Lieutenant Colonel Francis THORNTHWAITE DSO MC

Service No: V159753 (Australian Army)
Born: Launceston TAS, 3 February 1891
Enlisted in the Army: 1 November 1939
Unit: Army Headquarters
Awarded the Military Cross (MC), 3 June 1916
Awarded the Distinguished Service Order (DSO), 1 January 1919 (Citation Title: AIF – 5 Division Ammunition Column – France & Flanders)
Died: Aircraft Accident (No. 2 Squadron Hudson aircraft Hudson A16-97), Canberra ACT, 13 August 1940, Aged 49 Years
Buried: Lismore Civil Cemetery VIC
CWGC Additional Information: Son of William Wright Thornthwaite and Elizabeth Thornthwaite: husband of Inez Thornthwaite, of Derrinallum. Presbyterian
Roll of Honour: Lismore VIC
Remembered: Panel 11, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT

At 1050 hours on 13 August 1940, No. 2 Squadron Hudson A16-97 spun and crashed 3 kms east of Canberra aerodrome. Everyone on board was killed. This accident had profound affects on the highest level of Australia’s Government and Defence hierarchy during a critical period early in World War II. On board A16-97 were:


Aircraftman Charles Joseph Crosdale (6673)
Flight Lieutenant Robert Edward Hitchcock (115) (Pilot)
Corporal John Frederick Palmer (2130)
Pilot Officer Richard Frederick Wiesener (607) (Navigator)


Mr. Richard Elford (Secretary to the Minister for Air)
The Honourable James Valentine Fairbairn (Minister for Air and Minister for Civil Aviation)
The Honourable Sir Henry Somer Gullett KCMG (Vice President of the Executive Council, Minister in Charge of Scientific and Industrial Research and Minister assisting the Minister for Information)
Brigadier the Honourable Geoffrey Austin Street MC (Minister for the Army and Minister for Repatriation)
Lieutenant Colonel Francis Thornthwaite DSO MC (V159753) (Army Headquarters)
Lieutenant General Sir Cyril Brudenell Bingham White KCB KCMG KCVO DSO (Chief of the General Staff)


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, 318; A9845, 319


Bennett, J. (John William) Highest Traditions: the history of No. 2 Squadron RAAF, Australian Government Publishing Service, 1995
Wilson, S. (Stewart) Anson, Hudson and Sunderland in Australian Service, Aerospace Publications Weston Creek ACT 2611, 1992

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