Alexander Edward Elrick

#1185, b. 16 November 1922, d. 21 January 1943

Alex in the BBC recording studios - London, England. 1942-11-08. From Cogers Inn off Fleet Street, in the heart of London, the BBC microphone carries messages from Australian servicemen to their families at home. The hostess Mrs Collinson and her daughter, who is affectionately known as "Evie", are standing at the back, while Lieutenant Bill Buddy, Royal Australian Naval Volunteer Reserve (RANVR), of Wembley, WA, is being interviewed by H. H. Stewart who produces the programme "Anzacs Calling Home". Other participants in the programme are: Leading Aircraftman (LAC) Vin Jacoby, RAAF, of Riverton, SA; Corporal Charles Reardon, RAAF, of Hobart, Tas; Flying Officer Leonard Jefferies, RAAF, of Brisbane, Qld; LAC J. F. Lefoe, RAAF, Melbourne, Vic; LAC Jim Stephens, RAAF, of Subiaco, WA; Able Seaman Nelson Joseland, RANVR of King Island, Tas; Sergeant (Sgt) J. Conlon, RAAF, of Orange, NSW; Flight Lieutenant Frank Arthur, RAAF, of Campsie, NSW; Pilot Officer Alan Ritchie DFM, RAAF, of Lindfield, NSW; Sgt Ted Anderson, RAAF, of Melbourne, Vic; LAC A. E. Elrick, RAAF, of Hobart, Tas; Sgt Noel Eede, RAAF, of Innisfail, Qld.

Individual's Timeline

Birth16 November 1922Alexander Edward Elrick1
Death of Mother25 February 1929Lilian Ethel Elrick2
Death21 January 1943Alexander Edward Elrick

Primary events

Some aspects of Alexander Edward Elrick's life. This story is NOT about Alec's death, but it does give an insight into what the crews of these flying boats were about. See exhibit for a photo of the aircraft in question.

Bay of Biscay. C. 1943-05. A RAAF Sunderland flying boat of No. 461 Squadron RAAF assisted in the rescue of the crews of two other aircraft in the Bay of Biscay, receiving considerable damage in the process, and made history by landing on Angle airfield near Pembroke Dock, Wales, on its return. The story begins when another RAAF Sunderland aircraft was sent out to attempt to rescue the crew of a Whitley bomber who had been sighted in a dinghy 250 miles from land. The Sunderland alighted on the sea in a cross wind and sank, the captain being killed and the first pilot, 405404 Flying Officer R. Gipps, severely injured. The crew managed to get themselves and the injured man into their dinghy and made contact with the Whitley crew, eventually lashing the two dinghies together. Next day, a second Sunderland from the same squadron located the dinghies and, alighting near them, managed after careful manoeuvring, to get the two crews on board. A Fighting French destroyer was directed to the spot by a Halifax and put off a whaler to set about the job of getting the rescued men off the Sunderland. This was done, the crew remaining on board. An attempt was made at first to tow the aircraft but the heavy seas caused considerable damage and the project had to be abandoned, so it was decided to risk a take-off. Wave after wave struck the Sunderland with terrific violence and it was not until the seventh wave had assisted them to get their craft airborne that they succeeded. They arrived over their base and sent a message "Hull caved in; landing airfield" and, turning out to sea, jettisoned everything inflammable, padded themselves with cushions and mattresses, and prepared for the landing. The flying boat touched down at 60 mph with only a slight jar and came to rest on its port wing 160 yards further on. Its hull made a groove in the ground only 2 inches wide.

Military Career

Records show that Alexander Edward Elrick served in the armed forces. Enlisted in the Air Force
Name ELRICK, ALEXANDER EDWARD
Service Royal Australian Air Force
Service Number 30954
Date of Birth 16 Nov 1922
Place of Birth HOBART, TAS
Date of Enlistment 17 Mar 1941
Locality on Enlistment HOBART, TAS
Place of Enlistment HOBART
Next of Kin ELRICK, ROBERT
Date of Death 21 Jan 1943
Rank Aircraftman 1
Posting on Death 461 Squadron
WW2 Honours and Gallantry None
Prisoner of War No
Roll of Honour HOBART TAS.1

Military

  • 1943, Alec was a Gunner in RAAF - flying out of southern England in Sunderland Flying Boats. These planes would be on duty to pick up airmen who had ditched in the sea, or on submarine patrol in the waters south of England. In Alec's case, his plane was testing new Radar equipment when it went missing in the Bay of Biscay

Research Notes

  • Research note 01: Alec was a keen cycle racer. One newspaper story, The Hobart Mercury dated Monday 11th July 1938, when Alec was 16, has Alec winning convincingly. The race was a 25-mile handicap event, and Alec's time was 55 mins. In December 1938 the paper has Alec setting a new Tasmanian record for the Junior quarter mile race, with a time of 29 secs (but the paper is smudged so this time needs to be checked).3

Citations

  1. Aust War Memorial nominal, online http://www.ww2roll.gov.au/doc/contacts.asp
  2. Unknown author, South Reg cemetery trust fiche.
  3. Trove Digitised Newspapers, The Mercury Monday 19 December 1938 page 11.