Wilbur Lawrence WACKETT


WACKETT, Wilbur Lawrence

Service Number: 588
Enlisted: 4 September 1939
Last Rank: Squadron Leader
Last Unit: No. 31 Squadron (RAAF)
Born: Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, 19 February 1921
Home Town: Melbourne, Melbourne, Victoria
Schooling: Not yet discovered
Occupation: Student
Died: Aircraft crashed fuel exhaustion returning from a mission over Timor, Kakadu Region, Northern Territory, Australia, 24 September 1944, aged 23 years
Cemetery: No known grave - "Known Unto God"
Memorials: Adelaide River Northern Territory Memorial, Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour
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World War 2 Service

4 Sep 1939: Enlisted Royal Australian Air Force, Aircraftman 2, SN 588, Aircrew Training Units
1 Feb 1943: Involvement Royal Australian Air Force, Flight Lieutenant, SN 588, No. 30 Squadron (RAAF), Air War SW Pacific 1941-45
24 Sep 1944: Involvement Royal Australian Air Force, Squadron Leader, SN 588, No. 31 Squadron (RAAF), Air War SW Pacific 1941-45

Help us honour Wilbur Lawrence Wackett's service by contributing information, stories, and images so that they can be preserved for future generations.

Biography contributed by David Barlow

Son of Lawrence James Wackett and Letitia Wackett

Husband of Peggie Wackett of Bellevue Hill, NSW


RAAF Beaufighter aircraft A19-192 & A19-208 of Number 31 Squadron were returning from escort duty over the Arafura Sea when it appears that they became lost over the Northern Territory at approximately 2000 hours.

The crew of A19-208 were never found with the crashed aircraft located near Goodparla / Kalpalga Station in the Kakadu region over 12 months later.   

The crew of A19-192 bailed out and the aircraft crashed near Bracks Creek but the pilot was never found.  The navigator was located the next day: Warrant Officer George Robert Warner 418028 survived the war and was discharged from the RAAF in 1946

The incident is the subject of a book in the RAAF Heritage series - “Lost Without Trace: Squadron Leader Wilbur Wackett (A Story of Bravery and Tragedy in the Pacific War)”

Commemorated on the Northern Territory Memorial to the Missing located at Adelaide River War Cemetery, NT are:

Flying Officer Lloyd Francis Ritchie 426287 Pilot of Beaufighter A19-192

Squadron Leader Wilbur Lawrence Wackett 588 Pilot of Beaufighter A19-208 and his Navigator Flying Officer Keith Eric William Noble 424052