Max Alexander LARKAN


LARKAN, Max Alexander

Service Number: 409842
Enlisted: 10 October 1941
Last Rank: Flying Officer
Last Unit: No. 3 Operational Training Unit Rathmines
Born: Stawell, Victoria, Australia, 18 January 1910
Home Town: Elwood, Port Phillip, Victoria
Schooling: Not yet discovered
Occupation: Bank Clerk
Died: Accidental Air Crash, Port Stephens, New South Wales, Australia, 24 May 1943, aged 33 years
Cemetery: Newcastle (Sandgate) War Cemetery
Plot E, Row D, Grave 14,
Memorials: Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, Warragul War Memorial
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World War 2 Service

3 Sep 1939: Involvement Flying Officer, SN 409842
10 Oct 1941: Enlisted Royal Australian Air Force, Air Cadet, SN 409842
10 Oct 1941: Enlisted Royal Australian Air Force, Flying Officer, SN 409842
17 Sep 1942: Promoted Royal Australian Air Force, Pilot Officer, No. 6 Service Flying Training School Mallala
17 Mar 1943: Promoted Royal Australian Air Force, Flying Officer, No. 6 Service Flying Training School Mallala
31 Mar 1943: Involvement Royal Australian Air Force, Flying Officer, SN 409842, No. 3 Operational Training Unit Rathmines

Help us honour Max Alexander Larkan's service by contributing information, stories, and images so that they can be preserved for future generations.

Biography contributed by Julianne Ryan

Born 18/01/1910 in Stawell, Victoria

Father  Seymour William Larkan (b. 16/08/1876 Bright, VIC - d. 21/09/1944 Stawell, VIC)
Mother Annie Matilda Larkan (b. 1878 Rupanyup, VIC - d. 4/10/1925 Stawell, VIC)
both buried in: Lot 3631 Stawell Cemetery, VIC
lived at Wangaratta, Victoria

VX32533  Sergeant William Seymour Larkan - 2/29 Australian Infantry Battalion (Army)
b. 25/07/1905 in Stawell, Victoria
31/07/1940  enlisted into WWII at Elwood, VIC
30/07/1941  embarked Sydney onboard HMT EE for Singapore
01/01/1942  promoted to Sergeant with 2nd/29th Infantry Battalion
Hospitalization WW2 P.O.W. Changi Prison and Burma Railway
05/09/1945  recovered from Changi
13/11/1945  discharged from service
07/05/1974  died in Bentleigh, VIC
cremated: Springvale Botanical Cemetery
                Banksia, Wall D, Niche 300 

Roma Larkan  (b. 1917 - d. 1992)
married: Harold Oliver
Russell OLIVER  (b. 1946 Melbourne VIC - d. 1967 Melbourne VIC)
Maxwell Oliver (b. 1950 Melbourne, VIC - d. 1969 Melbourne, VIC)

Wife:  Veronica Irene Larkan (nee Goonan)
          b. 13/07/1911 Whorouly, Victoria - d. 03/09/1996 Geelong, Victoria
          buried in: Highton Cemetery, Victoria
          lived at 27 Pine Street, Elwood, Victoria
          (married 31/10/1938)

Roberta Ann Larkan  (b. 12/11/1939)
Barry Larkan  (b. 12/03/1942)

Prior to enlisting Max worked as a Bank Clerk, with State Savings Bank of Victoria.

Described on enlisting into WWII as 31 years 8 month of age; married; 5' 7 3/4" tall;
162 lbs; dark complexion; blue eyes; dark receding hair; Church of England

10/10/1941  enlisted into WWII RAAF in Melbourne, Victoria

06/11/1941  promoted as Flying Officer

Nov.1941     Victor Harbour, South Australia - No. 4 Initial RAAF Training School
                  Course No.21, "C" Squadron, Flight 12
                  where he commenced training as a pilot with the rank of LAC 2.

31/01/1942  promoted to Leading Aircraftman

In early February 1942 he was posted 3 EFTS, Essendon, Victoria.

02/07/1942  received 'Flying Badge'

At the age of 32 years he would have been considered quite old as newly qualified pilot.

17/09/1942  promoted to Pilot Officer and on the same day posted to 6 Service Flying
                  Training School (SFTS), Mahala, South Australia, where he trained on
                  Avro Anson's.

17/03/1943  promoted to Flying Officer
                  and two weeks later was posted to 3 Operational Training Unit, Rathmines,
                  New South Wales.
Here he began flying Consolidated Catalina flying boats and also completed a conversion course for Vought Sikorsky Kingfisher flying boats.

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

Max was buried in:
Sandgate War Cemetery, Sandgate, Newcastle, New South Wales
Plot E, Row D, Grave 14

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.