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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
12.01.1942 No. 13 Squadron RAAF Lockheed Hudson I A16-7 Fl/Lt. Geoffrey Sattler

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

Date: 12 January 1942 (Monday)

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

Type: Lockheed Hudson Mk.I

Serial: A16-7

Code: Not known

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

Location: Crashed near Ranowangko village in the Tondano district of Celebes, Dutch East Indies (now Sulawesi, Indonesia)

Pilot: Fl/Lt. Geoffrey Sattler Aus/260510 RAAF Age 30 - Killed (1)

2nd Pilot: Sgt. John Graham Goode Aus/407788 RAAF Age 27 - Killed (2)

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Reginald Anthony Desmond Hunter Aus/5978 RAAF Age 23 - Killed (3)

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Matthew Roscoe Hodgson Aus/406529 RAAF Age 33 - Killed (4)

We appeal to anyone with further information and/or photographs to please contact the Helpdesk

Courtesy AWM


Hudson A16-7 with Fl/Lt Sattler at the controls took off from Namlea, Boeroe Island, Dutch East Indies (now Pulau Buru, Indonesia) together with another Hudson A16-67 piloted by Fl/Lt. Arthur Robert Barton also of No. 13 Squadron. The two pilots were well known to each other having trained together as Cadets of B Flight at No. 1 Flying Training School at Point Cook, Victoria commencing in late 1939. 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. Fl/Lt. Cuming 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 aircraft in the second formation who had proceeded independently from his formation but as he was killed shortly afterwards on 20 January 1942, it was impossible to obtain any elaboration of events from him.

No attack report was received from the crews of the second flight, so 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 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 all negative.

The fate of the four missing aircraft and their crews was to remain unknown until after the end of hostilities when an investigation was able to be made.

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

Hudson A16-12

Hudson A16-46

Hudson A16-67

After end of the war a search party located the wreckage of Fl/Lt. Sattler's Hudson A16-7 near the village of Ranowangko in the Tondano district of Celebes (now Sulawesi). In his report of 22 October 1945 F/O. P.J. Keating the RAAF investigating officer said that he with the village Chief he had visited the crash site and had found there a piece of fuselage bearing the serial A16-7 in black paint. He was told that four bodies had been removed from the wreckage and buried in the village graveyard. The grave was well tended and had a small native shelter built over it.

A written statement from a village official relates the circumstances of the crash and its aftermath.

"Underfollowing statement refers to an event that happened about the time of the Japanese invasion of this area and of which I, J.L. Kumontoy, a native, and since 1936 a functionary of the village of Ranowangko, Tondano district have been a witness.

On the 12th January 1942, the population of our village, having heard that the Japanese had occupied Menado, fled in terror to their gardens outside the village. At about 8 o'clock in the morning of the same day we heard two explosions in succession, and not a long time after we could see 7 planes flying from east to west, and we clearly saw that one was fleeing pursuited by the other 6. Suddenly we saw smoke billowing from out of the pursuited plane, and all aflame it crashed down at a spot about half a kilometre west of our village.

Immediately our village chief ordered me and several other inhabitants to go in aid of the wrecked plane's crew, but to be careful because of the fierceness of the fire and the still exploding ammunition. We got there as soon as possible, but did not find any of the crew alive. What we saw were only the remains of human bodies, all scattered around. These were all gathered, wrapped up in cloths and carried to the village where at the order of our chief, they were put in a ready-made coffin, and laid in state in the village-church, while we kept watch over them during the night. We buried them next morning, in our village churchyard. Our village chief held a speech to commemorate their death as victims in the performance of their duty.

The perished crew, were according to what we could read on their identification medals, al RAAF and their names: 1 Schatler, 2 Hotson, 3 Goringa and 4 Kaarte.

On January 18th, there arrived at our village the Dutch commander in the North Celebes area, Major Schillmoller, with a part of the military forces under his command, being on their retreat from the North. After having visited the graves of the deceased RAAF crew to pay homage to them, commander Schillmoller and his troops continued their retreats.

On the 24th of that month, another Dutch officer, namely Captain Van Den Berg arrived at Ranowangko with his troops he too visited the RAAF men's last resting place with the same intention as commander Schillmoller".

The investigating officer was also told that the identity discs, papers, money and personal effects of the RAAF crew had been handed over to Major Schillmoller. The Dutch people present were of the opinion that Schillmoller had been taken to Macassar by the Japanese and was thought to be dead.

Major Schillmoller was in fact found to be alive and confirmed having visited the grave and receiving two identity discs, money and papers from the village chief. These he had handed to his adjutant but had no knowledge where they were now. He did however recollect very clearly the names Sattler and Hodgson.

With no other evidence forthcoming the known facts were that since A16-12 piloted by F/O. Gorrie had been witnessed by Fl/Lt Cuming to crash into the sea and no parachutes seen the only explanation of F/O. Gorrie's ("Goringa") being buried with crew of A16-7 was if his body had been washed ashore and this was not suggested by the villagers who also claimed that only the remains of four bodies were buried.

Records reveal that numbers 2 and 13 Squadrons were at the time for operational purposes, treated as one squadron and that crews and aircraft were interchangeable. It isnot unlikely that A16-7 may have been carrying papers or other articles bearing the names of members of the crew of A16-12 and these may have been found by the villagers.

The fate of A16-46 piloted by Fl/Lt. Hodge had been verified by P/O. Howard the sole survivor.

With regard to A16-67 piloted by Fl/Lt Barton and A16-12 piloted by F/O. Gorrie, as no trace of aircraft or crews was found it was presumed that these aircraft had been shot down and the crews had lost their lives.

