Sergeant Alan Rendal DUNCANSON

Service No: 411009
Born: Newcastle NSW, 14 September 1914
Enlisted in the RAAF: 31 March 1941
Unit: No. 40 Squadron (RAF)
Died: Air Operations: (No. 40 Squadron Wellington aircraft X9938), Egypt, 3 September 1942, Aged 27 Years
Buried: Heliopolis War Cemetery, Egypt
CWGC Additional Information: Son of John Sydney and Susan Duncanson, of Sydney, New South Wales. Australia
Roll of Honour: Chatswood NSW
Remembered: Panel 121, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT

On 3 September 1942 Wellington X9938, crashed at Landing Ground 237 on landing from its second operational mission that night. The aircraft had taken off from Kabrit, detailed to attack targets of opportunity in the Alam Haifa area. Two 250 lb (pound) bombs hung up and could not be dislodged, but on landing they fell and exploded under the aircraft. Four crew members were killed and two injured.

The crew members of X9938 were:

Sergeant V N Baker (655013) (RAF) (Pilot) Injured
Pilot Officer Graham John Nicholson (116088) (RAFVR) (Pilot)
Sergeant Alan Rendal Duncanson (411009) (Front Gunner)
Sergeant Rhys James Evans (405398) (Wireless Air Gunner)
Sergeant Joseph Roach (402776) (Rear Gunner) Injured, Discharged from the RAAF: 20 February 1947
Flight Sergeant Rolfe Devonport Walker (405433) (Observer)

In later report Sergeant Baker stated “Returning from our second operational trip at dawn on 3 September 1942, the Navigator reported that two bombs were still in the bomb rack. I turned back to the target area and endeavoured to release them but I could not. I tried “H” type jettison and “Nav’s” jettison without success. I also shook the aircraft violently but the bombs still remained in the racks so we closed the bomb doors, put the fuse switch to “safe”, put all the selective switches off and the drum switch to safe except for jettison. I personally checked that this had been done and then set course for the landing ground. I landed as I thought on LG 224 and we were moving down the runway our speed reduced to about 30mph, when one of the bombs exploded. I found myself hanging half in and half out of the fuselage and managed to drag myself about 50 yards away but could get no further. The crash lorry arrived and after a few moments the second bomb exploded and a piece of shrapnel entered my shoulder.” Sergeant Baker suffered a broken left leg, broken collar bone and shrapnel wound.

In a later report by the CO of the Unit stated “Baker is an experienced operational pilot and a good landing was made. No blame can be attached to the pilot. He carried out all the methods to drop the bombs. The initial bump on landing must have caused them to fall off.”


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, 163/104/146

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