LEST WE FORGET

Flying Officer Richard Holt MORGAN

Service No: 420901
Born: Killara NSW, 22 January 1911
Enlisted in the RAAF: 6 December 1941
Unit: No. 160 Squadron (RAF)
Died: Aircraft Accident (No. 160 Squadron Liberator aircraft FL911), off Sri Lanka, 6 May 1944, Aged 33 Years
Buried: Unrecovered
CWGC Additional Information: No additional information
Roll of Honour: Unknown
Remembered: Column 443, Singapore Memorial, Singapore
Remembered: Panel 127, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT
Remembered: St. Alban’s Anglican Church Roll of Honour, Lindfield NSW

On 6 May 1944 Liberator FL911 was detailed to carry out an Air Firing and Depth Charge dropping exercise to the sea west of Puttalam, Ceylon. Take off was to be at 1530 hours and six Mark VIII 250 lb depth charges were to be carried. After take-off the aircraft circled the aerodrome until the target aircraft had streamed its drogue. At about 1600 hours they were about 15 miles off the coast from Puttalam and the air firing exercise was completed. FL911 then set a course of 200 deg and flew for about 10 minutes further out to sea. At a position 35 to 40 miles from the coast, a smoke float was dropped from 2,000 feet. At 1700 hours FL911 was positioned for a low level attack on the float and height was lost to 50 feet. Two 250lb depth charges were released. The pilot heard the charges explode immediately on release, and the nose of the aircraft was immediately thrown up, and required the combined efforts of both pilots to right it. The aircraft began to turn to port, and airspeed dropped to 110 mph. Full aileron having failed to correct this turn, the starboard engines were throttled back, and full power on the port engines applied. At this time the only trimming gear operative was the rudder trim. A distress message was sent out, but the aircraft still continued to lose height, and was ditched slightly tail down, when the aircraft broke in two. The estimated time between the explosion and ditching was 45 seconds.

The crew members of FL911 were:

Warrant Officer T O P Baker (413730) (RNZAF) (Wireless Operator/Air Gunner) Rescued
Sergeant Andrew Cameron (1566579) (RAFVR) (Flight Engineer)
Warrant Officer II George Edgar Cooper (R/161858) (RCAF) (Wireless Operator/Air Gunner)
Flying Officer J D Dean (419323) (RNZAF) (Pilot) Rescued
Sergeant Jack Dunkley (1580251) (RAFVR) (Wireless Operator/Air Gunner)
Gunner Norman Goodess (1614372) (Supernumerary) (Royal Artillery, British Army)
Flying Officer George Korski (J/26959) (RCAF) (Gunner)
Gunner Arthur Leeming (14290081) (Supernumerary) (Royal Artillery, British Army)
Warrant Officer II Franklin Thomas Mabee (R/156988) (RCAF) (Wireless Operator/Air Gunner)
Flying Officer Duncan Farquhar MacDonald (134739) (RAFVR) (No. 1303 Meteorology Flight)
Flying Officer Richard Holt Morgan (420901) (Second Pilot)
Sergeant Douglas Henry Skinner (42342) (RNZAF) (Wireless Operator/Air Gunner)
Flight Sergeant William Robert Wiseman (1432804) (RAFVR) (Navigator)

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, 166/28/162
Register of War Memorials in New South Wales On-Line