12.01.1942 No. 2 Squadron RAAF Lockheed Hudson I A16-12 F/O. Peter Creighton Gorrie
Operation: Anti shipping at Kema Bay near Manado, Celebes, Dutch East Indies (now Sulawesi Indonesia)
Date: 12 January 1942 (Monday)
Unit: No. 2 Squadron RAAF - Motto: Consilio et manu; ("To Advise and to Strike")
Type: Lockheed Hudson Mk. I
Code: Not known
Base: Namlea, Boeroe Island, Dutch East Indies. (now Pulau Buru, Indonesia)
Location: Crashed into the sea near Kema, Celebes, Dutch East Indies (now Sulawesi Indonesia) - the precise location is unknown.
Pilot: F/O. Peter Creighton Gorrie Aus/407168 Age 23 - Killed
2nd Pilot: Sgt. Wesley Leonard Morgan Aus/408112 Age 24 - Killed
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. John Edward Farrington Aus/17633 Age 27 - Killed
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Keith Richard Theodore McCrackan Aus/ 406219 Age 19 - Killed
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Photograph courtesy AWM
REASON FOR LOSS
Took off from Namlea on the island of Boeroe one of five Hudsons in formations of three and two despatched to attack Japanese invasion force ships comprising 4 Cruisers, 4 Destroyers and 2 Troop ships at Kema Bay on the island of Celebes (Sulawesi). The first formation led by Fl/Lt. Robert Wylie Burns Cuming (his aircraft serial number is not known) included A16-12 piloted by F/O. Peter Creighton Gorrie and A16-46 piloted by Fl/Lt. Joe Hodge. These three were the first to arrive over the target area where they were immediately attacked by 6 "Zero" fighters and 3 floatplanes which shot down two of the Hudsons, A16-12 piloted by F/O. Gorrie and A16-46 piloted by Fl/Lt. Hodge, the leader Fl/Lt. Cuming being the only one to return to base. Fl/lt. Cuming reported that he had seen F/O. Gorrie's aircraft attacked by three fighters before catching fire and crashing into the sea in flames from 12000 feet and no member having been observed to parachute it seemed unlikely that any of the crew survived.
He knew nothing of the fate of Fl/Lt Hodge's aircraft nor the two aircraft in the second formation who had been proceeding independently of his formation but as he had been killed shortly afterwards on 20 January 1942, it was impossible to obtain any elaboration of events from him.
After the war it was determined that A16-7 piloted by Fl/Lt. Geoffrey Sattler had been shot down with the loss of all the crew and when no trace of A16-67 piloted by Fl/Lt. Arthur Robert Barton or its crew were found it was presumed that this aircraft too had been shot down and all the crew had lost their lives.
Accounts of the details of the other three aircraft and their crews can be seen at
BIOGRAPHICAL DETAILS OF THE CREW
(1) F/O. Peter Creighton Gorrie was born on 6 June 1918 at Peterborough, South Australia the son of Dr. Peter Gorrie and Janet Howatson Gorrie nee Young. He attended Wykeham School, Belair, a suburb of Adelaide, where he was awarded the Form B Speeches Prize in 1930.
In 1931 he moved to Scotch College, Mitcham where he passed his Intermediate Certificate in 1934, with a credit in Physics. In the following year he won 1st Prize in the Senior Neat Dive at the Swimming Sports.
However when his father left the family and returned to Scotland in 1935 he had to find employment to help the family finances but continued to study accountancy at night school. In 1936 he went to work in Renmark and in 1938 he passed the Intermediate Examination of the Federal Institute of Accountants, Melbourne. He served in the Citizen's Military Force rising to the rank of Provisional Lieutenant. He was also a member of Renmark Golf, Tennis and Cricket Club.
Photographs courtesy Chris Pigott
He enlisted 20 July 1940 at Adelaide and after training at No.1 Initial Training School at Somers, Victoria, No. 1 Elementary Flying School, Parafield, Adelaide and No. 1 Service Flying School at Point Cook, Victoria he was commissioned as a Pilot Officer in the RAAF and posted to No. 2 Squadron Laverton, Western Australia on 17 March 1941. He was posted on active service overseas on 11 December 1941.
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 Peter Creighton Gorrie. Located just off the Stewart Highway & very near the Rail-head at Larrimah, Northern Territory was named "Gorrie" aerodrome.
Peter Gorrie is commemorated on the Adelaide War Memorial and the Australian War Memorial, Canberra.
Aircrew Remembered would like to thank Chris Pigott, nephew of Fl/Lt. Peter Gorrie for allowing us to use photographs and additional material from his tribute to his uncle, the full version of which can be seen at
(2) Sgt. Wesley Leonard Morgan was born on 2 November 1917 at Wynyard, Tasmania the son of Henry Arthur Morgan (a Grocer) and Clara Edith Morgan, 7 Strahan Street, South Burnie, Tasmania. He was educated at Wynyard State School from 1922 to 1929 and at Burnie State High School from 1929 until February 1934. He was a Grocer and had lived in Burnie for four years before he enlisted. Besides having been a prominent member of the Surf Life-Saving Club, he was captain of the Baptist Hockey Club, and played cricket and tennis.
After 7 months with the Militia Forces he enlisted at Hobart on 6 December 1940. He was 6' tall, weighing 180lbs with a fair complexion, brown eyes and light brown hair.
He trained at No. 1 Initial Training School from 8 December 1940, No.7 Elementary Flying School at Western Junction, Tasmania from 6 February 1941, No. 1 Service Flying Training School at Point Cook, Victoria from 7 April 1941 and General Reconnaissance School, Laverton, Western Australia from 6 October 1941 before joining No2 Squadron also at Laverton on 8 December 1941.
He is commemorated on the Burnie War Memorial, Tasmania and the Australian War Memorial at Canberra.
(3) Sgt. John Edward Farrington was born 5 August 1914 at Fremantle, Western Australia the son of Edward Charles and Ivy Olive Myrtle Farrington, of 28 Allen Street, East Fremantle, Western Australia He enlisted at Perth. His peacetime occupation was a Vendor. He is commemorated on the Fremantle War Memorial, and the Australian War Memorial, Canberra
(4) Sgt. Keith Richard Theodore McCrackan was born on 23 March 1922 at Wickepin the son of Theodore James McCrackan and Muriel Emily McCrackan nee George: husband of Shirley Norma McCrackan. He enlisted at Perth. In peacetime he was a member of the staff of Goldsborough, Mort P. Ltd
He is commemorated on the Wickepin War Memorial, Western Australia and the Australian War Memorial, Canberra
(1) F/O. Peter Creighton Gorrie - Having no known grave he is commemorated on the Ambon Memorial, Indonesia - Column 8
(3) Sgt. Wesley Leonard Morgan - Having no known grave he is commemorated on the Ambon Memorial, Indonesia - Column 10
(4) Sgt. John Edward Farrington - Having no known grave he is commemorated on the Ambon Memorial, Indonesia - Column 9
(5) Sgt. Keith Richard Theodore McCrackan - Having no known grave he is commemorated on the Ambon Memorial, Indonesia - Column 10
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.