Wing Commander James Patrick RYAN

Commanding Officer, No. 6 Operational Training Unit, 1943-4
Commanding Officer, RAAF Station Darwin 1944-5 (No. 52 Operational Base Unit)

Service No: 290621
Born: Kalgoorlie WA, 24 September 1916
Enlisted in the RAAF: 8 January 1940 (at Parafield SA)
Unit: No. 52 Operational Base Unit, Darwin NT
Died: Aircraft Accident (No. 6 Communication Unit Vengeance aircraft A27-527), Port Keats, NT, 11 September 1945, Aged 28 Years
Buried: Adelaide River War Cemetery, NT
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Denis and Marion Josephine Ryan; husband of Joanne Duffel Ryan, of West Perth, Western Australia.
Roll of Honour: Kalgoorlie WA
Remembered: Panel 113, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT
Remembered: Cenotaph Undercroft, State War Memorial, Kings Park WA
Remembered: Honour Avenues, Kings Park WA

Wing Commander Ryan was a Dental Surgeon.

On 11 September 1945 tragedy struck with the crash of Vengeance A27-527 at Port Keats. Flying Officer Morgan (1) had departed Batchelor to pick up the Station Commander of RAAF Darwin, Wing Commander Ryan, and fly him from Broome to Darwin. After leaving Wyndham on the return journey the engine began running roughly. The pilot could smell petrol fumes and decided to land at Port Keats, where the pilot made two dummy runs before commencing the landing. When the flaps were lowered at 800 feet, the aircraft burst into flame, enveloping the passenger’s cockpit. The passenger made no attempt to escape and appeared to be unconscious. The aircraft then went into a steep dive and the controls would not respond. Flying Officer Morgan was thrown out, as his next recollection was hanging from a tree by his parachute. The tail of the aircraft burnt off before crashing. The subsequent inquiry concluded that there was a petrol leak which gassed the passenger into unconsciousness. When the flaps were lowered the exhaust ignited gas trapped in the flaps.

(1) Flying Officer Keith Beatty Morgan (412019) was discharged from the RAAF on 26 November 1945.

Extract from RAAF Historical Section, Units of the Royal Australian Air Force: A Concise History Volume 4 Maritime and Transport Units, Australian Government Publishing Service, 1995 – No. 6 Communication Unit


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 A705, 166/36/618

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