New Guinea

 

2 October 1943

30 Squadron, New Britain

At 0721 on 2 October, 30 Squadron sent out two Beaufighters from Vivigani strip on a barge sweep along the New Britain coast. The Japanese had been sending out fewer barges and these sweeps had recently brought less success. However at 0825, pilots P/O Edward Marron (A19-142),  and F/Lt Arthur Thompson (A19-137), along with their observers F/Sgt C.V.Gollan and P/O J.P.O White, spotted a twin engine aircraft at two miles distance. Flying a course of 210 degrees, 300ft above the sea, and 65 miles off the Southern coast of New Britain. Using the speed advantage of their aircraft they closed rapidly on a Mitsubishi G4M 'Betty', which had now changed its course to 320 degrees. Marron and Thompson took up positions abreast and slightly above the greyish-green bomber. At 800 yards the tail gunner opened up with 20mm cannon fire at a rate of about 120 rounds a minute. Defensive fire also came from the bombers side blisters but both were ineffective. Marron and Thompson began to attack alternately in a scissor action, as the bomber began violent evasive action. It was Marron who was able to silence the rear gunner with a short burst. This allowed Thompson to close on a full astern attack, as petrol was seen to be streaming from the Bettys port engine nacelle. Opening fire at 200 yards down to 120 yards, Thompson's rounds hit home. The bomber, now skimming the surface at 70ft, burst into flames and nosed into the sea. The action had taken less than nine minutes, and the two Beaufighters expended 1,300 cannon, and 1.500 .303 rounds. The four crewmen arrived back at Vivigani at 1041, and a rare case of beer was broken out in the mess that night to celebrate the squadrons first confirmed victory.

 

The burning wreckage of the Betty shot down by Marron and Thompson

Two days later the same crews were attacked by Zekes while carrying out another barge sweep, seven miles from Brown Island. Thompson and White again in A19-137, sustained hits to the tail, port wheel, rear fuselage, port mainplane and tail plane. The Beaufighters were eventually able to outpace their pursuers by diving to sea level and drawing away at 250 knots. However on arriving back at Vivigani the port tire of Thompson's plane failed on landing, and the aircraft swung off the airfield, eventually coming to rest on the soft edge of the strip. Thompson and White were unhurt but the Beaufighter sustained enough damage for it to be written off.

 

Above: Members of 30 Squadron RAAF celebrate its first confirmed victory wth a rare case of beer, as they toast the successfull crew. (Bottom row from right to left. C.V 'Bunny' Gollan, Peter White, Ed Marron, Arthur Thompson).

Below: The Beaufighter flown by P/O Marron. The aircraft had previously been coded with the single letter "J" before the application of its LY-M code. The exact date of this change is not yet known.

 

 

 

Combat Claims

P/O E.A Marron

.5 Betty destroyed

A19-142 (LY-M)

ORB

F/Lt  A.A Thompson

.5 Betty destroyed

A19-137

ORB

 

Other Known Participants 

F/Sgt. C.V Gollan  (Observer A19-142)

P/O J.P.O White (Observer A19-137)

 

Allied Losses

 Nil

 

Japanese Forces

 1 Betty Bomber