LEST WE FORGET

Sergeant Colin Burns TRELOAR

Service No: 407554
Born: Adelaide SA, 2 April 1920
Enlisted in the RAAF: 9 November 1940
Unit: No. 205 Squadron (RAF), Selatar, Singapore
Died: Air Operations (No. 205 Squadron Catalina aircraft W84178), Gulf of Siam, 7 December 1941, Aged 21 Years
Buried: Unrecovered
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Francis James Treloar and Fanny Lydia Treloar, of North Adelaide, South Australia
Roll of Honour: Adelaide SA
Remembered: Column 412, Singapore Memorial, Singapore
Remembered: Panel 131, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT
Remembered: World War II Honour Roll, National War Memorial of SA, North Terrace, Adelaide

Sergeant Treloar is the first Australian serviceman to be killed in the War against Japan.

A Catalina aircraft of No. 205 Squadron RAF left Seletar at 1820 hours on 6 December on a patrol waters in the Gulf of Siam south of Cambodia Point. The aim of the search was to locate a large Japanese convoy reported to be in the area and travelling west. Only two merchant vessels were sighted on the patrol and the aircraft returned to Seletar and landed at 0730 hours on 7 December. At 0530 hours on 7 December a second Catalina of No. 205 Squadron with Sergeant Colin (Ike) Treloar as Navigator took off from Seletar to relieve the Catalina which had gone off at 1820 hours and to conduct a similar patrol.

This aircraft was last definitely contacted by wireless telegraphy at about 0800 hours on 7 December at which time she would have been approximately in the area which it was suspected the convoy she was seeking was sailing. At about 0800 hours on 7 December the Catalina was flying in the Gulf of Siam just south of Cambodia Point and arrived over the fleet in a small break in the clouds when it was swooped on and destroyed by a Japanese fighter 14 hours before the attack on Pearl Harbour.

Extract from Hall, E.R. (Eldred Rayner) (O3341) Glory in Chaos, Sembawang Association West Coburg VIC, 1989 – Page 69

Catalina W84178 of No. 205 Squadron took off from Singapore shortly before dawn on 7 December 1941, detailed to intercept a convoy in the China Sea near Siam. The enemy claimed to have attacked with fighters and destroyed a flying boat in the Gulf of Siam on 7th December 1941. W84178 failed to return to base. It was later recorded that the missing crew had lost their lives at sea.

The crew members of W84178 were:

Sergeant Stanley Abram (909403) (RAFVR)
Sergeant Edward Alexander Bailey (567431) (RAF)
Flying Officer Patrick Edwin Bedell (81334) (RAF)
Aircraftman Class 1 William Thomas David Burnett (1004210) (RAFVR)
Leading Aircraftman Arthur Henry Chapman (967971) (RAFVR)
Sergeant Peter Eaton (755182) (RAFVR)
Sergeant Colin Burns Treloar (407554) (Observer)
Warrant Officer William Edward Webb (590711) (RAF) (Pilot)

References:

Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour On-Line Records (RAAF Casualty Information compiled by Alan Storr (409804))
Commonwealth War Graves Commission On-Line Records
Department of Veteran’s Affairs On-Line WWII Nominal Roll
National Archives of Australia On-Line Record A705, 163/168/103