LEST WE FORGET

Leading Aircraftman James Emanuel SKILLEN

Service No: 2669
Born: Dinton, Wiltshire, 16 June 1918
Enlisted in the RAAF: 25 January 1937 (at RAAF Station Richmond NSW)
Unit: RAAF Headquarters (Detachment Alice Springs NT)
Died: Aircraft Accident (USAAF Transport C37 aircraft 5505 (VH-CCA)), 25 May 1942, Aged 23 Years
Buried: Alice Springs Cemetery, Northern Territory
CWGC Additional Information: Son of William and Ellen Skillen; husband of Bessie Pauline Skillen, of Baulkham Hills, New South Wales
Roll of Honour: Parramatta NSW
Remembered: Panel 97, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT

On 25 May 1942, Leading Aircraftman Skillen was killed when a US Army transport aircraft C37/5505 VH-CCA crashed soon after take-off from Alice Springs. The aircraft was to travel to Archerfield, Queensland via Batchelor Northern Territory. Leading Aircraftman Skillen, a Labourer was at the time a member of the RAAF Liaison detachment at Alice Springs and was proceeding on leave to Sydney to visit his seriously ill wife. Also killed in the crash was Flight Lieutenant Duncan Mathieson (2161).

The US Army crew members who were all killed were:

Second Lieutenant Russell L Callison (O-403883)
Private Marlin J Law (14061708)
Second Lieutenant Aubrey Lawless Tobias (O-409780)
Second Lieutenant William A O’Neill (O-425102) (Pilot)
Sergeant Rolfe M Smith (17025104)

References:

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, 163/162/364