The Pick-a-Back Anson Crash 1940
The Pick-a-Back Anson Crash, Brocklesbury, NSW
Salvage crew attending the crash site. For further details of this amazing incident, see following story.
Flight Lieutenant Jack Hewson 1945
This original photograph taken at Point Cook in May 1940 was purchased from the archives of the Baltimore Sun newspaper by Jack's son in 2012. The Anson immediately behind the aircrew is the aircraft Jack was flying when the collision occurred. At the time of this photograph the aircraft was being used by the General Reconnaisance Squadron and they were being prepared for a air navigation exercise to Tasmania.
Jack Hewson's Roo Club Membership
John Hewson's note :
"Some pics of Dad’s Roo Club award, which was for an emergency bail out using a “Dominion Parachute” which was an Australian made parachute. There were 122 issued from 1939 to 1945 of which this is Number 2. The first one went to L.A.C. Hugh Fraser who was the Observer in the lower aircraft and the third to L.A.C. Ian Sinclair who baled out from the upper aircraft."
More information regarding this fantastic incident is here.
Newsreel footage of the Pick-a-Back Anson crash.
Memorial unveiled at the crash site in Brocklesbury, NSW
Official unveiling of crash site memorial
Crash Site memorial
On September 29, 1990 a special 50th anniversary ceremony was held in Brocklesbury to honour the four airman involved in the Pick-a-Back crash.
Organised by the Brocklesbury Historical Society it brought together relatives of the airmen, Federal and State parliamentary representatives, members of the R.A.A.F. and well over 200 local residents, far more than was actually expected.
Leonard Fuller was represented by his brother Colin, Jack Hewson by his son John and Hugh Fraser by his brother Charles. Sadly no relatives for Ian Sinclair could be located and he was represented by a R.A.A.F. Officer from the Wagga Wagga Air Force Base.
Mr. Tim Fischer, the local Federal member made a very evocative speech, very much off the cuff and very pertinent to the day. He was followed by the President of the Brocklesbury Historical Society who spoke about each airman and their R.A.A.F. wartime service after which Mr. Fischer unveiled the beautiful granite monument, saying “Hmm...Hewson, Sinclair and Frazer, I must mention this to my Parliamentary colleagues.”
The relatives of the four airman and the Wagga Wagga R.A.A.F. Officer were then invited to each plant a tree in memory of those involved in the incident. Those saplings have flourished and have grown to maturity, two on either side of the memorial.
Following completion of this ceremony a Beech 18 twin engined aircraft flew low over the site, dropping three parachutists to represent the bail outs. The aircraft then landed in the actual paddock, where the original landing took place and taxied up to the final resting place of the two Ansons fifty years to the minute of the original incident.
After this, everyone attending adjourned to the Brocklesbury Town Hall for a beautiful luncheon prepared by the local C.W.A. and view photographic exhibits of the crash, many provided by the airmen's relatives and others from R.A.A.F Wagga Wagga.
It would be an understatement to say that the day was a great success and was a credit to the organising by the Brocklebury Historical Society.
Today the crash site is signposted and listed on most tourist brochures. There is also a display in Brocklesbury itself of photographs and information along with a Cheetah engine which was the powerplant used in Avro Ansons.
Jack Hewson - The Artist
Jack Hewson, as well as being an experienced aviator, was also an accomplished watercolourist. His paintings are included in many private collections in Australia and overseas.
Mango Tree Plantation Dunk Island 1950
This watercolour was painted in 1950 from a pencil sketch done on a visit to Dunk Island in early 1944. The trip to Dunk island came about when Jack borrowed a De Havilland Dragon 8 seat biplane and flew over with the noted painter William Bustard who was a camouflage artist in Townsville at that time, three airmen from his unit, No. 5 Communications Squadron and one of the unit's other pilots, F/O Wilf Mole. Jack and Bustard went painting, Wilf Mole went for a swim and the airmen went to the foreshore rocks and spent the afternoon chipping oysters. Three bags of oysters were transported back to Garbutt and the Officer's, Sergeant's and airmen's messes all enjoyed fresh oysters that evening. The flight to Dunk Island is not listed in Jack's log book, so it was all very unofficial. (These details were related to John Hewson by Wilf Mole in the late 1960s)
38 Squadron Camp, Morotai, Dutch East Indies 1945.
Early painting done by Jack in 1945 at the big Morotai Air Base in the Halmahera Islands in the old Dutch East Indies. This was a stopover for Jack when flying C-47 freight runs to Borneo and Zamboanga in the Southern Phillipines. He always took his paintbox with him and painted this view of his Squadron's camp at Morotai. After being safely stored for over fifty years the painting was recently restored by his son John.
For information regarding Jack's military artist son Allan, click here.
Stories and photos above courtesy John Hewson.