Sergeant Colin William DUNNING

Service No: 437405
Born: Unley Park SA, 28 December 1924
Enlisted in the RAAF: 30 January 1943
Unit: No. 452 Squadron, Strauss NT
Died: Aircraft Accident (No. 452 Squadron Spitfire aircraft A58-232), NT, 24 April 1944, Aged 19 Years
Buried: Adelaide River War Cemetery, NT
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Samuel Lawrence Dunning and Catherine Gladys Dunning, of Fullarton East, South Australia
Roll of Honour: Adelaide SA
Remembered: Panel 105, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT
Remembered: World War II Honour Roll, National War Memorial of SA, North Terrace, Adelaide

On 24 April 1944, Sergeant Dunning went missing in A58-232 on a non-operational training flight. His aircraft was last seen in the vicinity of Port Patterson with its engine out and smoke coming from the aircraft. An air search at the time failed to find any trace of him or his aircraft but his remains were later discovered and recovered to Adelaide River.

On 24 April 1944, Spitfire A58-232 was one of a four aircraft formation, detailed to carry out a height climb to 30,000 feet, and a shadow shooting exercise. The aircraft took off from Strauss Field, Darwin. During the flight, the airscrew of A58-232 hit the port wing fairing of A58-242, which caused A58-232 to run roughly and eventually lead to a glycol leak when the engine failed. At 1200 feet the Pilot decided to bale out but left insufficient time to get away from the aircraft, and the aircraft crashed into the sea. A58-232 was not followed down by the other aircraft as the Pilot reported the engine was running again OK, and he was heading either to base or Port Patterson. He then reported that the engine had failed again over Port Patterson.

A58-242 flown by Flying Officer Eric Livingstone Maher DFM (33231), the formation leader, returned safely to base.


Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour On-Line Records
Commonwealth War Graves Commission On-Line Records
Department of Veteran’s Affairs On-Line WWII Nominal Roll
National Archives of Australia On-Line Record A9845, 122


Wilson, S. (Stewart) Spitfire, Mustang and Kittyhawk in Australian Service, Aerospace Publications Weston Creek ACT 2611, 1988

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