Warrant Officer Francis Edward SMALLHORN

Service No: 408882
Born: East Malvern VIC, 19 September 1921
Enlisted in the RAAF: 20 June 1941
Unit: No. 5 Operational Training Unit
Died: Aircraft Accident (No. 5 Operational Training Unit Beaufighter aircraft A19-4), off Newcastle NSW, 8 November 1944, Aged 23 Years
Buried: Newcastle (Sandgate) War Cemetery NSW
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Walter Leslie and Eily Foy Smallhorn, of East Malvern, Victoria
Roll of Honour: Melbourne VIC
Remembered: Panel 113, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT
Remembered: The Capt. Clarence Smith Jeffries (V.C.) and Pte. William Matthew Currey (V.C.) Memorial Wall, Sandgate NSW

On 7 November 1944, Beaufighter A19-4 was detailed to carry out a night cross country flying exercise. The route was Williamtown – Tamworth – Dubbo and return to Williamtown and the weather forecast scattered thunderstorms with the cloud base down to 1,000 feet. Four aircraft took off at approximately 2130 hours, and when at 2330 hours, the weather at Dubbo deteriorated, the aircraft were ordered to return to base. Three of the aircraft returned, and A19-4 was seen over Williamtown at 0040 hours on 8 November. A19-4 attempted a landing but overshot and climbed away. No further sightings were made of and nothing was heard from the aircraft which failed to return to base. A port inner tank of the aircraft was found washed up on the beach, and two bodies of the crew were found and it was presumed that the aircraft had crashed into the sea on 8 November 1944.

The crew members of A19-4 were:

Sergeant William Lawrence Mather (443344) (Navigator Wireless)
Warrant Officer Francis Edward Smallhorn (408882) (Pilot)
Sergeant Brian George Sparkman (438404) (Navigator Wireless)


Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour On-Line Records
Commonwealth War Graves Commission On-Line Records
Department of Veterans’ Affairs On-Line WWII Nominal Roll
National Archives of Australia On-Line Record A705, 163/162/353; A9845, 11
Register of War Memorials in New South Wales On-Line

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