LEST WE FORGET

Flight Sergeant Maxwell Allen WEEKS

Service No: 437036
Born: Adelaide SA, 7 September 1921
Enlisted in the RAAF: 10 October 1942
Unit: No. 21 Operational Training Unit (RAF), RAF Moreton-in Marsh, Gloucestershire
Died: Ground Accident (Motor Vehicle), 12 August 1944, RAF Moreton-in-Marsh, Aged 22 Years
Buried: Oxford (Botley) Cemetery, Oxfordshire
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Francis James Weeks and Ellen Teresa Weeks, of Hilton, South Australia.
Roll of Honour: Adelaide SA
Remembered: Panel 132, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT
Remembered: World War II Honour Roll, National War Memorial of SA, North Terrace, Adelaide

On the 12th August 1944, Wellington MF 530 was detailed to carry out a non operational daytime fighter affiliation exercise. At 1210 hours the aircraft collided with a motor vehicle killing one occupant and injuring the other occupant of that vehicle. The aircraft crew was uninjured.

The occupants of motor vehicle were:

Flying Officer D A Dobbie (RAF) (Screened Pilot) Injured
Flight Sergeant Maxwell Allen Weeks (437036) (Pilot under instruction) Killed

The crew members of MF530 were:

Flying Officer J P Bowman (RAF) (Pilot and Aircraft Captain)
Pilot Officer A R J Harder (RAF) (Air Bomber)
Sergeant L T Jenkins (RAF) (Navigator)
Sergeant W T Logan (RAF) (Air Gunner)
Sergeant W Seed (RAF) (Air Gunner)
Sergeant F B West (RAF) (Wireless Air Gunner)

A Court of Inquiry into the accident found that: “A motor van was left by Flight Lieutenant Walker a screened Pilot and driver of the light van in front of an aircraft with its engines running, in such a position that it was not visible from the Pilot of the aircraft in the left hand seat In consequence when Pilot Officer Bowman taxied the aircraft forward it collided with the van. The main cause of the accident was that the aircraft was marshalled too near to the perimeter by Flying Officer Bowman before taking over the aircraft from Flight Sergeant Weeks. Flight Lieutenant Walker did not show sufficient care when he parked the van near to the aircraft. Flying Officer Bowman did not carry out a systematic check for obstructions prior to moving the aircraft forward and he did not ensure that Pilot Officer Harder his Bomb Aimer was in a position in the second Pilot’s seat to warn him of any obstruction. The Court also found that Flight Lieutenant Walker was not in possession of written authority to drive MT Vehicles.

Flight Lieutenant Walker stated that: “The aircraft was carrying out two fighter affiliation exercises and having completed the first exercise, the aircraft taxied to the grass and parked in front of Flying Control about 10 yards from the perimeter track. Then Flight Sergeant Weeks and crew vacated the aircraft and Flying Officer Bowman took over. I drove the van with Flying Officer Dobbie as a passenger up to aircraft parking it on the perimeter track on the Pilots blind side. The reason was to check the change over of the two crews I returned to the van with the intention of moving it to allow the aircraft to taxy for take off. On reaching the right hand side of the van someone called out and there was a crash as the starboard propeller of the aircraft hit the van. I leapt away and threw myself flat on my face. On getting to my feet, I could see that Flying Officer Dobbie was lying on the perimeter track with his head injured. Sergeant Weeks was also lying on the perimeter track having been hit in the face with a splinter from the propeller.”

References:

Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour On-Line Records (RAAF Casualty Information compiled by Alan Storr (409804))
Commonwealth War Graves Commission On-Line Records
Department of Veteran’s Affairs On-Line WWII Nominal Roll
National Archives of Australia On-Line Record A705, 166/43/812

© Copyright Highgate RSL. All rights reserved.