LEST WE FORGET

Flying Officer Alvan Rodney WECKER

Service No: 404676
Born: Toowoomba QLD, 17 November 1919
Enlisted in the RAAF: 8 November 1940
Unit: No. 608 Squadron (RAF)
Died: Aircraft Accident: (No. 608 Squadron Hudson aircraft FK626), Algeria, 5 April 1943, Aged 23 Years
Buried: El Alia Cemetery, Algeria
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Frederick and Anna Dorothea Wecker, of Toowoomba, Queensland, Australia. A.F.I.A.
Roll of Honour: Unknown
Remembered: Panel 132, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT

On 5 April 1943, Hudson FK626 took off to carry out an operational night anti-submarine patrol. The weather was clear with good visibility at take off with a standard electric flare path with a double row of lights. The aircraft struck the ground approximately 900 yards beyond the perimeter fence and in a straight line with the flare path. It then ran forward along the ground some 100 yards leaving pieces of debris on the ground. The accident was witnessed by the Officer in Charge Flying who was a mile and a half away from the point of impact and by two anti-aircraft gunners who were on duty very near the scene of the crash. The aircraft made a normal take off, and when it was at about 50 feet, the starboard engine burst into flames, and when at a height of 80 feet the flames enveloped the whole of the engine nacelle. The aircraft then lost height rapidly, hit the ground and ran along about 100 yards towards a row of trees, then turned over and burnt. All the depth charges and bombs were later recovered intact. All the crew members were killed in the crash.

The crew members of FK626 were:

Flight Sergeant Joseph Fernleigh Garbutt (626751) (RAFVR) (Wireless Air Gunner)
Pilot Officer Norman Sherriff (51719) (RAF) (Wireless Air Gunner)
Pilot Officer Edmond Patrick Osbourne Watson DFM (146423) (RAFVR) (Pilot)
Flying Officer Alvan Rodney Wecker (404676) (Navigator)

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 Veterans’ Affairs On-Line WWII Nominal Roll
National Archives of Australia On-Line Record A705, 166/43/143