Witness 1

First Witness

Source: https://naa.gov.au

Flying Officer Roderick Nigel Balfour McIntyre (420421) Operations Controller Royal Australian Air Force Station Darwin having been duly sworn states:

I am Flying Officer Roderick Nigel Balfour McIntyre (420421) Operations Controller Royal Australian Air Force Station Darwin. I commenced my tour of duty as Operations Controller at 190315Z (19th December 12.45pm), during my tour of duty which ended at 190815Z (19th December 5.45pm) no signal was received in operations room relating to the aircraft Dakota A65-83 (C47-CIZ) departure from Ambon.

A D135 18th December exhibit (A) for the aircraft leaving for Darwin via Ambon was received Operations Room at approximately 182315Z (19th December 8.45am) that is before I commenced my tour of duty. The time of departure being stated as 182150Z (19th December 7.20am), this signal was then entered in the Aircraft Arrivals Log exhibit (B) kept by the recorder.

The next information received regarding Dakota A65-83 (C47-CIZ) was an “EMERGENCY REQUEST LANDING SIGNAL” D186 19th December exhibit (C) from Morotai. This signal was received at approximately 190730Z (19th December 5.00pm), I then replied to the above with signal D247 19th December exhibit (D) stating that no information had been received regarding Dakota A65-83 (C47-CIZ), and at approximately thirty minutes later my tour of duty ended and my (sic) I handed over to Flying Officer H.P. McPherson.



Q: Were you in attendance in Operations Room the whole time during your tour of duty?
A: No. At approximately 190230Z (19th December 12 noon) I received a telephone call to report to the Commanding Officer Royal Australian Air Force Station Darwin who instructed me to proceed to Sydney by the first available aircraft on duty – vide movement order exhibit (E) – to purchase foodstuffs for the airmen’s Xmas party. In all I spent approximately three hours arranging air transport.
Q: Who was in control of Operations Room during your absence?
A: Sgt Lambert
Q: Why did you not get another Controller to relieve you during your absence?
A: I did not anticipate that I would be away any considerable time.
Q: The usual practice we understand is to allow seven hours from the time an aircraft departs Morotai routed via Ambon to Darwin. If the aircraft had not arrived one hour after that time, is it not usual to take any action even though no actual time of departure has been received?
A: Yes. Aeradio would be contacted to ascertain whether any contact had been made with the aircraft, in the event of the aircraft having been contacted and being one hour overdue emergency procedure would be instigated.
Q: Did you receive any report from Aeradio of them having contacted A65-83 (C47-CIZ) after leaving Ambon?
A: No
Q: Did you mention to the Controller relieving you the fact that no actual time of departure had been received on Dakota A65-83 (C47-CIZ) from Ambon?
A: No. Seeing that no contact had been reported I considered that the aircraft had been delayed in Ambon.

Dated: 12th of January 1946
Location of statement: RAAF Station Darwin


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