Six killed in Air Crash Service - plane bursts into flames in taking off.
Impressive Funeral of RAAF Men
In taking off at a South Australian aerodrome last Saturday a service plane crashed and burst into flames, incinerating the six occupants. Death was believed to have been instantaneous, as the airmen were still in their seats when the flames subsided. The plane had just refueled and was resuming its journey.
It rose from the ground, traveled about half a mile and then suddenly shot up in the air, turned to one side and nosedived to the ground. It landed, bumped on about 50 yards crashed again, and then burst into flames. The occupants were:- Squadron Leader Gordon Laming, 29, married, of Melbourne, Victoria. Flight Lieutenant David Burton Bradley, 24, single, of Sydney, New South Wales. Sergeant Frederick Archibald Walker, wireless operator air gunner, 23, married, who enlisted at Adelaide and whose next of kin resides in New South Wales. Sergeant Ronald Dow, airman pilot, 26, married, of Queen’s Park Western Australia. Sergeant Robert William Westcott, wireless operator air gunner, 26, single of Ballarat, Victoria. Corporal William Clyde Lindsay, wireless operator, ground, 30, single, of Yuelba, Queensland. Sergeant Walker enlisted in the Air Force towards the end of 1940, and was posted to Somers initial training school, a wireless air gunners’ school, a bombing and gunnery school and subsequently to an operational squadron. Before enlistment in the air force he was an electrician. He was educated at Unley High School and the Marconi School of Wireless. Flight Lieutenant Bradley, before enlistment in the airforce in July 1937, was a clerk. He had been on active operational duty since the middle of 1938. He was educated at the Sydney Technical High School. The heat from the blaze was so intense that no one could approach it for nearly a half an hour. When the bodies could be retrieved they were burnt beyond recognition. Identification discs gave the clue to their names. An enquiry was immediately held by the RAAF Enquiry Board, but no statement was issued. The neighbouring township and districts were cast over with gloom at the tragedy, which was the most terrible in their history. Four of the boys were buried locally. They were William Lindsay, Ronald Dow, David Bradley and Gordon Laming. The remaining two were removed to their home towns at the request of relatives. A large crowd attended the funeral service, which was conducted impressively by local clergy on Monday afternoon. The cortege was followed by nine members of the RAAF and members of the local RSS & AILA and Home Guard. Six members of the RAAF acted as pallbearers. Although there was little time there were many floral tributes. Among public bodies which laid tokens at the graveside were the RAAF, the Red Cross, the FFCF, the Cheer up club, the RSS & AILA, the local district council, the VSD, and the Home Guard, and there were many forthcoming from private sympathisers.
Submitted 29 April 2018 by Faithe Jones