Leading Aircraftman Albert Francis THOMAS

Service No: 13975
Born: Prahran VIC, 16 December 1922
Enlisted in the RAAF: 8 April 1941
Unit: No. 1 Operational Training Unit, Bairnsdale VIC
Died: Aircraft Accident (No. 1 Operational Training Unit Hudson aircraft A16-38), Bairnsdale, 27 October 1942, Aged 19 Years
Buried: St Kilda General Cemetery, VIC
CWGC Additional Information: Son of William and Ruby Elizabeth Thomas, of Prahran.
Roll of Honour: Prahran VIC
Remembered: Panel 113, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT

With 915 hours on airframe and during a filming of A16-38 in the air diving and levelling near the ground for a Cinesound film unit (Fox Movietone), disaster struck at 1500 hours on the 27 October 1942 on circuit of Bairnsdale Aerodrome during a test flight following its 80 hours service. When pulling out of high speed shallow dive at 80 feet and some 200 yards down from the camera, the starboard wing failed at wing station # 144, causing part of the outer wing (3 feet from engine) and spar to separate from the aircraft, with the aircraft then rolling inverted, causing a further failure of the tail plane, with the aircraft then crashing into the ground and exploding. The crew members were all killed instantly. The starboard wing panel was sent to the CSIRO for metallurgy inspection. The finding was that the mainplanes had been repaired according to then accepted practices, but had failed in flight where numerous patched repairs were made during its overhaul at No. 5 Aircraft Depot. The report stated that many Hudsons withdrawn from operational service and used in 1OTU had been flown to the limits with resultant heavy loadings on their wings on operational service. All Hudsons with a comparable number of flying hours were inspected with some found to have similar problems, which resulted in their replacement by GAF Beaufort aircraft in the near future in operational squadrons.

Extract from ADF Serials Team On-Line Lockheed Hudson A16-38 Entry

The crew members of A16-38 were:

Aircraftman Class 1 Neville Leigh Chesshire (49572)
Corporal Howard Preston Smith (17024) (Fitter IIE)
Squadron Leader Francis Charles Tampion (349) (Pilot)
Leading Aircraftman Albert Francis Thomas (13975) (Fitter IIE)


ADF Serials Team On-Line Records
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, 134

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