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Archive Report: Allied Forces

Compiled from official National Archive and Service sources, contemporary press reports, personal logbooks, diaries and correspondence, reference books, other sources, and interviews.


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No. 13 Squadron RAAF Crest
12.01.1942 No. 13 Squadron RAAF Lockheed Hudson II A16-67 Fl/Lt. Arthur Robert Barton

Operation: Anti shipping at Kema Bay, near Manado, Celebes, Dutch East Indies (now Sulawesi Indonesia)

Date: 12 January 1942 (Monday)

Unit: No. 13 Squadron RAAF - Motto: "Resilient and Ready"

Type: Lockheed Hudson II

Serial: A16-67

Code: Not known

Base: Namlea, Boeroe Island, Dutch East Indies (now Pulau Buru, Indonesia)

Location: Not known

Pilot: Fl/Lt. Arthur Robert Barton Aus/270525 RAAF Age 28 - Killed (1)

2nd Pilot: F/O. Samuel William Clifford Aus/677 RAAF Age 24 - Killed (2)

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. John Lake Mills Aus/407106 RAAF Age 21 - Killed (3)

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Bernard Samuel Bates Aus/406513 RAAF Age 24 - Killed (4)


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REASON FOR LOSS

Took off from Namlea, Boeroe Island, Dutch East Indies (now Pulau Buru, Indonesia) together with another Hudson A16-7 piloted by Fl/Lt. Geoffrey Sattler also of No. 13 Squadron. The two pilots had known each other since November 1939 when they had commenced training together at Point Cook, Victoria.

Ahead of them three Hudsons of No. 2 Squadron RAAF had been despatched from Namlea on the same mission to attack Japanese invasion force ships i.e. 4 Cruisers, 4 Destroyers and 2 Troop ships at Kema Bay on the island of Celebes (Sulawesi).

The three Hudsons of No. 2 Squadron were attacked by 6 "Zero" fighters and 3 floatplanes which shot down two of them and although the leader of the three Fl/Lt. Robert Wylie Burns Cuming returned safely to base he reported that although he had seen F/O. Gorrie's aircraft shot down he knew nothing of the fate of Fl/Lt Hodge's aircraft nor of the two in the second formation as these two had been proceeding independently of his formation.


When no attack report was received from the two crews in the second flight, the formation was called up from Namlea, who received a reply in correct "X" procedure preceded by Sattler's call sign but it was later considered that this may have originated from Japanese sources who were known to be jamming RAAF frequencies.

Despite further attempts to make contact nothing further was heard from the aircraft and searches carried out by aircraft returning from later operations were negative.

After the war an extensive investigation and search were made to locate the crew of Hudson A16-67 but despite the best efforts of those concerned no trace of the aircraft or crew were found.

Accounts of the fate of the other three aircraft and their crews can be seen at

Hudson A16-7

Hudson A16-12

Hudson A16-46


BIOGRAPHICAL DETAILS OF THE CREW


(1) Fl/Lt. Arthur Robert Barton was born 1 April 1913 son of Arthur Osborne Barton and Eva May Barton, of Brisbane, Queensland, Australia; husband of Hettie Stewart Barton, of 25 Abbott Street New Farm, Brisbane, Queensland and later of 388 Forrest Road, Bexley, Sydney.

On 6 November 1939 a special course to train men with previous flying experience as service pilots was begun at the flying training school at Point Cook, Victoria. The course was to last 12 to 15 weeks and on graduation the air cadets were to be appointed to commissions with the rank of Pilot Officer in the RAAF. Arthur Barton was one of the successful applicants for the course as was Geoffrey Sattler (pilot of Hudson A16-7) and Robert Wylie Burns Cuming (leader of the three Hudsons of No.2 Squadron)


In December 1942 in accordance with the practice instituted by Headquarters, North Eastern Area of the RAAF, of naming aerodromes after members of the Air Force who had lost their lives, or were missing, and had served their country with conspicuous ability and loyalty, it was decided to name an aerodrome in Northern Territory after Arthur Robert Barton. The location of the airfield named Barton however is not known.

He is commemorated on the Australian War Memorial, Canberra.

Courtesy Courier-Mail (Brisbane) 8 January 1943




(2) F/O. Samuel William Clifford was born on 4 February 1917 at Coburg, Victoria the son of James and Margaret Frances Clifford nee Gibbs: husband of Suzanne Margaret Clifford nee Hart of 7 High Street, Mordialloc, Victoria, Australia. Enlisted 2 Nov 1938

He is commemorated on the Australian War Memorial, Canberra.



