Sergeant William Herbert RABBISH

Service No: 406903
Born: Williams WA, 7 December 1919
Enlisted in the RAAF: 24 May 1941
Unit: No. 100 Squadron, Milne Bay
Died: Air Operations (No. 100 Squadron Beaufort aircraft A9-29), Milne Bay, 22 December 1942, Aged 23 Years
Buried: Unrecovered
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Herbert Edwin and Alice Florence Rabbish; husband of Nancy Gertrude Rabbish, of Yarloop, Western Australia.
Roll of Honour: Yarloop WA
Remembered: Panel 9, Port Moresby Memorial, PNG
Remembered: Panel 105, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT
Remembered: Cenotaph Undercroft, State War Memorial, Kings Park WA

Beaufort A9-29 was detailed to carry out an Area ‘A’ reconnaissance on 22 December 1942. It was also ordered to carry out a practice torpedo attack on shipping in Milne Bay at the end of the patrol. The pilot was manoeuvring for the practice attack and was flying low over water which was calm and glassy. This condition caused the pilot to misjudge his height and both airscrews hit the water. The aircraft struck the water a second time nose down at a slow speed.

Three of the crew exited from the aircraft by the forward exit. According to their reports Sergeant Rabbish was moving aft at the time of the second impact apparently with the intention of releasing the dinghy, but he did not emerge from the rear exit. The aircraft sank within 3 minutes from the time of the crash in 200 feet of water, and although the other crew did their utmost to locate Sergeant Rabbish they were unsuccessful in their attempts.

The crew members of A9-29 were:

Sergeant John Robert Duncan (406777) (Pilot) Discharged from the RAAF: 24 July 1945
Sergeant Roy Harrington Nicholson (405696) (Wireless Air Gunner) Discharged from the RAAF: 5 March 1946
Sergeant William Herbert Rabbish (406903) (Wireless Air Gunner)
Pilot Officer Harry Joseph Thomas (416076) (Navigator) Discharged with the RAAF: 26 November 1945


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
Graham, B. (Burton) and Frank Smyth, A Nation Grew Wings: The Story of the RAAF Beaufort Squadrons in New Guinea, Winterset House Publishers Melbourne VIC, 1946
National Archives of Australia On-Line Record A9845, 21


Wilson, S. (Stewart) Beaufort, Beaufighter and Mosquito in Australian Service, Aerospace Publications Weston Creek ACT 2611, 1990

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