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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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240 Squadron Crest
27.06.1945 240 Squadron Catalina IVb JX435 Flt.Sgt. Edward

Operation: Transport flight

Date: 27th June 1945

Unit: 240 Squadron

Type: Catalina IVB

Serial: JX435

Base: Keeling and Cocos islands, Indian Ocean

Location: As above.

Pilot: Flt.Sgt. Edward William George Denmark 1294159 RAFVR Age 24. Killed

Pilot 2: WO. Eric John Freeman 1320699 RAFVR Age 23. Killed

Pilot 3: Flt.Sgt. Geoffrey Sims 982448 RAFVR Age 25. Injured (1)

Nav: Plt.Off. Francise Arthur Marshall J95597 RCAF Age 23. Killed

Flt.Eng: Flt.Sgt. David James John Paramore 1581676 RAFVR Age 22. Killed (2)

WOp/Air Gnr: Flt.Sgt. Edward Benn 1080445 RAFVR Age 24. (1)

Air Gnr: Flt.Sgt. Eric George Spearing 1585079 RAFVR Age ? Killed

Air Gnr: Cpl. Fred Haworth 1199771 RAFVR Age 24. Killed


LAC. Eric Henry John Butler 1866566 684 Squadron RAFVR Age ? Killed

Edward Allen, William Liverton, James Mitchell, Robert Short and Peter Collett, no further details, but although these survived, they were injured to various degrees.

A comprehensive paper had been prepared to the Commonwealth Heritage Trust by Dr. M. McCarthy curator of Maritime Archaeology Department of Maritime Archaeology, Australia on the 25th January 2005 to protect the wreck site of this aircraft - this has been downloaded by Aircrew Remembered and is available free of charge to interested parties. A large file with over 90 pages explaining many aspects of the accident - for sure an interesting document for relatives.


The pilot attempted to land downwind in a rough sea and the Catalina overshot the alighting area and the aircraft's nose dug in, almost causing it to overturn but fell back in an erect position and then caught fire and sank in fairly shallow waters.

Some reports state that the aircraft was overloaded with equipment etc but that the main cause was the landing direction. Interesting in that no windsock was in place and aircrews then relied on their own skilled observations. In this case a ship moored close to the alighting area was anchored at the stern and not the bow as was usual and at 180 degrees to the wind direction (Ships usually always anchor at the bow into the wind) So it is possible that this was the cause of the accident.

Some of the crew - Rear row: Dick Totwell, Jim Mitchell, Bob Short and Fl/Sgt. Edward Benn. Front: Bill Curtiss, Edward Denmark, Eric Freeman, Francise Marshall and Eric Spearing. Taken in July 1944 at Killadeas, County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland.

We think that this is also part of the crew lost on this day. No names apart from Eric Freeman 2nd from left at rear and Eric Spearing front centre. Apparently one of the crew always smoked a pipe, so they all posed with one! Perhaps you can name the others?

Catalina IVB (courtesy Mr David Legg of the Catalina Society)

We have the names of these aircrew and we know that Flt.Sgt. Sims is sitting down on extreme right. Can you place the names to the photo? L. Manley (Aylesbury), Eric Wild (Heywood), Les Sumner (Bolton), J. Kedward (Leigh) and J. Combes? (Oldham).

Underwater photo of the protected crash site today. (courtesy David Legg)

Memorial to the crew and passengers lost. This is currently, as far as we are aware, on top of a bureau and roll of honour at Clunies-Ross House on Home Island - memorial does have incorrect serial number (courtesy Mr David Legg of the Catalina Society)

(1) Flt.Sgt. Sims and Flt.Sgt. Benn sadly died later from their injuries.

(2) Flt.Sgt. Paramore was a former pupil of Moseley Grammar school (Now secondary/grammar school). We are working very closely with the school's historians to remember all the ex pupils who died whilst serving with the RAF and recorded on the school memorial.

Above left to right: Flt.Sgt. Spearing, Flt.Sgt. Paramore and Flt.Sgt. Sims - on right of this group, taken in Pensacola, Florida during training.

Burial details:

Flt.Sgt. Edward William George Denmark. Singapore Memorial. Column 450. Son of Walter George and Florence Maud Denmark, of Mile Cross, Norwich, Norfolk, England.

WO. Eric John Freeman. Singapore Memorial. Column 448. Son of William and May Freeman; husband of Beatrice Nora Freeman, of Cambridge, England.

Flt.Sgt. Geoffrey Sims. Kranji War Cemetery. 12.C.11. Born on the 12th January 1920 in Bolton. Son of Harry and Annie (née Smith) Sims of Bolton Lancashire.

Plt.Off. Francise Arthur Marshall. Singapore Memorial. Column 457. Son of F. A. and Lucy H. Marshall, of White Rock, British Columbia, Canada.

Flt.Sgt. David James John Paramore. Singapore Memorial. Column 450. Son of Frederick B. and G. E. Paramore, of Harborne, Birmingham, England.

Flt.Sgt. Edward Benn. Kranji War Cemetery. 12.C.6. Son of F. Benn and Margaret Benn, of West Hartlepool, Co. Durham, England.

Flt.Sgt. Eric George Spearing. Singapore Memorial. Column 450. Son of George and Florence Spearing; husband of Christina McGown Spearing, of Yeovil, Somerset, England.

Cpl. Fred Haworth. Singapore Memorial. Column 452. Son of Harold and Edith Haworth, of Elworth, Cheshire, England.

LAC. Eric Henry John Butler. Singapore Memorial. Column 453. Son of Henry Thomas and Gladys May Butler, of Northfleet, Gravesend, Kent, England.

Researched for relatives of the crew and passengers. With thanks to the following: Mr David Legg of the Catalina Society, Colin Cummings - "The Price Of Peace", Keith Townsend historian of Moseley Secondary/Grammar school memorial records.Thanks to Kate Davidson for NoK information for Flt.Sgt. Sims. (Jan 2021). Further updates by Aircrew Remembered (Jan 2021). Other sources as quoted below.

RS 02.01.2021 - NoK details Flt.Sgt Sims updated

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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, Michel Beckers, Major Fred Paradie (RCAF) and MWO François Dutil (RCAF) - Paradie Archive (on this site), Jean Schadskaje, Major Jack O'Connor USAF (Retd.), Robert Gretzyngier, Wojtek Matusiak, Waldemar Wójcik and Józef Zieliński - 'Ku Czci Połeglyçh Lotnikow 1939-1945', Archiwum - Polish Air Force Archive (on this site), Anna Krzystek, Tadeusz Krzystek - 'Polskie Siły Powietrzne w Wielkiej Brytanii', Franek Grabowski, Norman L.R. Franks 'Fighter Command Losses', Stan D. Bishop, John A. Hey MBE, Gerrie Franken and Maco Cillessen - Losses of the US 8th and 9th Air Forces, Vols 1-6, Dr. Theo E.W. Boiton - Nachtjagd Combat Archives, Vols 1-13. Aircrew Remembered Databases and our own archives. We are grateful for the support and encouragement of CWGC, UK Imperial War Museum, Australian War Memorial, Australian National Archives, New Zealand National Archives, UK National Archives and Fold3 and countless dedicated friends and researchers across the world.
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