Flying Officer Finlay McQUEEN

Service No: 207758
Born: 3 April 1916, Location Unavailable
Enlisted in the RAAF: 11 September 1939
Unit: No. 31 Squadron, Coomalie Creek NT
Died: Air Operations: (No. 31 Squadron Beaufighter aircraft A19-60), Netherlands East Indies, 6 May 1943, Aged 27 Years
Buried: Unrecovered
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Malcolm and Alice Elizabeth McQueen, of East Kew, Victoria, Australia.
Roll of Honour: Unknown
Remembered: Panel 8, Ambon Memorial, Indonesia
Remembered: Panel 102, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT

For some time Japanese float-planes had been intercepting Allied reconnaissance aircraft in the Am Islands area, and the day before the Beaufighter attack a bomber crew had noticed several in the water at Taberfane. Bladin (Air Commodore F. Bladin, Air Officer Commanding North West Area) ordered an immediate attack by available Beaufighter aircraft. Led by Squadron Leader Gordon Walter Savage (168), the Beaufighters flew to Milingimbi airfield where they stayed overnight. Next morning before sunrise they took off and flew in formation through thunderstorms to Taberfane. The float-planes were well silhouetted against the white sand of the beach and two were anchored slightly off shore when the Beaufighters arrived. Savage checked his formation and then began a dive from about 1,300 feet, opening fire with his cannon which set one of the float-planes on fire. A Japanese bullet struck Savage’s machine, passing through the throttle controls and entering the fuel tank. But the self-sealing compound in the tank stopped the petrol leaking When the Beaufighters returned for a second run they saw columns of smoke rising above the float-planes. From then on the pilots passed back and forth and destroyed nine aircraft before all cannons had stopped firing due to faults. When Savage called his flight together again one machine, piloted by Flying Officer Budd (406971), did not join him and he and his navigator (Pilot Officer Finlay McQueen (207758)) were later posted missing.

Extract from Odgers, G.J. (George James) (VX127783) Air War Against Japan 1943-1945, Australian War Memorial, Canberra, 1957 – Pages 50-1


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 A9845, 14

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