Brian Hartley HIGGINS DFC


HIGGINS, Brian Hartley

Service Number: 400620
Enlisted: 18 August 1940, enlisted in Melbourne, Victoria
Last Rank: Flight Lieutenant
Last Unit: 3 Operational Training Unit
Born: Wangaratta, Victoria, 3 August 1914
Home Town: Wangaratta, Wangaratta, Victoria
Schooling: Not yet discovered
Occupation: Partner of Wangaratta Chronicle (newspaper)
Died: Catalina Flying Boat A24-39 crashed into rough seas, Port Stephens, New South Wales, 24 May 1943, aged 28 years
Cemetery: Newcastle (Sandgate) War Cemetery
Plot F, Row D, Grave 11
Memorials: Australian War Memorial, Roll of Honour, Wangaratta War Memorial
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World War 2 Service

3 Sep 1939: Involvement Flight Lieutenant, SN 400620
18 Aug 1940: Enlisted Royal Australian Air Force, Flying Officer, SN 400620, enlisted in Melbourne, Victoria
12 Jan 1942: Involvement Royal Australian Air Force, Flying Officer, SN 400620, No. 11 Squadron (RAAF), Air War SW Pacific 1941-45
1 Apr 1942: Involvement Royal Australian Air Force, Acting Flight Lieutenant, SN 400620, No. 11 Squadron (RAAF), Air War SW Pacific 1941-45
18 Dec 1942: Honoured Distinguished Flying Cross, Air War SW Pacific 1941-45
1 Apr 1943: Promoted Royal Australian Air Force, Flight Lieutenant, 3 Operational Training Unit
24 May 1943: Involvement Royal Australian Air Force, Flight Lieutenant, SN 400620, 3 Operational Training Unit

Help us honour Brian Hartley Higgins's service by contributing information, stories, and images so that they can be preserved for future generations.

Biography contributed by Julianne Ryan

Father William Thomas Higgins and Mother Katherine Eva Maud Higgins,
lived at Wangaratta, Victoria

June 1935    discharged from 58th Infantry Battalion, AIF to join RAAF

Described on enlisting into WWII as 26 years 1 month of age; single; 5' 5" tall;
184 lbs; fresh complexion; hazel eyes; dark-medium hair; Roman Catholic

18/09/1940  enlisted into WWII RAAF in Melbourne, Victoria

06/11/1941  promoted as Flying Officer

18/12/1942  Awarded the 'Distinguished Flying Cross' - London Gazette
                  for numerous flying operations over Tabuk, Rabual, Gasmata etc

01/04/1943  promoted to Flight Lieutenant

RAAF PBY-5 Catalina, A24-39 (USN 0826), of 3 Operational Training Unit Rathmines (3 OTU) crashed during a landing in rough seas opposite Wonderrabah Knob, Port Stephens, New South Wales at 0915 hours on 24 May 1943. The aircraft had been delivered to the RAAF in February 1942. The flight was part of an inspection of the Broken Bay and Port Stephens areas. F/Lt Higgins had flown to Port Stephens to see if the water was rough enough to carry out rough water landings as laid down in No. 3 OTU training. The OTU course had been extended by one week so that the pilots could get training in rough water landings. F/Lt Higgins had apparently decided that Broken Bay was not suitable for the training and proceed to Port Stephens where he crashed on landing.

Seven men were killed in the crash and two were injured as follows:-

Flight Lieutenant Brian Hartley Higgins (400620) - Pilot - Killed
Pilot Officer Max Alexander Larkan (409842) - 2nd Pilot - Killed
Sergeant Alan Fullerton Craddock (408799) - 2nd Pilot - Killed
Pilot Officer Norman John Brown (411992) W.A. Gunner - Killed
Corporal Thomas Henry Poole (19812) Fitter 2E - Killed
LAC Henry George Lovett (21419) - Fitter 2A - Killed
Sergeant John Johnson (411710) - W.A. Gunner - Seriously injured
Corporal Jaffre David James (8164) - Fitter 2E - Killed
AC1 Kenneth Carlyle Stow (72521) - Armourer - Slight Shock

Brian was buried in:
Sandgate War Cemetery, Sandgate, Newcastle, New South Wales
Plot F, Row D, Grave 11

His name is commemorated on Panel 112 at the Australian War Memorial, Canberra, ACT.

His name is also commemorated on a plaque at 5a Lighthouse Road, Inner Light Maritime
Museum & Tea Rooms, Nelson Bay, NSW.

Submitted by Julianne T Ryan.  12/03/2017.  Lest we forget.