Ex­plo­sion takes marks­man

Central and North Burnett Times - - ANZAC CENTENARY -

THOMAS Pa­trick Chad­wick was one of the many young men who never re­turned home to his fam­ily af­ter leav­ing to fight in the Se­condWorld War.

Af­ter be­ing raised in Gat­ton and work­ing on a farm, the hus­band and fa­ther of three moved to Monto to work in the but­ter fac­tory af­ter los­ing a lit­tle girl in a dairy ac­ci­dent.

It was here that he en­listed for the RAAF, and nephew Tom Crow­ley, who still lives at Gat­ton, was told he was an ex­pert marks­man.

“His fa­ther was an ex­pert marks­man as well and fought in the Boer War in South Africa,” he said.

“He orig­i­nally wanted to be a pi­lot, but he was such a good shot they had him be an air gun­ner in­stead.”

It was work­ing as an air gun­ner on board a Lan­caster DX-G LM 336 of 57 squadron on Septem­ber 24, 1943 that Thomas Chad­wick, along with the rest of the crew, died when the plane ex­ploded over Paris.

The crew left Lin­colnshire late on Septem­ber 23, on a mission to attack a tar­get at Mannheim, Ger­many.

But about 1am, above the north-east sub­ur­ban area of Paris, the plane sud­denly came un­der attack from a bat­tery on the ground at Pre-Saint-Ger­vais.

At a height of 150m the Lan­caster cir­cled Paris for half an hour, head­ing to­wards the River Seine.

At 1.30am the plane ex­ploded. An ac­count said that one en­gine fell through the roof of a house, while an­other fell onto a Parisian street.

The rear of the air­craft fell in front of a small café, while the fuse­lage and a wing fell on the roof of the Masa­gins du Lourve, set­ting fire to it.

“All the mem­bers of the crew were killed out­right from the ex­plo­sion,” the re­count stated.

“Not one of them was wear­ing a parachute, a de­tail which tends to con­firm the opin­ion ex­pressed by many peo­ple at the time: that the crew sac­ri­ficed it­self in or­der to save the lives of in­no­cent civil­ians.”

Af­ter the ac­ci­dent Parisians be­gan bring­ing flow­ers to the scene, un­til a Ger­man of­fi­cer re­port­edly put a stop to it.

In 1973 a plaque com­mem­o­rat­ing the crew stood out­side the Masa­gins du Lourve.

It is be­lieved Thomas Chad­wick flew 29 mis­sions and was the only Aus­tralian on board when it crashed.

He was sur­vived by his wife, a son and a daugh­ter who re­mem­bered him as a cham­pion mar­ble player and ex­pert marks­man.

NEVER RE­TURNED: RAAF Flight Sergeant Thomas Pa­trick Chad­wick, of Monto.

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