View Full Version : Pre War RAAF Accident List 1936 to 1938 from Australian Newspaper Thursday 11 August

29th January 2013, 14:11

The Sydney Morning Herald
Thursday 11 August 1938


Long List Since 1936.
Fatal accidents in which machines of the Royal Australian Air Force have been involved since the beginning of 1936 are:-
April 16: Gipsy Moth, crashed at Point, Cook, Cadet N. Chaplin fatally injured.
March 23: Bristol Bulldog crashed into Port Phillip Bay, Pilot-officer Eagerty. killed:
May 14: Hawker Demon crashed on Ross River Aerodrome, Townsville. Flight-lieut. D. A. Shorter killed. Wings collapsed during fighting practice.
July 22: Seaplane crashed into Port Phillip Bay, Pilot-officers C. A. Houston and E. W. Yde killed.
August 31 : Hawker Demon crashed, Hamil- ton, Victoria, Flying-officers K. W. McKenzie and Sergeant N. Torrens-Witherow killed.
December 5: Hawker Demon crashed near Cootamundra, Pilot-officer J. F. Fallon killed and Leading Aircraftsman Fitzgerald injured.
April 22: Bristol Bulldog crashed at Rich- mond, Pilot-Officer L. Sutherland killed.
April 25: Wapiti crashed in duststorm near Whittlesea. Victoria, Flying-Officer A. Chalmon killed, observer R R Prime injured.
May 29: Avro-Anson bomber crashed at Green Hills Flight-Lieutenant M. P. Allsop and Corporal W. A. Lockwood killed and wireless operator R. C. Lawson and engineers J. A. Mackay and J. Angus injured
June 14: Hawker Demon crashed at Llandillo, Sergeant R. D. Pomeroy killed and Aircraftsman J. C. A. Purdey injured.
Accidents since 1936 which have not had fatal results include :—
1936.— September 23: Gipsy Moth crashed into Hawkesbury River, Pilot-Officers W. G. Alshorn and G. J. Quinan slightly injured
December 9: Avro Cadet and D.H. Moth col- lided when about to land at Point Cook, Fllght-Lieutenant C. D. Candy and Pilot Ser- geant Sommerville injured
December 14 Bristol Bulldog crashed in cloudy weather Brisbane Ranges Victoria , Pilot-Officer E. V. Read severely injured
1937— May 26: Wapiti crashed at Gunbower Victoria, Air Cadet A. E. L. Davies injured.
December 6: Hawker Demon Crashed near Cootamundra, Pilot Sergeant D. J. Parker and Sergeant W. Brockie injured
December 7: Hawker Demon crashed near Gos- ford. Pilot-Officer Burgess and Wireless Operator Lord slightly injured
1938.—April 24: Avro Anson bomber crashed at Box Hill during Air Force pageant occupants slightly injured.
June 26: Avro Anson bomber damaged while landing at Duntroon occupants uninjured.
July 20: Hawker Demon crashed at Doughs Park Pilot-Officer J. D. Galvin and Aircraftsman L. Gadden slightly injured.

1st March 2013, 03:34
Hi Paul,
Regarding the SMH's list of fatal accidents there is an error as there were actually 14 deaths over that period.

The "missing" person is on the list but as a non fatal and his name is Sgt Robert Frederick Somerville, service number 637. After being transferred to the Caulfield Military Hosptial he died later that night. The newspaper, The Argus, dated 10 Dec 1936, shows the details of the accident but the next day there is a death notice for him.

It is interesting to note that Somerville was involved in another fatal accident on 21 Jan 1929 when he was flying another DH Moth. Whilst attempting a low-level past over a local farmer, Mr Albert Charles Smith, who was working in the fields at Cornwallis, near Richmond, the then Flight Sergeant Somerville flying too low, struck Mr Smith with the landing gear decapitating him. The force of the impact caused Somerville to crash just a short distance away with he and his observer surviving uninjured. Somerville was charged with manslaughter but was acquitted. Upon arriving back at Richmond he was soon reduced in rank and grounded, later regaining his pilot status.

The farmer, Albert Smith also happened to be Somerville’s future father-in-law whose daughter, Freda, married Somerville later that year.