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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 240235
Last updated: 25 November 2021
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Date:25-DEC-1941
Time:
Type:Silhouette image of generic CAT model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Consolidated Catalina Mk I
Owner/operator:205 Squadron Royal Air Force (205 Sqn RAF)
Registration: AH540
MSN:
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 9
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:South China sea 300km NE Singapore, -   Singapore
Phase: Combat
Nature:Military
Departure airport:RAF Seletor
Destination airport:Recce
Narrative:
Catalina AH540 (FV-Z, 205 Sqn) force landed at sea due to enemy action off the coast of Singapore, 25.12.1941.
Crew: Flight Lieutenant R A Atkinson, Pilot Officer S E Scales (RNZAF), Pilot Officer D B Babineau (RCAF), Sergeant T D Morris, Sergeant P Smith, Corporal J A D Wyant, Leading Aircraftsman D Ballard, Sergeant R Borchers (RAAF), Petty Officer Heath (Royal Navy).
At 0839 hours AH540 was on reconnaissance patrol. An aircraft was sighted by AH540 and the X signal 479 was passed to AF Station Seletar. At 0841 hours the aircraft closed, was identified an enemy and opened fire. The signal FGQ was then sent. The enemy aircraft was identified as being similar to the Japanese Army 97 Twin-engined heavy bomber Mitsubishi Ki-21 (later confirmed to be Mitsubishi G3M 'Nell').
The engagement lasted 15 minutes and at about 0900 hours the petrol tank was pierced and caught fire. Unsuccessful attempts were made to put it out by means of fire extinguishers. With the whole tail of the aircraft on fire, the Captain force landed. All nine crew managed to escape the aircraft, with no dingy and a limited number of male wests between them. All suffered various burns and bullet wounds from the engagement. They were then straffed in the water by the Japanese aircraft.
At 1300 hours a Catalina aircraft (FV-U) under the command of Sqn Ldr S.G.Stilling (another Australian and to be best man at Richard's wedding) was despatched from Seletar to search, and located the nine survivors at 1530 hours. AH540 had by then sunk. Two dinghies were dropped with supplies and a note telling them to expect pick up by ship at 2am later that night. Guessing the time was around 2am they put up a Very light guiding Dutch submarine K-12 which was looking for them, to their location. The survivors were eventually picked up at 0400 hours the next day and returned to Seletar, arriving 1200 hours the following day. All survived.

Sources:

AIR81/11310


Revision history:

Date/timeContributorUpdates
18-Aug-2020 21:21 Nepa Added [Operator]
06-Dec-2020 16:34 Rogpat Updated [Location, Phase, Departure airport, Destination airport, Narrative]

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