LEST WE FORGET

Sergeant Reginald Stanley Keith WHEATLAND

Service No: 11944
Born: Middle Brighton VIC, 26 February 1918
Enlisted in the RAAF: 14 August 1940
Unit: No. 43 Squadron, Darwin NT
Died: Air Operations: (No. 43 Squadron Catalina aircraft A24-45), Maluku, 20 July 1944, Aged 26 Years
Buried: Ambon War Cemetery, Indonesia
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Stanley Hall Wheatland and Beryl Annie Wheatland; husband of Joyce Alma Wheatland, of Adelaide, South Australia
Roll of Honour: Middle Brighton VIC
Remembered: Panel 103, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT
Remembered: Catalina Base Memorial, Rathmines NSW
Remembered: Rathmines Memorial Bowling Club, Rathmines NSW

Catalina A24-45 and another Catalina departed Darwin at 1800 hours on 20 July 1944 for a shipping strike at Namlea. A24-45 was visible behind the accompanying aircraft until about one hour after dusk when a flame float assumed to be from A24-45 was sighted. Searches involving seven aircraft over the succeeding three days were unsuccessful.

The crew members of A24-45 were:

Flying Officer Leonard Joseph Blackwell (424727) (Navigator)
Flight Sergeant Harold Leslie Coggin (205771) (Flight Engineer)
Flying Officer Ralph Martin Harsley (418221) (Second Pilot)
Flight Sergeant George Ian Hamilton Neate (419702) (Wireless Air Gunner)
Sergeant Ronald John Robinson (20477) (Fitter II Airframe / Air Gunner)
Warrant Officer Jack Storer (405221) (Wireless Air Gunner)
Flying Officer Thomas Temperley (420300) (Pilot)
Sergeant Adam Thomson (69119) (Armourer)
Sergeant Reginald Stanley Keith Wheatland (11944) (Flight Engineer)

The captain of the accompanying Catalina aircraft was Flying Officer Armand Andre Etienne DFC (415632) Discharged from the RAAF: 21 February 1946. The wreck of A24-45 was discovered on Buru Island in 1993.

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, 146
Register of War Memorials in New South Wales On-Line

Bibliography:

Eames, Jim The Searchers, University of Queensland Press, St Lucia QLD 4067, 1999 – Chapter 16: The Search Continues
McFarlane, C.C. (Cyrus C.) Tojo’s Fate: Australia’s secret war, Sid Harta Publishers Glen Waverley VIC 3150, 2009
McMillan A. (Andrew) Catalina Dreaming: rescues exciting missions and other stories about the famous Australian flying boats of WWII, Duffy and Snellgrove Potts Point NSW, 2002
Wilson, S. (Stewart) Catalina, Neptune and Orion in Australian Service, Aerospace Publications Weston Creek ACT 2611, 1991