22.09.1949 No. 24 Squadron Dakota C.IV KJ970 Fl/Lt. Quinn
Operation: Operation Plainfare
Date: 22nd March 1949 (Tuesday)
Unit: No. 24 Squadron ('In omnia parati' - Prepared for all things/Ready for anything)
Type: Dakota C.IV
Code: Not known
Location: Lübec, Germany
Pilot: Fl/Lt. Mel Joseph Quinn AUS/412688 RAAF Age 26. Killed
Nav: F/O. Kenneth Arthur Reeves 59342 SAAF Killed
Sig: M/Sig. Alan Penny AFC. 552860 RAF Seriously injured
REASON FOR LOSS:
The pilot had previously served with 453 Squadron as a Spitfire fighter pilot during the war.
The crew were taking part in 'Operation Plainfare' or as more commonly known as the 'Berlin Airlift'. They had delivered their much needed supplies to RAF Gatow in Berlin and were returning with another load but of unknown description.
The weather had deteriorated for their return trip - low cloud and greatly reduced visibility. Three aircraft were on this trip and each pilot were instructed to make a BABS approach into the airfield (Blind Approach Beam System) - a radar guided approach. The pilot experienced problems with this and it is thought that he had perhaps been blinded by the sodium lights, but no definitive cause of the crash was determined.
The Dakota during second attempt to land crashed some 3 KM. south-east of the airfield at Lübec at around 22:15 hrs.
M/Sig. Alan Penny succumbed to his injuries a few hours later.
Fl/Lt. Mel Joseph Quinn was buried at11:30 hrs on Saturday the 26th March. Ohlsdorfer Friedhof Cemetery. Plot XI. Row B. Grave 9. Born on 18 June 1922 at West Maitland, New South Wales. Husband of Margaret Irene Quinn. Son of Mr. Matthew Joseph (Dec) and Mary Quinn Surfside Avenue, Clovelly, Sydney, Australia. His brother, W/Cdr. N.T. Quinn also served and received the DFC. and two bars.
We assume that fellow crew members are also buried there - perhaps you are in a position to advise?
F/O. Kenneth Arthur Reeves
M/Sig. Alan Penny AFC
Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this crew with thanks to sources indicated below.