Sergeant Keith ROSS

Service No: 416192
Born: Prospect SA, 3 August 1921
Enlisted in the RAAF: 31 March 1941
Unit: No. 2 Squadron, Batchelor NT
Died: Air Operations (No. 2 Squadron Hudson aircraft A16-210), Timor, 27 December 1942, Aged 21 Years
Buried: Unrecovered
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Andrew George and Elsie Agnes Ross, of Kensington Park, South Australia
Roll of Honour: Adelaide SA
Remembered: Panel 10, Northern Territory Memorial, Adelaide River NT
Remembered: Panel 98, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT
Remembered: World War II Honour Roll, National War Memorial of SA, North Terrace, Adelaide

On 27 December, Wing Commander Moran (1) (A16-197) led six 2 Squadron Hudsons back to Lavai to attack storage at the port, and a motor transport concentration at the Lavai River crossing. Making landfall on the south coast of Timor, Moran split his formation, taking his flight of three to the stores, with Flight Lieutenant Austin (2) (A16-217) leading the other flight against the Motor Transport concentration. It was at this stage his formation was attacked by three Zeros, with the fighters concentrating on Austin’s flight and disabling his rudders. The last man in the flight, Flying Officer Merv Johns (A16-210), was straggling continuously, and the rest of the formation gave him as much protection as possible. Flight Lieutenant John Robertson’s (3) belly gunner (A16-160) was able to put a long burst into a Zero at 50 metres range, and the fighter fell away in flames. However, with two Zeros concentrating their attacks on A16-210, Johns’ aircraft was raked with fire and burst into flames from half way under the fuselage and shot up in the air out of control and finally spiralled into the sea. Now 10 kilometres from the Timor coast, the Zeros attacked for a further 15 minutes, but the remaining five Hudsons, all holed bar one, returned safely.

(1) Wing Commander Ralph Hart Moran (83) was discharged from the RAAF on21 July 1948.
(2) Wing Commander Sidney Austin DFC (260359) was discharged from the RAF on 1 July 1947.
(3) Squadron Leader John Walter Robertson (250658) was discharged from the RAAF on 30 August 1945.

Extract from Bennett, J. (John William) Highest Traditions: the history of No. 2 Squadron RAAF, Australian Government Publishing Service, 1995 – Pages 176-7

The crew members of A16-210 were:

Sergeant Jack Douglas Horseman (416339) (Wireless Air Gunner)
Flying Officer Mervyn William Cecil Johns (407242) (Pilot)
Pilot Officer John Frederic Nixon (401142) (Observer)
Sergeant Keith Ross (416192) (Wireless Air Gunner)
Sergeant Donald Lawson Tyler (416160) (Wireless Air Gunner)


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, 137


Wilson, S. (Stewart) Anson, Hudson and Sunderland in Australian Service, Aerospace Publications Weston Creek ACT 2611, 1992

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