Flying Officer John Burnett SELTH

Service No: 416795
Born: Goodwood SA, 27 December 1911
Enlisted in the RAAF: 11 September 1941
Unit: No. 299 Squadron (RAF), RAF Stoney Cross, Hampshire
Died: Aircraft Accident (No. 299 Squadron Ventura aircraft AE735), Wiltshire, 11 December 1943, Aged 31 Years
Buried: Oxford (Botley) Cemetery, Oxfordshire
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Edward McLean Selth and Ellen Wynne Selth, of Payneham, South Australia
Roll of Honour: Payneham SA
Remembered: Panel 130, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT
Remembered: World War II Honour Roll, National War Memorial of SA, North Terrace, Adelaide

On 11 December 1943, Ventura AE735 from RAF Stoney Cross, when carrying out a non-operational day training flight, crashed at 1220 hours at Kingston, Wiltshire, and all on board were killed.

The crew members of AE 735 were:

Warrant Officer II William Roy Chester (R/122563) (RCAF) (Wireless Air Gunner)
Flying Officer Albert Henry Salt (419222) (Navigator Bomb Aimer)
Sergeant Raymond Louis Sanders (1576004) (RAFVR) (Pilot)
Flying Officer John Burnett Selth (416795) (Navigator Bomb Aimer)
Flight Sergeant James McNae Thomson (R/159123) (Wireless Air Gunner)

In an enquiry into the accident the Unit Commander stated: “The aircraft struck high ground in a snow storm and all were killed. There was local bad weather at the scene of the crash. No W/T (radio) message was made by the aircraft contrary to orders and the Carburetor Heaters were found in the cold position. It was an error of judgment and disobedience of orders. The crew was briefed to get a ‘W/T Go’ before proceeding and was told to return if the weather was bad. Other crews on the same route obeyed orders and experienced no trouble.”

The Station Commander stated: “The Primary cause for the accident was an error of judgment on the part of the Pilot. A secondary cause was failure to obey orders on the part of the Wireless Operator.”


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 A9300, SELTH J B

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