On 22 November 1946 it was concluded that:

"As the wreckage of A16-7 [piloted by Fl/Lt Sattler] has been located and identified, as no survivors have been found since the aircraft became missing over a period of approximately five years ago, and that interrogation of Japanese and perusal of Japanese records give no indication that any crew member was captured, it is considered highly probable that all members lost their lives in this crash. The mention of the name "Goringa" indicates a possible confusion in the burial of two crews but does not affect the probability that all the crew of A16-7 perished in the crash".

It was recommended that the crew should be presumed to have lost their lives on 12 January 1942.

The remains removed from the grave at Ranowangko in 1946 were re-interred at Macassar War Cemetery in Collective Grave 28.B.5-8


(1) Geoffrey Sattler was born on 4 September 1911 at Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia the son of Ethel Agnes Sattler and Thomas A. Button. Following the death of his mother on 2 January 1918 he was adopted by his Aunt and Uncle, Herbert Cecil Roberts and Cecilia Adelaide Roberts (nee Sattler) of Flat 4 Winston, 32 Middleton Street, Stanmore, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. After attending Armidale Teachers' Training College he became a member of the teaching staff at Scone D.R. School in New South Wales. In March 1935 he was appointed as the Education Officer of the Vacuum Oil Company at Bathurst, N.S.W. A Boy Scout Leader and Public Spirited Citizen he was taught to fly by Tommy Pethybridge, Sir Charles Kingsford Smith's co-pilot on their ill-fated attempt to break the speed record for flight from England to Australia in 1935.

Already well known locally for his talks, film shows and amateur acting roles Geoffrey Sattler enjoyed greater notoriety in September 1936 for looping the loop 25 times and then being unable to stop yawning. But on 21 April 1937 this larger than life character was the leading player in a far more life threatening incident. He and Vacuum Oil Company aviation department assistant, Alan Woodhill, on their own initiative planned to bid a surprise farewell to Mr D.S. Aarons the company general manager by flying a hired aircraft in circles over the ship on which was to travel, as it prepared to leave Sydney harbour for the far east. Piloted by Geoffrey Sattler disaster struck when as the aircraft was rising it hit an air pocket and went into a spin at 1100 feet. Though he tried to correct the spin he failed and the aircraft dropped straight into the harbour at 50 miles per hour. The two flyers fortunately escaped from the aircraft and surfaced dazed and bleeding. Geoffrey Sattler courageously went to the aid of Alan Woodhill and just managed to keep him afloat until three workmen dived into the harbour and came to their rescue.

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. Geoffrey Sattler was one of the successful applicants for the course as was Arthur Robert Barton (pilot of Hudson A16-67) and Robert Wylie Burns Cuming (flight leader of the three N0. 2 Squadron Hudsons)

News cutting: Courtesy Rockhampton Evening News 9 September 1936

News Cutting: Courtesy Sydney Morning Herald 22 April 1937

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 Geoffrey Sattler.

Sattler Airfield, now abandoned, is situated some 20 miles south of Darwin near Freds Pass, Bees Creek and Coolalinga.

He is commemorated on the Australian War Memorial, Canberra.

(2) Sgt. John Graham Goode was born on 9 January 1915 at College Town, Adelaide, South Australia the elder son of Arthur Hedley Goode and Marianne Goode nee Hill of 133 King William Road, Hyde Park, Adelaide.

He married Dorothy Mary Toole at Melbourne on 24 October 1941 and lived at Broken Hill, Darling, New South Wales, Australia. Before enlisting in January 1940 he was on the staff at the Zinc Corporation Ltd., Broken Hill and was treasurer of the Aero Club in the city.

He is commemorated on the Australian War Memorial, Canberra.

(3) Sgt. Reginald Anthony Desmond Hunter was born on 19 August 1918 at Fremantle, Western Australia son of Charles Alex and Margaret Hunter later of Beaconsfield, Melbourne, Western Australia. He enlisted at Laverton, Victoria.

He is commemorated on the Australian War Memorial, Canberra.

(4) Sgt. Matthew Roscoe Hodgson was born 7 September 1908 at St. Asaph, Denbighshire, Wales the son of Major Thomas Garstang Hodgson and Mary Ethelreda Louisa Hodgson nee Leadbitter-Smith. The family lived at Prestatyn, Denbighshire. A Farm Labourer he emigrated to Australia when he was 19 years old, arriving at Fremantle aboard the Orama on 3 April 1928. In 1931 and 1932 he was recorded in the Electoral Roll as a Contractor at Carnamah, Western Australia.

He married Helen Aitken Spears Paton (born Musselburgh, Scotland 26 June 1906) and they lived at South Kalamunda, Perth, Western Australia and had a daughter.

He enlisted in the RAAF at Perth. His widow Helen died 16 February 1997 at Kalamunda, Perth age 90. He is commemorated on the Australian War Memorial, Canberra and the Stirk Park Kalamunda Memorial Walk.

Photograph: Courtesy the Hodgson family


(1) Geoffrey Sattler was buried at the Ambon War Cemetery, Indonesia - Collective Grave No. 28.B. 5-8

(2) Sgt. John Graham Goode was buried at the Ambon War Cemetery, Indonesia - Collective Grave No. 28.B. 5-8

(3) Sgt. Reginald Anthony Desmond Hunter was buried at the Ambon War Cemetery, Indonesia - Collective Grave No. 28.B. 5-8

(4) Sgt. Matthew Roscoe Hodgson was buried at the Ambon War Cemetery, Indonesia - Collective Grave No. 28.B. 5-


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

With thanks to the sources quoted below.

RW 25.05.2016

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