Pilot Officer Alan Sidney ROOKE

Service No: 410917
Born: Merino VIC, 4 February 1923
Enlisted in the RAAF: 27 March 1942
Unit: No. 221 Squadron (RAF)
Died: Aircraft Accident: (No. 221 Squadron Wellington aircraft MP759), Italy, 6 July 1944, Aged 21 Years
Buried: Bari War Cemetery, Italy
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Sidney and Amelia May Rooke, of Carapook, Victoria, Australia
Roll of Honour: Casterton VIC
Remembered: Panel 129, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT

On 6 July 1944 Wellington MP759 took off detailed to carry out an offensive shipping reconnaissance in the Arma Straight, Adriatic. The aircraft crashed during take-off and all the crew members were killed.

The crew members of MP759 were:

Pilot Officer Reginald Archibald Percival Brown (15705) (Wireless Air Gunner)
Flight Sergeant Frank Myers (1457886) (RAFVR) (Wireless Air Gunner)
Flight Sergeant Douglas George Passmore (1587095) (RAFVR) (Navigator Bomb Aimer)
Flying Officer Kenneth Frederick Pattison (151304) (RAFVR) (Pilot)
Pilot Officer Alan Sidney Rooke (410917) (Wireless Air Gunner)
Sergeant Thomas Esmond Sunley (1523634) (RAFVR) (Pilot)

A Court of Inquiry into the accident stated: “the accident occurred in fading light. Witnesses stated that it appeared the Pilot was having difficulty in getting the aircraft off. The Pilot finding the aircraft did not become airborne at the last flare tried to jettison his load butt with the fusing position “ON” the bombs were dropped live and 13 of them exploded on impact. There was no evidence to show how or why the fusing switches came to be in the “ON” position.” The Commanding Officer of No. 221 Squadron stated “there is no evidence to show the primary cause of the accident. I am in agreement with the Court that the bombs were dropped live and not that they exploded through fire.” The Group Commander stated “the cause was obscure. It seemed quite likely that the Pilot instructed his crew to jettison the bombs on finding he was not leaving the ground, and that the bombs were dropped live.”


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, 166/36/307

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