Pilot Officer Maurice James MORRISON

Service No: 407723
Born: Balaklava SA, 23 August 1916
Enlisted in the RAAF: 4 January 1941
Unit: No. 31 Squadron, Coomalie Creek NT
Died: Air Operations (No. 31 Squadron Beaufighter aircraft A19-69), off Darwin NT, 30 November 1942, Aged 26 Years
Buried: Unrecovered
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Henry James Morrison and Evelyn Maud Morrison; husband of Olive Maude Morrison, of Kilburn, South Australia
Roll of Honour: Clare SA
Remembered: Panel 7, Northern Territory Memorial, Adelaide River NT
Remembered: Panel 102, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT
Remembered: World War II Honour Roll, National War Memorial of SA, North Terrace, Adelaide

Members of the 2/2 and 2/4 Independent Companies, who had remained on Timor fighting a guerrilla war against the Japanese, were in contact with Australia by radio and were regularly supplied with ammunition and equipment by air or motor launch. By November 1942, they had been in action on an enemy-held island for some nine months, so it was decided to relieve them. The corvettes HMAS Armidale and HMAS Castlemaine and a patrol boat HMAS Kuru were dispatched to arrive at Betano on the night of 30 November. During the morning of that day, Japanese bombers attacked the ships and continued to do so at intervals throughout the day.

Following a call for assistance from the ships, six Beaufighters arrived to provide cover, driving off eight bombers and six fighters. The Kuru arrived at Betano but, finding no troops there, took aboard seventy-seven Portuguese civilians. The other two ships arrived and likewise received no reply to their signals. The next morning, the Kuru transferred the civilians to the Castlemaine then went out in search of a missing Beaufighter. Morrison and Forrest, who had been providing cover for the convoy in A19-69, were posted missing. A main wheel was later found washed up on the coast. During the afternoon, the Armidale and Kuru were again attacked by bombers, the Armidale being torpedoed and sunk.

Extract from Parnell, N.M. (Neville M.) Whispering Death: A history of the RAAF’s Beaufighter Squadrons, AH & AW Reed Terry Hills NSW, 1980 – Page 39

The crew members of A19-69 were:

Sergeant Allan Frederick Forrest (31095) (Navigator)
Pilot Officer Maurice James Morrison (407723) (Pilot)


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, 14


Gaston, Bruce DFC (406646), Harry Horner DFC OAM (406595), Raymond Storer (406666) (Editors), Aircrew for the Duration: of and by members of RAAF EATS Courses 10, 11, 12 & 13, Gaston Horner and Storer, Nedlands WA, 1990
Parnell, N.M. (Neville M.) Whispering Death: A history of the RAAF’s Beaufighter Squadrons, AH & AW Reed, Terry Hills NSW, 1980
Wilson, S. (Stewart) Beaufort, Beaufighter and Mosquito in Australian Service, Aerospace Publications Weston Creek ACT 2611, 1990

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