Sergeant Michael Patrick Alfred RANDELL

Service No: 407080
Born: Adelaide SA, 22 April 1916
Enlisted in the RAAF: 27 May 1940
Unit: No. 3 Squadron
Died: Air Operations (No. 3 Squadron Tomahawk aircraft AK427), Damascus, Syria, 28 June 1941, Aged 25 Years
Buried: Damascus Commonwealth War Cemetery, Syria
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Alfred Swaine Randell and Olive Marion Randell, of North Terrace, Adelaide, South Australia
Roll of Honour: Adelaide SA
Remembered: Panel 98, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT
Remembered: World War II Honour Roll, National War Memorial of SA, North Terrace, Adelaide

The revised army plan was to capture Beirut by an outflanking move, but Vichy resistance remained stubborn both west of Damascus and farther south in the Jebel Druse and Merdjayoun areas. Wellingtons from the Canal Zone began on 23rd June to increase the air pressure on Syria, and No. 3, although now freed from naval patrols and the air defence of Palestine, still had a variety of tasks under I Australian Corps. Four attacks involving twenty-five sorties were made against tactical targets, one on 22nd June against Vichy transport south of Jdaida and the others, after an interval of other pressing duties, early in July in the Rayak area. The policy of strafing French airfields was also resumed with great success, and although the Australians were not always available for these duties, forty-two such sorties were flown and the squadron destroyed seven aircraft and damaged thirteen on various days. Airfield defences were poor and the Tomahawks had complete freedom of action.

Extracts from Herington, J. (John) (406545) Air War Against Germany and Italy 1939-1943, Australian War Memorial, Canberra, 1954 – Page 92

On 28 June 1941, Tomahawk AK427 together with 6 other Tomahawks, were detailed to escort Blenheims bombing Palmyra with orders to remain on an offensive patrol after the Blenheims had carried out their mission. The Tomahawks shot down 6 Vichy France Glen Martin aircraft, landing at Damascus to refuel before returning to base. On taking off from Damascus aerodrome, and when AK427 was at about 100 feet, the engine spluttered and then picked up. The aircraft commenced a left hand circuit and alter spluttering again the engine failed. The aircraft was then heading down wind, and the pilot attempted to turn into wind and land at the aerodrome, but the aircraft stalled and spun in.


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 Veteran’s Affairs On-Line WWII Nominal Roll
National Archives of Australia On-Line Record A705, 163/155/42


Brown, R. (Russell) Desert Warriors Australian P-40 Pilots at War in the Middle East and North Africa 1941-1943, Banner Books Maryborough QLD 4652, 2000

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