Table of contents

Pictures from the Australia and South-West Pacific area

These pictures come to us from Philip Woffinden. Philip's dad served with the RAAF in WW2 and was a LAEME with a passion for photography. Most of these images were taken in Labuan in 1945.

This is a CAC-CA- 4 Wackett Bomber - an Australian designed twin engined bomber designed and built by Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation. This aircraft was tested by CAC and suffered vibration which was traced to disturbed airflow over the tailplanes caused by the barbettes. This was later rectified by providing dihedral or 12 degrees to the tailplanes.
TheCA-11 program was cancelled in September 1944 although test flying continued for another year. This aircraft was broken up in 1946.

The prototype was officially known as the Wackett bomber, and was designated the CAC-CA-4. The first prototype was destroyed in flight when an electrical spark ignighted leaking fuel.
Ed Crabtree a B-24 pilot, now involved with the Liberator restoration at Werribee recalls seeing this aircraft and commented on the amount of hydraulic oil leaking from the barbette turrets in the engine nacelles. More information on this aircraft mey be found here.

A Wirraway test runs it's engine. Vultee Vengeances.
Two shots of Mosquitoes.See more Labuan pictures.
A Japanese Ki.54 aircraft carrying a surrender party. A NEI B-25.
The result of a crash on takeoff. A crashed Japanese aircraft.
CAC Boomerangs of 4 squadron and Kittyhawks. More information on 4 Squadron can be found on Peter Dunn's site.
Australian built Beaufort
Beaufighter A8-198 of 31 Squadron RAAF.
Squadron history here.
Dakota A65-108 with Gracie Fields    
A8-198 after a landing incident. These Beaufighters belonged to 93 Squadron, RAAF which was formed in Queensland in December 1944. After working up in Australia they transferred to Labuan just in time for the last ten days of the war, during which time they were employed against Japanese shipping targets.They were retained for extra months after the war's end escorting fighters back to Australia and a force of Mustangs to Japan for the occupation. According to records, this aircraft, built in April 1945 was withdrawn from use in December of that year and written off in 1948. More info on 93 Squadron.

A8-129 rather more bent near Labuan Strip in August 1945, only 7 months old.
Quoting from the 93 Squadron page by John Burford, the story of this crash is revealed: "On August 15th, a signal came that the Japanese had formally surrendered (following the use of the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki). 93 Sqn. was then assigned the task of leaflet dropping to inform the Japanese, the prisoner-of-war camps and the native population that the War had ended. Given the state of the Japanese communications at the time, there was some likelihood that the leaflets would not be believed. Four Beaufighters were dropping leaflets in the Borneo region on the 16th when, making a drop over a village, the crew of A8-129 heard a tearing noise and saw a Zero fighter flash past. The pilot, W/O Ellers, brought the badly damaged and vibrating aircraft back to base, but was unable to lower the undercarriage. He landed wheels-up in the jungle to avoid damaging the airstrip, badly injuring himself and W/O Dunn, his navigator-wireless operator. Following this and other incidents, the RAAF suspended flights over Japanese-held areas until news of the surrender could be communicated to the Japanese command in Borneo and Malaya."