Flying Officer Gordon Harold SAWLEY

Service No: 407951
Born: Norwood SA, 28 June 1913
Enlisted in the RAAF: 3 February 1941
Unit: No. 19 Operational Training Unit (RAF)
Died: Aircraft Accident (No. 19 Operational Training Unit Whitley aircraft VN1486), off the Scottish Coast, 14 August 1942, Aged 29 Years
Buried: Unrecovered
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Andrew Gilbert and Florence Maud Sawley, of Norwood, South Australia
Roll of Honour: Norwood SA
Remembered: Panel 111, Runnymede Memorial, Surrey UK
Remembered: Panel 130, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT
Remembered: World War II Honour Roll, National War Memorial of SA, North Terrace, Adelaide

At 2148 hours on 13 August 1942 Whitley VN1486 of No 19 Operational Training Unit took off from Base to carry out a night cross country training flight followed by a bombing detail.

The aircraft returned to base on completion of the cross country flight at 0207 hours on 14 August 1942 and without landing informed control by radio that it was proceeding on the bombing detail. The aircraft was observed by the Observation Post at 0215 hours to be approaching from the south west over Forres. It continued north then turned east. It was then seen to make a swoop from 2,000 feet to 1,000 feet and shortly it disappeared from sight. A few seconds later the aircraft was heard to crash into the sea and catch fire about 3 kms north of the aerodrome. The weather at the time was good. Aircraft and rescue launches were quickly on the scene but only pieces of wreckage were found. The position of the crash was approx 3 kms west of Findhorn. It was recorded that the missing crew had lost their lives at sea.

The crew members of VN1486 were:

Sergeant Ulic Julian Banham (653184) (RAF)
Sergeant James Stewart Graham (1059575) (RAFVR)
Sergeant Denis Mervyn McCutcheon (1313020) (RAFVR)
Pilot Officer Thomas William Osborn (119245) (RAFVR)
Flying Officer Gordon Harold Sawley (407951) (Pilot)


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, 163/56/133

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