Unsolved WWII Plane Crash Investigated

During the Second World War, there was a plane crash near southwest Victoria that was never solved. In fact, it was never even reported. There was a strict protocol of censorship in place at the time that prohibited anyone from reporting on the wreck, but there was at least some investigation by the authorities. A cause was never determined. Recently, however, new theories regarding the cause of the plane crash have begun to formulate.

Near southwest Victoria, Australia, off Lady Julia Percy Island, Avro Anson AW-878 met its end. Scraps of the aircraft were found near Yambuk, but no survivors were found in the area. It is known that there were two pilots as well as two other crew members aboard, all of whom were presumed dead. The plane crash was bad enough that the aircraft was deemed to be beyond repair. With the exception of a wing discovered on the island, the majority of the aircraft wound up at the bottom of the sea. Some of the newer postulations regarding how the wreck occurred are largely centered on the potential presence of submarines near Yambuk at the time.

Back when the wreck first occurred, there were rumors that a young girl had seen an enemy submarine around the location of the wreckage. This rumor could never be confirmed, as there were also rumors that she was told to keep her information on the plane crash to herself. Recently, interviews with Yambuk residents have uncovered rumors that there was a volunteer defense corps on the shore carrying rifles. Other theories are simpler, such as the theory that the aircraft had simply run out of fuel and the pilots had attempted to land on the island, or a theory that they crashed due to low visibility, The Standard reports.

Prior to the wreck, the aircraft had departed from Mount Gambier. Air intelligence had relayed reports of submarine sightings, but seven aircraft that departed prior to the Avro Anson were unable to corroborate these reports. This does not mean, however, that the plane crash was not caused by enemy fire. There were German reconnaissance subs assigned to Australia at the time, and it is possible that one of them may have managed to disable the plane without being spotted.

The mystery of the plane crash may never be solved, but some people are still dedicated to its memory. The Rotary Club of Warrnambool East has commissioned a brass plaque to act as a memorial to the wreck and its victims. There is to be a ceremony honoring the victims, held at a spot which overlooks the site of the plane crash. Surviving families members are being contacted should they wish to attend.

Ian Harvey

Ian Harvey is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE