A Royal Australian Air Force P-8A Poseidon flown by aircrew from No. 11 Squadron based at RAAF Base Edinburgh, near Adelaide in South Australia, will perform a flypast as part of the commemorative ceremony to honour the RAAF No. 11 Squadron Catalina A24-50 mission crew who were lost in Indonesia during World War Two.
At 9:00am 18 July 2021, the Poseidon flypast will open the commemoration, tracking east to west passing over the Cairns Catalina Memorial, The Esplanade, at a height no lower than 200 metres and at a speed of approximately 450 kilometres per hour.
The Catalina flying boat was one of the most versatile aircraft of the Second World War. Catalina aircraft stationed at Cairns were used from late 1942 by Number 11 Squadron to fly long-range missions against Japanese shipping and submarines.
The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) used more than 150 Catalinas between 1941 and 1945.
No. 11 Squadron Catalina A24-50 left Cairns on 2 September 1943 and crashed in mountainous terrain in Papua. All 10 crew members were lost with the aircraft and subsequent searches of the area failed to find any evidence of the aircraft or determine the fate of the crew.
The crash site was finally located in 2018 by local forestry workers, and Australian and Indonesian military personnel and staff worked closely in collaboration, securing access to the site in support of the recovery process.
The No. 11 Squadron P-8A Poseidon is the modern equivalent of the Catalina, and its primary roles are anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare, maritime surveillance and search and rescue.
• Flying Officer John Walter Bissett AMESS – aged 32 years
• Flying Officer Edward CARINGTON SMITH – aged 30 years
• Flying Officer James Percival OLIVER – aged 28 years
• Pilot Officer Athol Stewart BOYD – aged 20 years
• Pilot Officer Edward Matthew HOWE – aged 30 years
• Flight Sergeant Richard George HOBBS – aged 21 years
• Sergeant Melville Beckman TYRRELL – aged 21 years
• Corporal Alexander BURNS – aged 23 years
• Corporal Ian Lott PENROSE – aged 25 years
• Leading Aircraftman Alexander Headley CROUCH – aged 23 years (No. 20 Squadron)