Poignant memorial for Beaufighter pair

Nicola KalmarBroome Advertiser
Valma Bullied, Judith Smith and her daughter Carrie Smith gaze upon the plaque.
Camera IconValma Bullied, Judith Smith and her daughter Carrie Smith gaze upon the plaque. Credit: Broome Advertiser

Three months after the remarkable discovery of a World War II RAAF aircraft that plummeted into the ocean off Broome in 1944, a memorial service was held this morning to honour the two airmen who died, marking 70 years to the day of the crash.

Decades on from the tragedy, families of Flt Sgt Ronald Kerrigan and Sgt Ronald Smith finally received closure as they paid respects to the airmen in a poignant dawn service at Cable Beach where a commemorative plaque was unveiled in a fitting tribute.

The pilot and navigator were killed when their RAAF Beaufighter A19-163 aircraft crashed off Cable Beach on September 18, 1944.

The aircraft was one of four Beaufighters based in Broome assigned to provide protective cover for the Catalina flying boats that were conducting patrols, bombing raids and mine laying operations in the waters occupied by the enemy-held Netherlands East Indies (Indonesia).

For more on this, pick up your copy of the Broome Advertiser next week.

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