Recollections from his comrades in the second world war and how he died.
Taken from page 120, The Story of “J” Force,
Edited by Alexander Dandie, (NX 26154 L/Sgt. H.Q. Coy., 2/30 Bn. AIF.)
self published by the editor in Sydney NSW, 1985
ISBN 0 9589113 0 4
“Dappor” Dean in his “Banjo News” No. 6 of March 1957 published a letter, which he had received from the Directorate of Army Records, Albert Park Barracks, Melbourne, dated 29th May 1956:-
“In reply to your letter of 19th May it is desired to inform you that five members of the Australian Military Forces lost their lives when a United States Army Air Force plane crashed on Kansan Mountain, Formosa on the 10th September 1945.
The ill fated plane carried twenty passengers, 12 American, 3 Dutch and five Australian soldiers, the latter being:
|VX 58497||Bdr. Ronald Simons Cooper||4th Aust.Anti Tank Regt.|
|NX 60056||Cpl Albert Arthur James||2/19 Aust. Inf. Bn.|
|NX 35741||L/Sgt Richard Thomas Noble||2/30 Aust. Inf. Bn.|
|VX 35009||WO.11 Harry Rogerson||2/29 Aust. Inf. Bn|
|SX 10013||Cpl Jack Livingstone Gilding||8 Aust. Div. Amn. Sub Park,|
The Major Houghton (U.K. Forces) referred to in your letter was not a passenger in this aircraft according to the records.
Director of Army Records”
This shows that the typhoon did/not cause the plane to ‘ditch’ as had been thought by a lot, but blown so far off course, that it reached Taiwan.
R.E. (‘Joe’) Horne says that the planes, which were lost, were flying through heavy pouring rain; that the pilots tried to fly above the rain, but were unsuccessful.
The Memorials to the five men are in the Sai Wan Bay War Cemetery, Hong Kong, in the North West of the Island, about seven miles from the centre of Victoria, the capital. All are together in Plot 6 Row A Graves from 2 to 6 inclusive, and the Register of the graves shows their ranks, varied from that above to be:-
|VX 58497||Gnr. Ronald Simons Cooper||Grave 5|
|NX 60056||Sgt. Albert Arthur James||Grave 2|
|NX 35741||Sgt. Richard Thomas Noble||Grave 3|
|VX 35009||WO2 Harry Rogerson||Grave 4|
|SX 10013||Cpl. Jack Livingstone Gilding||Grave 6|
Johnny Gilmore said:
“Jack Gilding went as far as Okinawa with me, but, as we were being taken to the aerodrome to fly to Manila, somebody called out to Jack from another truck.
Jack jumped down and went over to find out, who it was, found that it was a chap, with whom he had been, when he enlisted. He came back to our truck and asked me, is I would mind, if he went with his old mate, and he would see me in Manila. So I handed him down his belongings – never to see Jack again.
He was one fellow, who deserved to come home, for what he had done for others. He was a slashing guy, and a true friend of mine. He would do anything to help anyone, and took many risks.”
Jimmy Dore also commented:-
“We travelled ex Okinawa to Manila by converted Liberators with 15 Ps.O.W. to a plane and the 5 crew members, who were American. I was very fortunate as Jack Gilding from South Australia was with me. He was the 15th member of the plane in front, and I was first in the next plane. The flight crew introduced themselves to us, and said that there were Mae Wests and parachutes for us, but they said, that they did not think we would need them, so they remained scattered about the plane and we did not receive any instruction for their use. On the flight one of the crew told us that the plane was going down to 500 ft, as it had hit the tail end of a typhoon. We were also told that the plane ahead of us had struck trouble.”