SKUTHORP Ronald Munro 406117

LEST WE FORGET

Flying Officer Ronald Munro SKUTHORP

Service No: 406117
Born: Boulder WA, 6 October 1920
Enlisted in the RAAF: 15 August 1940
Unit: No. 4 Squadron
Died: Air Operations (No. 4 Squadron Boomerang aircraft A46-181), Wewak PNG, 17 January 1945, Aged 24 Years
Buried: Lae War Cemetery, PNG
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Garnett Slemen Skuthorp and Susette Ethel Skuthorp, of Cottesloe, Western Australia.
Roll of Honour: Cottesloe WA
Remembered: Panel 98, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT
Remembered: Cenotaph Undercroft, State War Memorial, Kings Park WA

Constantly on the watch for enemy activity, two Boomerangs, one flown by Flying Officer Ron Skuthorp, set out on a low level reconnaissance around Boram. They got too close, for the enemy’s liking, to Cape Moem where he had his stuff planted. Flying Officer Skuthorp’s plane was shot down. It was too late, however, for the Japanese to save his goods, as the other Boomerang had seen “sufficient.”

As the crews say, “The game was on.” No. 100 Squadron put out a formation under Flight Lieutenant Ted Christensen. The first sticks landed amongst the Japanese motor trucks scattering their camouflage and sending the trucks “somersaulting into the air.” This strike was made at 1330 hours and the fires started on Boram peninsula were burning three hours later, fanned by spasmodic explosions.

Extract from Graham, B. (Burton) and Frank Smyth, A Nation Grew Wings: The Story of the RAAF Beaufort Squadrons in New Guinea, Winterset House Publishers Melbourne VIC, 1946 – Page 210

On 17 January 1945, Boomerang A46-181 was fired upon by 4 machine guns when at flying at 150 feet near West Wewak, New Guinea, with the pilot (Flying Officer Skuthorp) seen flying away and losing height. The aircraft stalled into the treetops and when it impacted the ground, exploded and burst into flames killing the pilot. On 23 January the crash site was found and Flying Officer Skuthorp was given a full military burial.

References:

ADF Serials Team On-Line Record Boomerang A46-181
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, 208