LEST WE FORGET

Sergeant Douglas John WEARNE

Service No: 408544
Born: Minyip VIC, 13 February 1920
Enlisted in the RAAF: 26 April 1941
Unit: No. 1 Operational Training Unit (RAF), RAF Silloth, Cumbria
Died: Aircraft Accident (No. 1 Operational Training Unit Hudson aircraft N 7308), Cumbria, 4 January 1943, Aged 22 Years
Buried: Silloth (Causewayhead) Cemetery, Home Low, Cumberland
CWGC Additional Information: Son of William Charles and Irene S. Wearne, of Echuca, Victoria, Australia.
Roll of Honour: Echuca VIC
Remembered: Panel 132, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT

Hudson N7308 took off from RAF Silloth on 4th January 1943, detailed to carry out solo practice including single engine flying. The aircraft crashed at 1028 hours at Green Point Ranges, in Silloth, Cumberland.

The crew members of N7308 were:

Pilot Officer R D Hall (RAF) (Wireless Air Gunner) Survived
Sergeant Leo Francis Ryan (416368) (Navigator Bomb Aimer)
Sergeant Douglas John Wearne (408544) (Pilot)

A Report into the accident, the Wing Commander RAF Silloth stated: “I commenced giving Wearne a check dual on Hudson N7308 previous to him flying solo. The behaviour of the aircraft was normal in every way. After about one hours flying I authorised Wearne to carry out various solo practices including single engine flying. I am quite satisfied that this pilot was quite competent to carry out the practices detailed. The pupil was a good average pilot who had been flying quite well that morning. I consider that the faulty handling of the engine controls referred to by the Investigating Officer caused the Pilot to pay too much attention to the engines, and not enough to the flying of the aircraft. with the result that the pilot stalled the aircraft and ‘spun in’. The Air Commodore Group Commander stated “I do not agree with the findings of the Investigating Officer, as there is no evidence to justify the assumption that the cause of the accident was ‘due to the faulty handling of the engine controls.’ In my opinion the accident was caused by engine failure but the reason for the failure must remain a mystery.”

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, 166/43/9

Bibliography:

Winter, V.A. (Vincent Adams) (408547) Noble Six Hundred: the story of the Empire Air Training Scheme with special reference to Australians who trained in Southern Rhodesia, V.A. Winter Brighton VIC 3186, 1982