THE LOSS OF SPITFIRE VIIIs A58-392 and A58-393 

Compiled by Grahame Higgs


Does anyone doubt that the Spitfire is the Definitive Aeroplane?
Would any pilot among us not donate an underutilised (or duplicated) item of anatomy to fly one?

On the morning of Wednesday the 19th April 1944, Spitfires A58-392 and A58-393, departed from Strathpine airfield north of Brisbane on separate sorties, only to collide less than fifteen minutes later.

Does anyone doubt that the Spitfire is the Definitive Aeroplane?
Would any pilot among us not donate an underutilised (or duplicated) item of anatomy to fly one?

On the morning of Wednesday the 19th April 1944, Spitfires A58-392 and A58-393, departed from Strathpine airfield north of Brisbane on separate sorties, only to collide less than fifteen minutes later.


The second aircraft here is sister ship A58-395.

In 2003, looking south, the main Strathpine runway is now a luxuriously wide suburban street,

The second aircraft here is sister ship A58-395.

In 2003, looking south, the main Strathpine runway is now a luxuriously wide suburban street,



Appropriately named!

Appropriately named!


While there is a brief outline of the accident on an information board erected near the crash site, the accident report adds a little more to the story.

   A58-392 was Red Three, part of a three ship formation Red Section and flown by RAF pilot Flight Sergeant Alan Victor Chandler.    They departed Strathpine on an authorised formation flying exercise at approximately 08:45 and climbed to 4000 ft in a line astern sweeping left turn.   Almost immediately after they were airborne, A58-393 departed from the same runway flown by another RAF pilot, Squadron Leader William Henry Alexander Wright.   Squadron Leader Wright was the Commanding Officer of 548 Squadron and was assessing A58-393 with the view to making it his regular aircraft.    At some stage shortly thereafter, the leader of Red Section decided to conduct a mock attack on the solo Spitfire.
Descending from 4000 ft in a line astern rear attack from out of the sun, Red Leader and Red Two each closed to within 250 yards behind the target and broke away to the right.  Unfortunately Red Three (A58-392) bringing up the rear, collided with A58-393 at about 2500 ft causing both to crash to the ground with the loss of both pilots.   The accident report cites poor technique by Sergeant Chandler whilst carrying out a practice attack in formation as the cause of the accident.   However, it goes on to state -As none of the aircraft were fitted with R/T (radio telephony) it is possible that Sergeant Chandler did not know the leader was carrying out a practice attack and just followed the other two aircraft in the dive unaware of the presence of A58-393 until too late to avoid collision.

   Possible? I suggest almost certain would be more appropriate.   The sortie was briefed as a formation exercise after all, and Sergeant Chandler aged 22, with 103 hrs on type had only flown two previous flights with 548 Squadron, both the previous Monday.    Would he be expecting to bounce the CO or was he just trying to keep up?

While there is a brief outline of the accident on an information board erected near the crash site, the accident report adds a little more to the story.

A58-392 was Red Three, part of a three ship formation Red Section and flown by RAF pilot Flight Sergeant Alan Victor Chandler. They departed Strathpine on an authorised formation flying exercise at approximately 08:45 and climbed to 4000 ft in a line astern sweeping left turn. Almost immediately after they were airborne, A58-393 departed from the same runway flown by another RAF pilot, Squadron Leader William Henry Alexander Wright. Squadron Leader Wright was the Commanding Officer of 548 Squadron and was assessing A58-393 with the view to making it his regular aircraft. At some stage shortly thereafter, the leader of Red Section decided to conduct a mock attack on the solo Spitfire.
Descending from 4000 ft in a line astern rear attack from out of the sun, Red Leader and Red Two each closed to within 250 yards behind the target and broke away to the right. Unfortunately Red Three (A58-392) bringing up the rear, collided with A58-393 at about 2500 ft causing both to crash to the ground with the loss of both pilots. The accident report cites poor technique by Sergeant Chandler whilst carrying out a practice attack in formation as the cause of the accident. However, it goes on to state -As none of the aircraft were fitted with R/T (radio telephony) it is possible that Sergeant Chandler did not know the leader was carrying out a practice attack and just followed the other two aircraft in the dive unaware of the presence of A58-393 until too late to avoid collision.

Possible? I suggest almost certain would be more appropriate. The sortie was briefed as a formation exercise after all, and Sergeant Chandler aged 22, with 103 hrs on type had only flown two previous flights with 548 Squadron, both the previous Monday. Would he be expecting to bounce the CO or was he just trying to keep up?


One of the Spitfires impacted the ground near Sidling Creek in an area which is now a public park, Merv Ewart Reserve on the corner of Dayboro Road and Youngs Crossing Road, Petrie, Queensland.

One of the Spitfires impacted the ground near Sidling Creek in an area which is now a public park, Merv Ewart Reserve on the corner of Dayboro Road and Youngs Crossing Road, Petrie, Queensland.


The impact crater is still discernable, and an excellent memorial has been erected immediately adjacent.

The impact crater is still discernable, and an excellent memorial has been erected immediately adjacent.


 Unfortunately a portion of the wreckage, which should be secured to the memorial stone below the plaque, was missing on the day I visited.

Unfortunately a portion of the wreckage, which should be secured to the memorial stone below the plaque, was missing on the day I visited.


Despite the tragic significance of the location the ambiance within the park is charming, a credit to the Pine Rivers Council, the Pine Rivers Rotary Club and the Pine Rivers Sub Branch of the RSL.

Despite the tragic significance of the location the ambiance within the park is charming, a credit to the Pine Rivers Council, the Pine Rivers Rotary Club and the Pine Rivers Sub Branch of the RSL.

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