442319 Sergeant (Pilot) Paul Illtyd ANWYL – killed in a flying accident
Paul Illtyd ANWYL was born at Royston Park (SA) on 9 April 1925, the only child of Illtyd Stanley Hope ANWYL and Elizabeth Ada ANWYL (nee RECHELOW). His education included two years at the Adelaide Technical High School (1938-1939) prior to moving to the Inman Valley area where his parents took up farming. Paul had been working on the farm for three years when he applied for aircrew training on 10 April 1943. Prior to this, he commenced the Air Crew Reservists Course in October 1942 and attended classes under direction of Victor Harbor High school teacher Mr Howard T. BARBER. Mr BARBER was still teaching in the 1960’s when the author attended Victor High.
On 19 June 1943, Paul was enlisted into the Royal Australian Air Force and underwent basic air cadet training at No 4 Initial Training School (ITS), Victor Harbor. In September, he was mustered for pilot training and was sent to No 11 Elementary Flying Training School (EFTS) at Benalla (Vic). On completion of his basic flying training, Paul was mustered for single engine training and posted to No 7 Service Flying Training School (SFTS) at Deniliquin (NSW) on 18 December 1943.
On 4 June 1944, after Paul qualified as an airman pilot, he was sent to Sale (Vic) where he undertook the RAAF’s High Altitude Course and this was followed with a posting to No 2 Operational Training Unit (OTU), Mildura.
On 3 July 1944 at 1055 hours, SGT ANWYL took off in Wirraway A20-325 together with two other aircraft on a training flight; the other aircraft were A20-524 flown by SGT SG JOHNSTONE and A20-316 flown by instructor Flying Officer NR CALDWELL with trainee pilot SGT AG GAWITH. Both aircraft were engaged in section combat with A20-316 acting as a target.
On attempting to press home an attack on the “target”, SGT ANWYL apparently lost sight of Johnstone’s Wirraway and collided with it, severing the empennage and causing both aircraft to crash. Johnstone lost control of his elevator, which immediately caused the aircraft to “bunt” throwing him out of the cockpit; he then managed to parachute to safety and was uninjured.
The accident report states SGT ANWYL made no attempt to bail out of his stricken Wirraway and it was seen to spin and straighten out twice, after which it dived into the ground at an angle of 45 degrees. He was killed on impact. It was thought SGT ANWYL attempted to bring the aircraft in for a controlled landing, but failed. The crash occurred on the edge of the Coomealla irrigation settlement near Fletchers Lake, 14 miles north-north west of the aerodrome. SGT ANWYL was buried in the Mildura War Cemetery.
Shortly after SGT ANWYL’s death, his father sold the farm at Inman Valley and moved to Adelaide. The property, eight miles from Victor, was purchased by AV & WM SAXON. The Victor Harbor Times edition of Friday, 8 September 1944 published a Goldsbrough Mort & Company clearing sale advertisement for Stan ANWYL’s livestock and plant. It was later revealed that Mrs ANWYL had divorced her husband in June 1944 on the grounds of “habitual cruelty”.
The Victor Harbor Times edition of 13 April 1945, under the headline “Woman’s Romance with Captive”, reported that Mrs Elizabeth ANWYL had been charged under the National Security (Prisoners of War) Regulations and found guilty of fraternising with an Italian POW. The POW, Vincenzo RUSSO, had been assigned to the ANWYL farm in February 1944 as a labourer. Shortly thereafter, Mrs ANWYL formed a relationship with Russo. Mrs ANWYL was fined 50 pounds plus costs.
Service file of 442319 Paul Illtyd ANWYL purchased from the National Archives of Australia ( www.naa.gov.au).
National Library of Australia TROVE newspapers website (http://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper), the Victor Harbor Times edition of 13 April 1945.
Compiled by the Victor Harbor RSL History Research Team, June 2017.