Richard Beauchamp CAMERON

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CAMERON, Richard Beauchamp

Service Number: 404451
Enlisted: 19 August 1940
Last Rank: Sergeant
Last Unit: No. 56 Squadron (RAF)
Born: Toowoomba, Qld., 27 August 1918
Home Town: Thallon, Balonne Shire, Queensland
Schooling: Toowoomba Grammar School, Queensland Agricultural College Gatton
Occupation: Overseer
Died: Accidental, United Kingdom, 24 December 1941, aged 23 years
Cemetery: No known grave - "Known Unto God"
Runnymede Memorial, Surrey, England, United Kingdom
Memorials: Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, Runnymede Air Forces Memorial, St George Hospital Memorial Pavillion, Thallon War Memorial, Toowoomba Grammar School WW2 Honour Board, Toowoomba Roll of Honour WW2, Toowoomba WW2 Roll of Honour Book, Toowoomba War Memorial (Mothers' Memorial)
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World War 2 Service

3 Sep 1939: Involvement Sergeant, SN 404451
19 Aug 1940: Enlisted Royal Australian Air Force, Sergeant, SN 404451, No. 56 Squadron (RAF), Brisbane, Qld.
19 Aug 1940: Enlisted Royal Australian Air Force, Sergeant, SN 404451

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Biography contributed by Faithe Jones

Son of Kenneth Beauchamp Cameron and Eileen Mary Cameron, of Thallon, Queensland

Sergeant Richard Cameron was the pilot of a No 56 Squadron Hurricane Fighter 11B Z3328 that crashed in West England on 24th December 1941 whilst on a non-operational flight.  The Air Ministry notified his father who was a grazier residing at Bullamon Plains, Thallon, Queensland, that he was missing whilst he was on non-operational night flying.  Extensive ground searches were carried out, however, no trace was found of Richard Cameron and his aircraft.  At the time of his death Richard Cameron was 23 years of age.

A subsequent accident report into the loss of Sergeant Richard Cameron and his aircraft stated:

Sergeant Cameron had been sent up in clear weather in bright moonlight to carry out a sector reconnaissance under control from Operations Room.  The visibility was good and there was no cloud in the vicinity of Duxford, but elsewhere there were thin patches of cloud at a height of 13,000 feet.  Sergeant Cameron had been given vectors of 010, 020, 320, 270, followed by 180 for base.  During the latter part of the reconnaissance he was at 12,000 feet.  At approximately 12 miles from base, controller gave 280 intending him to take a short distance to the West before bringing him back to base to land.  Sergeant Cameron acknowledged this vector and D.F. plot taken at the time indicates that he followed it.  Four minutes later he was given vector 090, which he did not acknowledge.  He was then called several times from the ground and from the air by Honiley and by Wittering but no reply was received.

The Observer Corps were immediately notified and asked to try and plot him, but failed to do so.  Homing beacons were put on for a considerable distance from the West and floodlights and other lights were put on, at the Aerodrome for a considerable time.  These measures produced no results and no clue has since come to light to indicate in which direction the aircraft actually proceeded or what has happened to it subsequently.  Radio transmission up to the time of the last message was very good and in view of the clarity of the weather at the time it is probable that Sergeant Cameron was in sight of the Aerodrome beacon when the last transmission from him was received.  He had been thoroughly instructed in the procedure to be taken to obtain a homing bearing from searchlights in case of radio transmission failure, or from an aerodrome beacon on its aerodrome.

In view of the fact that three other aircraft were flying at the time and using the same frequency radio transmission, transmission had been practically continuous since Sergeant Cameron took off and it would have been impossible for him to fail to notice immediately his radio transmitter receiver had failed.  If he had received and acted on the vector of 090 given him 4 minutes after the previous one of 280 he must have passed practically over base.  In view of the above it is difficult to suggest the cause of this accident, but three possibilities are considered to exist:

Sergeant Cameron followed the vector of 280 for a considerable time owing to the failure of his radio transmission set, and that he eventually force landed somewhere in the West of England.
That he received a vector of 090 and acted upon it, although not able to acknowledge it. That he eventually forced landed in East Anglia or in the sea.
That his engine failed and while trying to carry out a forced landing failed to use his radio transmitter.
Extensive search is being made in all wooded areas within 100 miles of Cambridge, but in view of the nature of the country, it is considered unlikely that the aircraft or the pilot would be found in this area, in which case, it can only be assumed that Sergeant Cameron flew for a considerable time either on an easterly of westerly vector before eventually forced landing at a considerable distance from Duxford.

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