Wednesday 4 September 2013

Camden War Cemetery

The Camden War Cemetery

Camden war cemetery is located on Burragorang and Cawdor Roads' corner, three kilometres south of Camden Post Office. The cemetery is slightly above the Nepean River floodplain, with a northerly aspect at an elevation of 75 metres. 

Camden War Cemetery with a view towards Camden (I Willis)

The vista to the north provides a picturesque view across the floodplain and is dominated by the town with St John's Church's spire in the background. It is not hard to imagine the scene that met these servicemen when they arrived in Camden during wartime over 60 years ago. 

Thousands of servicemen passed through the Camden area between 1939 and 1946 at the various defence facilities. Major military establishments were the Narellan Military Camp on the Northern Road at Narellan, and the Eastern Command Training School at Studley Park, Narellan. Many army units also undertook manoeuvres throughout the area, and there were temporary encampments in several other locations including Camden Showground, Smeaton Grange and Menangle Paceway. 

The principal RAAF establishment was located at Camden airfield, with secondary airfields at The Oaks and Menangle Paceway. As well, there were several emergency runways constructed throughout the local area. The RAF also had several squadrons based at Camden airfield between 1944 and 1946.   

When the visitor approaches the cemetery, they do so from the east. They advance along a paved walkway lined with low hedgerows. The walkway is dominated by a flag pole in the centre of the path. The visitor then walks through a gate into the cemetery proper, and they are immediately struck by the serenity of the site.  

The cemetery contains twenty-three servicemen stationed in the Camden area during the Second World War. These men fit within the Camden area's long military tradition when local men went off to the Boer War and later the First World War. The latter group names are listed on the memorial gates to Macarthur Park,  Menangle Rd, Camden.

View of Cemetery Entrance

The cemetery contains the graves of seventeen RAAF servicemen, four army personnel and two RAF servicemen. The headstones are lined up in an N-S configuration, with the graves facing E-W. The graves are surrounded by a border of oleanders and bottlebrush and dominated by a single majestic tea tree. The cemetery is well kept and has a pleasant outlook.

Camden War Cemetery view to the entrance gate (I Willis)

Servicemen's Details

Royal Australian Air Force

Five airmen were killed in Hudson A16-152, which was part of 32 Squadron RAAF. The aircraft crashed south-west of Camden on 26 January 1943 while on a cross-country training flight. The aircraft was based at Camden airfield.  The pilot and the four-man crew were killed.
 F/Sgt SK Scott  (402996), aged  25 years.
Navigator F/Sgt HBL Johns (407122), aged  27 years.
W/T  Operator Sgt BCJ Pearson  (402978), aged  25 years.
 Sgt GD Voyzey  (402930), aged 24 years.
 Sgt GT Lawson (412545),  30 years.
Sgt SW Smethurst (418014), aged 20 years, crashed his Kittyhawk A29-455 at The Oaks airfield on 30 September 1943 while on a training exercise strafing the airfield. This exercise was in conjunction with the 54th Australian Anti-Aircraft Regiment which erected gun positions adjacent to the airfield. The aircraft splurged at the bottom of a shallow dive and struck the ground.

Five airmen were killed on 18 November 1943 in Beaufort A9-350, part of 32 Squadron RAAF. The aircraft crashed on a night cross country exercise training exercise, while based at Camden airfield. The pilot and crew were killed.
F/Sgt RC Christie (410630), aged  23 years.
Navigator Sgt DR James (418721),  aged  20 years.
WOAG Sgt FN Fanning (419465), aged  20 years.
Sgt RA Sharples (419226), aged  23 years.
F/S HSJ Terrill (419426), a passenger from 73 Squadron, aged  20 years.

Corporal JP Kerrigan (62397) was an electrical mechanic and was killed in a car accident in Sydney on 11 December 1943, aged  29 years.

Five airmen were killed on 29 March 1944 in Beaufort A9-550, part of 15 Squadron RAAF. The aircraft was based at the Menangle Racetrack airfield. The aircraft crashed after take-off when the port engine failed.
F/Sgt HB Johnston (420024), aged 26 years.
2nd Pilot F/O RW Durrant (422555), aged 24 years.
Navigator F/O HD Wheller (426409), aged 21 years.
W/T Operator F/Sgt RAC Hoscher (412535), aged 23 years.
AC1 WH Bray  (141632), aged 22 years.

Camden War Cemetery (I Willis)

Royal Air Force

LAC A Mullen (RAF) 1526778 was involved in a fatal accident on the Camden airfield tarmac on 12 October 1945, aged 23 years.

WOFF FS Biggs  (RAF) 365157 from the Servicing Wing, RAF Station, Camden, was killed in a car accident in Sydney on 25 November 1945, aged 36 years.

Australian Army

Private Leonard Charles Walker (V235527) enlisted in the Australian Citizen's Military Forces at Ballarat, Victorian on 8 October 1941. He was born in Ballarat on 28 June 1923. He served in the
46th Australian Infantry Battalion, 29/46th Australian Infantry Battalion.  He died at Menangle on 18 July 1945 aged 22 years.

Warrant Officer Class Two John Gow Alcorn (NX148530) enlisted in the Australian Citizen's Military Forces at Sydney on 28 May 1934. He was born in Glasgow, Scotland on 19 January 1900.  He transferred to the 2/AIF on 26 February 1943. He served in the Sydney University Regiment,
110th Australian Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment, 41st Australian Infantry Battalion,
41/2nd Australian Infantry Battalion. He died of illness 31 March 1944, aged 44 years.

Warrant Officer Class Two Harry George Grinstead (NX126686) enlisted in the Australian Militia Forces at Sydney on 17 February 1930. He was born in London on14 August 1910. He initially transferred to the Australian Citizen Military Forces on 17 February 1940, and then to the 2/AIF on 15 August 1942. He served in the 9th Australian Field Regiment. Grinstead died on 15 August 1944 due to injuries sustained in a railway accident, aged 34 years.

Craftsmen Elwyn Sidney Hoole (NX97717) enlisted in the 2/AIF on Paddington on 11 August 1942. He was born at Walcha,  New South Wales,  on 12 October 1908. He served in the 1st Australian Ordinance Workshops Company, 308th Australian Light Aid Detachment.  He died on 6 June 1944, aged 35 years.


Camden War Cemetery
Cnr Burragorang and Cawdor Roads
Camden. NSW 2570 


RAAF Historical Section, Department of Defence, Air Force Office, Canberra. Correspondence,
Accident Reports.
Central Army Records, Melbourne.  Correspondence.

Updated 9 January 2021. Originally posted 5 September 2013.