THOMAS Harold Stuart 427166

LEST WE FORGET

Sergeant Harold Stuart William THOMAS

Service No: 427166
Born: Exeter England, 14 January 1923
Enlisted in the RAAF: 24 May 1942 (at Perth WA)
Unit: No. 20 Squadron, Bowen QLD
Died: Aircraft Accident (No. 20 Squadron Catalina aircraft A24-24), off Bowen, 17 August 1943, Aged 20 Years
Buried: Unrecovered
CWGC Additional Information: Son of William Henry and Maude Mary Thomas, of Claremont, Western Australia.
Roll of Honour: Unknown
Remembered: Panel 6, Sydney Memorial, Rookwood NSW
Remembered: Panel 101, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT
Remembered: Cenotaph Undercroft, State War Memorial, Kings Park WA
Remembered: Catalina Base Memorial, Rathmines NSW
Remembered: Rathmines Memorial Bowling Club, Rathmines NSW

Following a gunnery practice flight, Catalina aircraft A24-24 crashed and sank 8 kms off the coast near Bowen, Queensland at about 1630 hours on 17 August 1943. On landing on choppy seas, the port wing struck the water, causing the crash. On board were the crew members:

Sergeant Raymond Charles Ciglander (426048) (Navigator)
Sergeant Leslie George Dalgleish (12240) (Fitter IIA, Air Gunner)
Leading Aircraftman Ainslie Ivor Dent (20387) (Fitter IIE, Air Gunner)
Aircraftman Class 1 Cyril Leslie Edwards (72589) (Armourer, Air Gunner) Uninjured, Discharged from the RAAF: 24 December 1945
Sergeant Robin Fowler (11071) (Fitter IIE, Air Gunner) Slightly Injured, Discharged from the RAAF: 30 October 1945
Flying Officer Peter Keene (416430) (Pilot)
Flying Officer Stanley John Porteous (410419) (Second Pilot)
Sergeant Harold Stuart William Thomas (427166) (Wireless Operator Air Gunner)

and eight Australian Army members, all of whom were killed:

Sergeant Lloyd George Fiske (VX40288) (2/7th Australian General Hospital)
Staff Sergeant Leslie Harry Harrison (VX38770) (2/7th Australian General Hospital)
Sergeant Robert Ronald Harrison (TX2696) (2/7th Australian General Hospital)
Private Douglas McLaine (VX126184) (2/7th Australian General Hospital)
Private Irvine George Osborne (VX124121) (2/7th Australian General Hospital)
Captain Lawrence Edward Tansey (NX200513) (2/7th Australian General Hospital)
Private Kenneth Reginald Walker (VX124120) (2/7th Australian General Hospital)
Captain Douglas Charles Whitfield (VX47450) (2/7th Australian General Hospital)

References:

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, 145
Register of War Memorials in New South Wales On-Line

Bibliography:

McFarlane, C.C. (Cyrus C.) Tojo’s Fate: Australia’s secret war, Sid Harta Publishers Glen Waverley VIC 3150, 2009
McMillan A. (Andrew) Catalina Dreaming: rescues exciting missions and other stories about the famous Australian flying boats of WWII, Duffy and Snellgrove Potts Point NSW, 2002
Wilson, S. (Stewart) Catalina, Neptune and Orion in Australian Service, Aerospace Publications Weston Creek ACT 2611, 1991