Above, Squadron Leader Alain Middleton (left) and Squadron Leader John Cotterell inspect the wreckage of RAAF Hudson Bomber A16-126 as the Royal Australian Air Force conducted a search of the crash site for the remains of the crew lost during World War II. The search just completed uncovered dog tags, but no remains of the four airmen lost with the aircraft on 11 February 1942.
Flying Officer Graham Gibson, Pilot Officer Frank Thorn, Sergeant Barton Coutie and Sergeant Arthur Quail were aboard Hudson bomber A16-126 when it was shot down during a sortie against Japanese shipping at Gasmata harbour, New Britain in Papua, New Guinea. The crash site was discovered in the jungle in June, 2007, by an American missionary who led a nine person Australian team back to the site this month. The team searched the cockpit, which was found upside down, among other pieces of wreckage.
An RAAF team of nine personnel, including two Air Force Reservist forensic specialists, deployed to the isolated mountain ridge inland from Gasmata by helicopter on Saturday, 4 October 2008. They spent a week at the wreckage site.
Below Squadron Leader Middleton photographs one of the propellers in the wreckage field.
Below are the dog-tags of Sergeant Barton Coutie, found at the crash site.
Below is a watch with the date 16.8.32 inscribed on it. The 16th of August 1932 was the twentieth birthday of Pilot Officer Frank Thorn.
All photos are from the Australian Ministry of Defense website.