeant Eric Joseph Smith (1379853) (RAFVR) (Wireless Operator/Air Gunner)

References:

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, 166/26/65