Results 1 to 5 of 5

Thread: AUS404562 LAC Henry Bierne DOUGLAS RAAF

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Posts
    6,489
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 38 Times in 36 Posts

    Default AUS404562 LAC Henry Bierne DOUGLAS RAAF

    Hello,

    Firstly, apologies for the incorrect spelling of Douglas' second christian name in the title. It should read - "Beirne".

    Seeking help with the positive identification of type/serial of the aircraft involved in the death of AUS404562 LAC Henry Beirne DOUGLAS RAAF.

    Alan Storr describes Douglas' death, thus:

    1 Service Flying Training School RCAF.

    On the 30th April 1941 an aircraft took off on a solo practice flight from RCAF Camp Borden, Canada, and crashed at 0845 hours near Cookstown, Canada. The Pilot was authorised to practice precautionary landings, spins, forced landings and steep turns. The aircraft was seen spiralling towards the earth at 3000 feet, and it continued until it hit the ground. The pilot was killed.

    Crew:
    RAAF 404562 LAC H B Douglas, (Pilot).

    http://www.awm.gov.au/catalogue/research_centre/pdf/rc09125z023_1.pdf

    (See: p.30 of 508)

    Storr does not mention a type or serial.

    From Bill Walker's site:

    http://www.ody.ca/~bwalker/RCAF_3400_3449_detailed.html

    I have been able to pin down a likely candidate, namely - NA Yale 3412, which was lost under the circumstances described above.

    None of the documentation that I have actually connects type and serial. Douglas' files at the NAA have not been digitised. The only mention of an aircraft type is in a Dept. of Air Registration Book, which records that; Yale NA64 - Court of Inquiry Re 30/4/41 Accident at Cookstown, Ontario. Once again, no aircraft serial.

    Could someone help in positively connecting these two events?

    Col.

    PS. There was an extraordinary sequel to these events.
    Last edited by COL BRUGGY; 1st February 2011 at 22:42.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Zelhem, Netherlands.
    Posts
    6,313
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Default

    Col,
    "They Shall Grow Not Old" (Allison) page 857: 1 SFTS - Camp Borden - Ontario - Yale 3412.
    Regards,
    Henk.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Zelhem, Netherlands.
    Posts
    6,313
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Default

    Sorry Col, forgot to ask about his burial place: Nudgee, Queenslands, Australia. Were his remains repatriated (or ashes returned after cremation) ?

    Henk.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Posts
    6,489
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 38 Times in 36 Posts

    Default

    Henk,

    Thanks for confirmation on the Yale 3412 serial.

    Now to Douglas' burial. That was the extraordinary event that I referred to in my PS. In accordance with the established principle, that deceased personnel be buried at, or near to where they fell, Douglas was buried soon after his death, with full military honours, in Barrie Roman Catholic Cemetery, near Camp Borden, Ontario. Yet, less than six weeks later, his remains had been repatriated to Australia. His funeral took place in Brisbane, Queensland, on 16-6-1941, and his remains were placed in the family vault at Nudgee Roman Catholic Cemetery, Portion H. (GRM/4).

    This needs a little explanation.

    Douglas' grandfather, Thomas Charles Beirne, was one of the first millionaires in Australia. He had extensive business interests here in Australia, and some in Canada. Douglas' family were well-represented in business and legal circles, and had strong ties with the Catholic Church. They moved with such alacrity in repatriating his remains, that they left the Air Board floundering.

    To be able to achieve such a feat in peacetime, with all the associated 'Red Tape', would have been remarkable. To do so in wartime was extraordinary.

    There is no suggestion of any wrongdoing here, just a family with the desire and the wherewithal (plus a strong intelligence network), to have their son's remains returned to Australia - and did so!

    Things changed a bit after this episode, and later it was a rare event for a deceased service persons remains to be returned to Australia.

    Col.
    Last edited by COL BRUGGY; 3rd February 2011 at 01:34.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Canada, eh
    Posts
    1,217
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Default

    Very interesting Col. I've never quite understood why the RAF and other Dominions in Canada insisted in burials close to the place of death, while RCAF deaths in Canada, or any Canadian service in Canada, almost always had the body returned to a home town for burial in accordance with family directions. I have found several examples of military units sending honour guards from the deceased person's unit thousands of miles by train for the funeral services in cases of RCAF, RCN and Army deaths in Canada.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •