MUTTON George 406030

LEST WE FORGET

Sergeant George MUTTON

Service No: 406030
Born: Perth WA, 14 July 1915
Enlisted in the RAAF: 25 May 1940
Unit: No. 84 Squadron (RAF), Palembang, Sumatra
Died: Aircraft Accident (No. 84 Squadron Blenheim aircraft 9276), Sumatra, 12 February 1942, Aged 26 Years
Buried: Unrecovered
CWGC Additional Information: Son of George and Liela Alice Mutton, of Cronulla, New South Wales, Australia.
Roll of Honour: Nedlands WA
Remembered: Column 422, Singapore Memorial, Singapore
Remembered: Panel 127, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT
Remembered: Cenotaph Undercroft, State War Memorial, Kings Park WA

On P2 (Palembang 2 Airfield) , just after midnight on 11/12 February, 13 Blenheims of Nos. 84 and 211 Squadrons and 11 Hudsons of Nos. 1 and 8 Squadron RAAF and No. 62 Squadron RAF were waiting to take off. The Blenheims were to attack enemy shipping north of Banka Island and the Hudsons were to bomb Kluang aerodrome in southern Malaya. The flare path had been made ready and the first aircraft, a Blenheim of No. 211 Squadron, with Flying Officer (1) at the controls, roared into action and sped forward. It failed to take off and plunged into the jungle at the end of the flare path.

The second aircraft to attempt to take off, a Blenheim of No. 211 Squadron, with an all-RAF crew, also crashed into the jungle at the end of the flare path killing the pilot, Flight Lieutenant Julian Dennes William Hugh Clutterbuck (42300) (RAF), and navigator, Sergeant Herbert Grant Newstead (747854) (RAF). The gunner, Pilot Officer F.C. Joerin, survived the crash and left the aircraft.

A third aircraft, a Blenheim of No. 84 Squadron, with an all-RAAF crew, in taking off clipped the trees at the end of the flare path, did a turn to port and hit the administrative building at the other end of the airfield and crashed into the undergrowth. In the dark, rescuers could not find any survivors. The following morning, Flight Sergeant Jack Furze (2), of Station Headquarters, with another airman, was walking from the sleeping quarters to the Mess for breakfast and was surprised to see a swath cut through the jungle. Walking down this “track” they came across the wreckage of a Blenheim. As they were inspecting the wreckage they heard a groan coming from the tail section and on looking closer found the gunner who had been missed by the earlier rescuers. They assisted the gunner from the wreckage. During the night Irvine had fired off six rounds with his revolver to attract attention. He was given medical treatment and recovered.

(1) Flight Lieutenant Bevan Lotwych West (407264) was discharged from the RAAF on 7 December 1944.
(2) Wing Commander John David Roderick Furze (O3194) was discharged from the RAAF on 10 August 1970.

Extract from Hall, E.R. (Eldred Rayner) (O3341) Glory in Chaos, Sembawang Association West Coburg VIC, 1989 – Page 414

Blenheim 9726 of No 84 Squadron RAF took off on 12 February 1942 from Palembang, Java, to carry out a night raid. The aircraft got off the ground did a half circuit to come in to land, attempted to turn around the flare path and passed right through the orderly room. The aircraft was wrecked but did not catch fire.

The crew members of Blenheim 9726 (the third aircraft mentioned in Hall’s preceding extract) were:

Flight Sergeant Joseph Montague Hyatt (404144) (Pilot)
Sergeant Douglas Beatty Irvine (406007) (Wireless Operator Air Gunner) Injured, Discharged from the RAAF: 22 June 1945
Sergeant George Mutton (406030) (Observer)

Sergeant Irvine rejoined the Squadron after treatment. Both Sergeant Hyatt and Sergeant Mutton were killed instantly and were buried on the aerodrome at Palembang, with Chaplain McWilliams conducting the burial service.

Following post war searches the graves of Sergeant Hyatt and Sergeant Mutton could not be located as the area was overgrown with tropical vegetation. In 1951 it was recorded that they have no known grave.

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 Veteran’s Affairs On-Line WWII Nominal Roll
National Archives of Australia On-Line Record A705, 163/146/112