19 July 1945 1315 Flt Liberator C.VII EW631 On take-off, the aircraft struck a 15-18 feet high tree and crashed at Mascot, Sydney. It was destroyed by fire and all aboard were killed. The aircraft, bound for Momote on Manus Island mistakenly taxied on to runway 16 before being redirected to runway 22. After almost 15 minutes of engine checking the aircraft became airborne at 2005 hrs, the starboard wing clipped a pine tree before crashing into the viaduct of the Southern and Western Suburbs Sewer over Muddy Creek. The cause of the loss was not determined. Following the crash, a civilian; Gordon William Knowles, attempted to rescue those on board and for his bravery was awarded the George Medal. The citation for Mr Knowles award is reproduced below. Fatalities Squadron Leader Ivan St John RAYNER 29 Pilot Flying Officer Frank Fordon HILDRETH 33 RNZAF Co-Pilot Flying Officer Duncan MCNEE 31 Navigator Flight Sergeant Alexander Finlay STEVENSON Flight Engineer Flying Officer John Leonard TILL Wireless Operator Commander James Edward BASS 27 RNVR Lieutenant Commander Henry Peter BYRNE 31 RN Commander Leonard Evelyn Romaine GOVETT 37 RN Captain John Dwight HARVEY 45 RN Leading Steward Eric MORRIS 26 RN Surgeon Lieutenant Colin NOLAN 26 RNVR Captain James Gregson ROPER 44 OBE RN The citation for the award of the George Medal for Mr William Knowles. A Liberator aircraft with a complement of 12 crashed a short distance from Mascot airfield New South Wales, Australia, immediately after take-off. The fuselage finally came to rest beneath a viaduct and immediately burst into flames. Blazing petrol escaping from the damaged fuel tanks spread over the water in which the wreck was partially submerged, entirely surrounding it with an area of fire. Mr Knowles rushed to the scene and extricated one body from the wreckage and with some assistance succeeded in extricating two more. After the removal of the third body, Knowles was in such an exhausted condition as the result of burns, immersion and carbon monoxide poisoning that he collapsed and was taken to hospital. Mr Knowles showed courage and utter disregard for his own safety in his endeavor to save the lives of the victims. 20 Feb 1946 - GEORGE MEDAL AWARD TO ROCKDALE RESIDENT. DRAGGED... Movement history of Liberator C.VII EW631 Ex. 44-39258 Delivered to Dorval 5 September 1944. Via Lagens to the UK arriving 11 September 1944. To Scottish Aviation Ltd and then 511 Squadron, Lyneham on 16 September 1944. To 246 Squadron 1 October 1944 and then to 1315 Flight. Hit trees after a night take-off from Sydney (Mascot) New South Wales, Australia on 19 July 1945. Crashed at North Brighton and destroyed by fire.