Sergeant David Stuart BROWN

Service No: 401489
Born: Castlemaine VIC, 9 December 1916
Enlisted in the RAAF: 28 April 1941
Unit: No. 75 Squadron
Died: Prisoner of War (Executed) (following the loss of No. 75 Squadron Kittyhawk aircraft A29-38 on 11 April 1942), Rabaul, 26 May 1942, Aged 25 Years
Buried: Rabaul (Bita Paka) War Cemetery PNG
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Leslie John and Jessie Brown of South Yarra, Victoria, Australia
Roll of Honour: Unknown
Remembered: Panel 103, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT

Sergeant Brown survived an aircraft collision at near Western Junction, Tasmania, on 30 May 1941 in which Flying Officer Basil Goodwin Jones (425) was killed.

On 11 April 1942 Kittyhawk A29-38 flown by Sergeant Brown was one of seven Kittyhawk aircraft detailed to escort nine A24 aircraft in an attack on aircraft and the aerodrome at Lae, Papua New Guinea. The Kittyhawks provided a top cover of five aircraft, and a close cover of two – Sergeant Brown and Flying Officer John Walter Wedgwood Piper DFC (250828) (Discharged: 9 March 1945) in A29-41. When approaching Lae from the sea, Piper with Brown close up and astern saw three enemy Zeros below attacking the dive bombers and the two Kittyhawks dived steeply on them. Piper engaged the enemy. At the same time, the top cover was intercepted by three Zeros, and the attention of all Pilots was concentrated on the enemy such that Brown was not observed after the initial attack and A29-38 failed to return to base. However the Pilot of one of the A24 dive bombers stated that he saw what he believed was a Kittyhawk crash in the sea about this time. Natives later confirmed that a P40 Pilot had landed on the beach at Lae on 11 April 1942 and had been taken a prisoner by the Japanese.

In August 1948, Sergeant Brown’s remains and those of 13 other RAAF members were found at Matupi, New Britain. Brown was taken from a Japanese Army prison camp and handed over to the Japanese Navy and on the 26 May 1942 was executed by the Japanese at Matupi with the other RAAF prisoners captured at sea by the Navy.

The RAAF members whose remains were discovered at Matupi were:

Flying Officer Francis O’Connell Anderson (403118) No. 11 Squadron
Warrant Officer John Pretty Bailey (4240) No. 8 Squadron
Sergeant David Stuart Brown (401489) No. 75 Squadron
Leading Aircraftman John Joseph Burns (19574) Headquarters RAAF Station Port Moresby
Flying Officer Frederick Arthur Donald Diercks (407708) No. 11 Squadron
Leading Aircraftman Vernon Holloway Hardwick (17635) (Wireless Operator)
Corporal Alfred Ronald Hocking (18005) Headquarters RAAF Station Port Moresby
Corporal Alfred Henry Lanagan (6853) No. 11 Squadron
Flying Officer Ross Bryan O’Loghlen (400662) No. 8 Squadron
Leading Aircraftman Ernest John McDonald (10253) No. 11 Squadron
Flying Officer Allan Leslie Norman MID (407006) No. 20 Squadron
Leading Aircraftman William Murdoch Parker (20343) No. 11 Squadron
Flight Lieutenant Godfrey Hubert Vincent (400866) (Pilot) No. 8 Squadron
Unidentified RAAF Member (possibly Flying Officer Charles William Vincent (404757))


Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour On-Line Records (RAAF Casualty Information compiled by Alan Storr (409804))
Commonwealth War Graves Commission On-Line Records
Department of Veterans’ Affairs On-Line WWII Nominal Roll
National Archives of Australia On-Line Record A705, 166/6/845


Eames, Jim The Searchers, University of Queensland Press, St Lucia QLD 4067, 1999 – Chapter 3: The Dance of the Rods

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