LEST WE FORGET

Pilot Officer Harold John WAGNER

Service No: 4215
Born: Toowoomba QLD, 13 June 1904
Enlisted in the RAAF: 17 January 1942 (at Melbourne VIC)
Unit: Headquarters North Eastern Area, Townsville QLD
Died: Aircraft Accident (No. 33 Squadron Empire Flying Boat A18-12), Townsville QLD, 27 February 1942, Aged 37 Years
Buried: Townsville War Cemetery, QLD
CWGC Additional Information: Son of John Henry and Catherine Wagner; husband of Vivien Beatrice Aileen Wagner, of Kingaroy.
Roll of Honour: Kingaroy QLD
Remembered: Panel 97, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT

At 1802 hours on 27 February 1942, No. 33 Squadron Empire Flying Boat A18-12 crashed at Townsville while landing after the test flight following a fifty-hour inspection. Those on board were:

Leading Aircraftman Maurice Clayton (15065) (Fitter II Engines)
Pilot Officer Peter Satterswaite Devonshire (407942) (Second Pilot)
Corporal Ray Silvester Diggles (93900) (Supernumerary)
Pilot Officer Alan Filmer (274159) (Supernumerary) Slightly Injured, Discharged from the RAAF: 30 November 1945
Corporal William James French (10429) (Fitter II Airframe)
Flying Officer Leonard Charles Laurence (264288) (Supernumerary) Seriously Injured, Discharged from the RAAF: 22 December 1943
Flying Officer Robert John Love (400004) (Pilot) Dangerously Injured, Died 27 February 1942
Sergeant John Gordon Nicholson (17708) (Wireless Operator)
Leading Aircraftman Kenneth Macleay Poulton (34542) (Wireless Operator) Seriously Injured, Discharged from the RAAF: 24 March 1944
Corporal Ronald Short (15928) (Fitter II Engines) Dangerously Injured, Died: 3 March 1942
Pilot Officer Harold John Wagner (4215) (Supernumerary)

A18-12 was the QANTAS Empire Flying Boat Coogee that was on charter to the RAAF. The accidental loss of Coogee occurred during a disastrous five week period that saw the loss of five of QANTAS’s ten flying boats which resulted in a huge reduction of Australia’s long range airlift capacity.

QANTAS Empire Flying Boats lost in the period 1942-3 were Corio (VH-ADB) on 30 January 1942 (Pilot Officer William George Cruikshank (267534)); Coogee (VH-ABC, A18-12) on 27 February 1942 (Flying Officer Robert John Love (400004)); Circe (G-AETZ) on 28 February 1942 (Flight Lieutenant William Bloxham Purton (296)); Centaurus (G-ADUT) and Corinna (G-AEUC) at Broome on 3 March 1942; Corinthian (G-AEUF) at Darwin on 22 March 1942; Calypso (G-AEUA, A18-11) near Daru PNG on 8 August 1942; and Camilla (VH-ADU) on 22 April 1943 (Pilot Officer Walter Robert Bartley (267521)).

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, 203