WALKER Arthur Adnah 406907

LEST WE FORGET

Sergeant Arthur Adnah WALKER

Service No: 406907
Born: Esperance WA, 5 May 1917
Enlisted in the RAAF: 24 May 1941
Unit: No. 100 Squadron, Milne Bay
Died: Air Operations (No. 100 Squadron Beaufort aircraft A9-60), Solomon Islands, 3 October 1942, Aged 25 Years
Buried: Unrecovered
CWGC Additional Information: Son of George Henry and Gladys Rebecca Walker, of Victoria Park, Western Australia.
Roll of Honour: Unknown
Remembered: Panel 9, Port Moresby Memorial, PNG
Remembered: Panel 105, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT
Remembered: Cenotaph Undercroft, State War Memorial, Kings Park WA

On the night of 3rd-4th October Wing Commander John Raeburn Balmer (68), commanding No. 100 Squadron, led ten of his Beaufort crews on one of the unit’s most ambitious, exacting and, as it proved, disappointing attack missions. The target, a concentration of enemy ships sheltering in waters near Buin-Tonolei, off the Shortland Islands, was to be attacked with torpedoes by moonlight. Airborne about 1 am, the formation set out on its flight of 420 nautical miles, flying at 1,000 feet in moderately fine weather. Approaching the target rain squalls were encountered, in the last of which, apparently, two aircraft lost contact and the remainder were separated into two flights, one of which entered the target area to the east of the Shortlands and the other (as planned) to the west. It was now about 4 am. Height had been reduced to about 200 feet and navigation and formation lights had been extinguished. The eight aircraft went into attack, flying independently, each crew looking for its own target. Seven each found a ship and released their torpedo. At least four of these were observed by the rear gunners of the aircraft from which they had been dropped to be making good runs towards their targets. No hits were observed but the moon had become clouded and the crews considered it improbable that they had missed completely with all torpedoes. Two cruisers opened fire belatedly, indicating that the enemy had been unaware of the Beauforts’ approach. One enemy fighter was seen but there was no interception. To their disappointment at the apparent failure of the strike there was added for the crews a personal bitterness; four of their comrades—Flight Lieutenant Stumm (pilot), Flying Officer Hendy (observer) and Sergeants Hale and Walker (wireless air gunners)—did not return. With their aircraft they were posted missing and presumed lost. None of the other crews had any sure knowledge of their fate. The failure of the mission, on which the Beauforts had flown 950 nautical miles, was enquired into closely and a detachment of the squadron was withdrawn for further torpedo training. Even so it was agreed that the failure was due to defects in the torpedoes rather than lack of efficiency on the part of the crews.

Extract from Gillison, D. (Douglas) Royal Australian Air Force 1939-1942, Australian War Memorial, Canberra, 1962 – Page 640

The crew members of A9-60 were:

Sergeant Cecil Clive Hale (405679) (Wireless Air Gunner)
Flying Officer Kenneth Roy Hendy (408652) (Observer)
Flight Lieutenant Donald Charles Stumm (270681) (Pilot)
Sergeant Arthur Adnah Walker (406907) (Wireless Air Gunner)

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, 242

Bibliography:

Graham, B. (Burton) and Frank Smyth, A Nation Grew Wings: The Story of the RAAF Beaufort Squadrons in New Guinea, Winterset House Publishers Melbourne VIC, 1946
Wilson, S. (Stewart) Beaufort, Beaufighter and Mosquito in Australian Service, Aerospace Publications Weston Creek ACT 2611, 1990