Warrant Officer John Garnet SHEARER

Service No: 428510
Born: Richmond VIC, 6 July 1924
Enlisted in the RAAF: 6 November 1942
Unit: No. 18 Squadron (RAF)
Died: Air Operations: (No. 18 Squadron Boston aircraft BZ489), off the Italian Coast, 7 April 1945, Aged 20 Years
Buried: Unrecovered
CWGC Additional Information: Son of John Arthur and Josephine Frances Shearer, of East Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.
Roll of Honour: Unknown
Remembered: Panel 19, Column 2, Malta Memorial, Malta
Remembered: Panel 130, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT

At 2304 hours on 6 April 1945 Boston BZ489 took off from Forli airfield to attack ferry terminals east of Pontelaggoscuro. When the aircraft was returning to base after the attack, a considerable amount of anti-aircraft fire was encountered near Porto Gariboldi which the aircraft avoided by flying out to sea, but experiencing fire all the time. Shortly after, an explosion occurred and the aircraft crashed into the sea from 1,000 feet. On impact, the pilots hatch flew off and he climbed out. He swam around the tail of the aircraft the only part being visible the rest of the aircraft being under water. At that moment the dinghy inflated and he climber into it, by which time the aircraft had sunk. The pilot was in the dinghy until 0230 hours on 8 April, and found he was within swimming distance of land. He swam ashore and local Army personnel took him to Station Sick Quarters Headquarters 324 Wing and then 22 Military Field Hospital. He saw no trace of the other members of the crew after the crash at 0020 hours on 7 April 1945. It was later recorded that the three missing crew members had lost their lives at sea.

The crew members of BZ489 were:

Sergeant James Cowe (993799) (RAFVR) (Air Gunner)
Sergeant Harold George Lake (1392540) (RAFVR) (Navigator Bomb Aimer)
Warrant Officer John Garnet Shearer (428510) (Wireless Operator Air)
Warrant Officer R T N Whitwell (1317900) (RAFVR) (Pilot) Rescued


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, 166/37/1020

Book Now Book Now