Colin Burns TRELOAR


TRELOAR, Colin Burns

Service Number: 407554
Enlisted: 9 November 1940
Last Rank: Sergeant
Last Unit: No. 205 Squadron (RAF)
Born: Adelaide South Australia, 2 April 1920
Home Town: Adelaide, South Australia
Schooling: Scotch College Adelaide
Occupation: Grazier
Died: Air Combat Operations, Flying Battle, Off Borneo , Gulf of Siam, 7 December 1941, aged 21 years
Cemetery: Kranji War Cemetery
Singapore Memorial, Singapore Mannahill Memorial, Meningie Memorial
Memorials: Adelaide WW2 Wall of Remembrance, Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, Mannahill War Memorial, Singapore Memorial Kranji War Cemetery
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World War 2 Service

3 Sep 1939: Involvement Royal Australian Air Force, Sergeant, SN 407554, No. 205 Squadron (RAF), Malaya/Singapore
9 Nov 1940: Enlisted Royal Australian Air Force, Sergeant, SN 407554, No. 205 Squadron (RAF)
9 Nov 1940: Enlisted Royal Australian Air Force, Sergeant, SN 407554
Date unknown: Involvement Sergeant, SN 407554, No. 205 Squadron (RAF)

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Colin Burns Treloar – 407554 RAAF

 Born: 2nd April 1920 in Adelaide South Australia

Killed in Action: 7th December 1941 South China Sea


Colin was the eldest son of Frank and Lydia Treloar and spent his early childhood in the Mid North town of Olary, (on the Barrier Highway to Broken Hill) then the Adelaide suburb of Toorak Gardens and then in March 1930 the pastoral property called “Baratta” which is located south of the Flinders Ranges.

During the following years, bad seasons and drought caused great stress with the costs of running two family properties, Baratta  and Mooleulooloo. During this time Colin and his sister Eunice were educated by correspondence lessons.  Some of their Governesses were very strict and insisted on a very high standard of work.  Frequently poetry, history and geography had to be learnt by heart, a discipline that proved beneficial to Colin when he attended college.

In 1934 Colin’s father made the decision to send him, then aged 14 to Scotch College (Mitcham - South Australia).  Colin was enrolled from 1934-1938, and he excelled in sports and studies. 

He was a School Prefect and Boarding House Prefect, Captain of Boats and member of 1st VIII 1937, Awarded Full Colours, and also member of the 1st XVIII Football Team in 1937, and also a Corporal in the Cadet Corps in 1937.

After leaving school Colin tried to obtain admission to Duntroon Royal Military College, but was unsuccessful and returned to work at Baratta. 

On 11th November 1940 Colin enlisted in the RAAF and left Baratta to begin his training as an Observer at the RAAF Base at Somers Camp, Victoria under the Empire Air Training Scheme.  He spent his final leave at Baratta in August 1941 and during this time he became engaged.

Monday 1st September 1941 Colin departed from Sydney for Singapore on board the Dutch KPM ship MV “Boisssevain” - it arrived Thursday 18th September. When he arrived in Singapore he was posted to RAF Squadron 205 based at Seletar, Singapore.

Early November he was transferred to RAF Base Koggala, Near Galle Ceylon Colombo (now Sri Lanka) for a short term in October-November. He returned to Seletar in early December 1941. His last letter to his parents was written on 4th December 1941 where he stated that a “State of Emergency” had been declared in Singapore.

On 7th December 1941, RAF No.205 Squadron Catalina FY-W (W8417) was sent to search the Gulf of Siam, South of Cape Cambodia.  The “W” was captained by F/O Patrick Bedell and Colin was included in the crew as the Observer.  

The reasons FY-W was despatched was due to previous sightings on 6th December by two Hudson Crews from No.1  Squadron who had sighted, heading to Kota Bhuru some 400 kms due West, a Japanese fleet of 2 cruisers, 10 destroyers and 21 transports. Then another sighting heading the same way of  1 battleship, 5 cruisers and 22 large transports.

Catalina FY-W  was spotted by a Japanese E13A Jake Fighter plane from Kamikawa Maru, and was fired upon.  The plane was damaged and their radio destroyed.  The Japanese pilot shadowed the Catalina for 25 minutes until 5 Type 97 Kawasaki Ki27 “Nate” fighter planes shot down  FY-W  -  there were no survivors. 

The crew of eight (7 British and 1 Australian) were the first casualties of the Pacific War.  Colin Burns Treloar, unfortunately being the first Australian.


Biography contributed by Carol Foster

Son of Francis James Treloar and Fanny Lydia Treloar of North Adelaide

At the time of enlistment  Colin was residing on Barrata Station, via Carrieton, SA

Plane was Catalina W8417B which was lost while on a mission to intercept a Japanese Convoy in the South China Sea near Siam. No signals were received from the Catalina after it took off near dawn. Japanese reported that they attacked with fighters and had shot down the flying boat in the Gulf of Siam

Some wreckage belived to be from Catalina W8417B washed up on the shores of Sarawak