LEST WE FORGET

Sister Verdun Bernice SHEAH

Service No: 501253
Born: 3 March 1916, Location Unavailable
Enlisted in the RAAF: 1 July 1942
Unit: No. 1 Medical Air Evacuation Unit
Died: Aircraft Accident (No. 33 Squadron Dakota aircraft A65-54 (VH-CUP)), New Britain, 15 November 1945, Aged 29 Years
Buried: Rabaul (Bita Paka) War Cemetery, PNG
CWGC Additional Information: Daughter of Thomas and Josephine May Sheah, of Narrandera, New South Wales, Australia
Roll of Honour: Leeton NSW
Remembered: Panel 117, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT
Remembered: Narrandera World War II Memorial, Narrandera NSW

On a flight from Jacquinot to Rabaul on 15 November 1945, Dakota A65-54 crashed into the jungle in New Britain at about 0920 hours at position 05.12S 151.52E and all 27 people on board were killed. The aircraft impacted about 150 feet below the crest of a 7,000 mountain in dense jungle and it took rescue parties several days to reach the scene. On board A65-54 were:

Crew

Flight Sergeant Douglas Albert Bruderlin (444773) (Wireless Operator)
Flight Lieutenant Ronald Alexander Hanrahan (423723) (Pilot)
Flight Lieutenant Grahame Patrick Lobwein AFC (404723) (Co-Pilot)

Passengers

Sepoy Abdullah Jan (9508) (Indian Army) (14th Punjab Regiment)
Lieutenant Leonard Henry Beard (V196067) (8 Movement Control Group)
Leading Aircraftman Norman Harold Blake (431713) (112 Mobile Fighter Control Unit)
Leading Aircraftman Stanley William Bridge (69362) (No. 313 Radar Station)
Seaman David Thomas Bristow (PM8156) (RAN) (HMAS Bangalow)
Sepoy Chain Singh (17649) (Indian Army) (12th Frontier Force Regiment)
Major Laurence Balerno Cunningham (SX25194) (5 Base Sub Area AEME)
Leading Aircraftman Hugh Cushing (419913) (No. 112 Mobile Fighter Control Unit)
Sepoy Dina Nath (7381) (Indian Army) (17th Dogra Regiment)
Private Ronald Arthur Evans (VX78437) (10 Field Bakery Platoon AASC)
Lieutenant William Reaburn Grieve (VX135784) (18 Advanced Ordnance Depot)
Sepoy Gustasab Khan (17600) (Indian Army) (14th Punjab Regiment)
Naik Hamir Singh (11928) (Indian Army) (12th Frontier Force Regiment)
Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Dennis Hannon (SX11016) (1 Australian Army Dental Corps)
Lieutenant John Lisle Honey (RAN) (HDML 1354)
Sepoy Lakhu Ram (12148) (Indian Army) (12th Frontier Force Regiment)
Warrant Officer II Clive Frederick Martin MID (NX157274) (1 New Guinea Infantry Battalion)
Leading Aircraftman Maurice James Mills (137163) (No. 311 Radar Station)
Sepoy Muzaffar Ali (6786) (Indian Army) (14th Punjab Regiment)
Havildar Munshi (4406) (Indian Army) (17th Dogra Regiment)
Major Lionel Charles Saunders MID (VX20272) (HQ 1 Australian Army)
Sister Verdun Bernice Sheah (501253) (RAAF Nursing Service) (No. 1 Medical Evacuation Unit)
Sepoy Shiv Singh (18182) (Indian Army) (1st Punjab Regiment)
Lance Naik Sikandar Khan (12053) (Indian Army) (12th Frontier Force Regiment)

References:

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, 117; A9300, SHEAH V B
Register of War Memorials in New South Wales On-Line

Bibliography:

Balfe, J.D. (John Donellan) (272371) And Far From Home: Flying RAAF transports in the Pacific War and after, The MacMillan Company of Australia South Melbourne VIC 3205, 1985 – Chapter 10
Wilson, S. (Stewart) Dakota, Hercules and Caribou in Australian Service, Aerospace Publications Weston Creek ACT 2611, 1990