Photograph: Courtesy AWM


(3) Sgt. John Lake Mills was born on 30 June 1920 at Bellerive, Tasmania son of Bernard Lake Mills and Jessie Ethel Mills of Rundle Street, Kent Town SA and husband of Jean Allison Mills of 11 Vine Street Prospect SA. He was educated at Adelaide High School from January 1933 to January 1935 and afterwards at Thebarton Technical High School, Adelaide until June 1935: he played tennis and football. After leaving school he worked as a Clerk/Salesman and was a member of the 27th Battalion Signals Section for 18 months prior to enlisting at Adelaide on 27 May 1940. At the time of his enlistment his address was 33 Hauteville Terrace, Eastwood. He was described as 5'8" tall weighing 131lbs with a fair complexion, blue eyes and fair hair. He trained at No. 1 Wireless and Gunnery School, at Ballarat from 28 May 1940 and on 12 January 1941 was posted to No. 1 Bombing and Gunnery School, Evans Head, New South Wales. He completed his training and was promoted to sergeant on 10 February 1941 before being posted to No. 13 Squadron on 26 March 1941. He left Australia for service overseas on 7 December 1941.

He is commemorated on the Australian War Memorial, Canberra.


(4) Sgt. Bernard Samuel Bates was born on 22 March 1917 at Victoria Park, Western Australia the son of Samuel and Beatrice Alice Bates, of, 72 Stirling Highway Claremont, Western Australia. He enlisted on 6 January 1941

He is commemorated on the Australian War Memorial, Canberra.


BURIAL DETAILS

(1) Arthur Robert Barton - Having no known grave he is commemorated on the Ambon Memorial, Indonesia - Column 7

(2) F/O. Samuel William Clifford - Having no known grave he is commemorated on the Ambon Memorial, Indonesia - Column 8

(3) Sgt. John Lake Mills - Having no known grave he is commemorated on the Ambon Memorial, Indonesia - Column 10

(4) Sgt. Bernard Samuel Bates - Having no known grave he is commemorated on the Ambon Memorial, Indonesia - Column 9


The town of Ambon, situated on Laitimor Peninsula on the southern shore of Ambon Bay, was severely damaged during the war, first by the Japanese who bombed it heavily in January 1942 and later by the Allied forces who attacked it in 1943 and 1944.

The Ambon Memorial was constructed on the site of a former prisoner of war camp, and commemorates 442 officers and men of the Australian forces who have no known grave. Of these, nearly 300 belonged to the Australian Army and over 150 to the Royal Australian Air Force; they lost their lives in Ambonia, in other islands of the Molucca group and in Celebes. Many of those commemorated here died in the defence of Ambonia in the early months of the war against Japan and others were killed in the Allied assault on Japanese air bases established on Ambonia and Celebes. A large number perished in Japanese prisoner of war camps.

The panel at the Ambon Memorial commemorating 171 members of the Royal Australian Air Force with no known grave.


Researched by Aircrew Remembered researcher Roy Wilcock for all the relatives and friends of the members of this crew - May 2016

With thanks to the sources quoted below.

RW 25.05.2016

Acknowledgements: Sources used by us in compiling Archive Reports include: Bill Chorley - 'Bomber Command Losses Vols. 1-9, plus ongoing revisions', Dr. Theo E.W. Boiten and Mr. Roderick J. Mackenzie - 'Nightfighter War Diaries Vols. 1 and 2', Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt - 'Bomber Command War Diaries', Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Tom Kracker - Kracker Luftwaffe Archives and Fred Paradie - Paradie Archive (both on this site), Robert Gretzyngier, Wojtek Matusiak, Waldemar Wójcik and Józef Zieliński - 'Ku Czci Połeglyçh Lotnikow 1939-1945', Anna Krzystek, Tadeusz Krzystek - 'Polskie Siły Powietrzne w Wielkiej Brytanii', Norman L.R. Franks 'Fighter Command Losses', Aircrew Remembered Databases and our own archives. We are grateful for the support and encouragement of UK Imperial War Museum, Australian War Memorial, Australian National Archives, UK National Archives and Fold3 and countless dedicated friends and researchers across the world.
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Last Modified: 03 July 2016, 16:42

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