Aircraft Crash Site, Kangaroo Flats, William Hinds

The wreckage of Bill Hind’s aircraft (Spitfire Type F.Vc RAAF Ser A58-153 RAF Ser EF558) remains in the Army range area at Kangaroo Flats Training Area just south of the headwaters of Pioneer Creek. The wreckage was scattered over a wide ledge and the assumption based on this was that it had impacted at a quite steep angle and at speed. Whilst the wreckage was scattered, it was in a defined area with no indications of any assemblages that would indicate a shallow approach.

In August 2019, the wreckage was visited by Bill Hind’s nephew, Michael Horsfall and his 1st Cousin once removed, Diane Hinds.

Michael wrote:- “Debris, mainly aluminum skin, interspersed with small calibre bullets and the odd cannon shell, is spread over an appox 50 sq. Yds. I managed to find a part of the engine block, a part of the nose of the propellor and part of the seat frame. Two anomalous holes, a couple of yards apart suggest the impact was straight down, and followed of course by an considerable explosion. Very unforgiving rocky ground and had Bill been alive and attempting to ditch he wouldn’t have had much of  a  chance …..quite aside from being completely lost and without water.”

Photos from Bob Alford Collection via AHSNT Collection Aviation Historical Society of the Northern Territory.

Notes on the history of Hinds aircraft and wreck site by Bob Alford.
From Bob Alford Collection via AHSNT Collection Aviation Historical Society of the Northern Territory

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In 1990, historian, Bob Alford interviewed Sqn Ldr Ron McDonald of 452 Squadron and prepared this topographical sketch which assisted to identify Bill Hinds crash site at Kangaroo Flats.

Bob Alford was raised at Bacchus Marsh in the state of Victoria, Australia, Bob’s interest in aviation stems from his father’s involvement from the Kingsford Smith era and the Victorian Aero Club of the 1930s. Bob joined the RAAF in 1966 and served 20 years as an Armourer in a variety of squadrons and postings, many of these at overseas bases. Following ‘retirement’ from the RAAF Bob was commissioned to undertake site surveys and report on military and aircraft crash sites in the Northern Territory.

He was later appointed Director of the National Trust and was involved in the 1992 War Service Memorial Year, during which he wrote the first edition of Darwin’s Air War. He also prepared many papers, co-wrote a number of publications and books and provided research and other services to a range of individuals and organisations, both in Australia and overseas. Bob was later appointed Chair of NT Committee for the Federal Government’s 1995 Australia Remembers commemorative program and in 1999 commenced his own business as a heritage consultant.

In 2002 he was appointed as Chair of the NT Heritage Council, an appointment he held for five years. In April 2007 Bob and his Thai wife, Pat, moved to Thailand, and lived in a village on the outskirts of Lampang in Thailand’s north. In 2021 they had returned to Darwin and around 2022 moved to Hervey Bay. Bob has retained his interest in the aviation history and heritage of the Northern Territory. He has extensively rewritten Darwin’s Air War (2011) for the Aviation Historical Society of the Northern Territory and has recently self-published his latest work, Japanese Air Forces over the NWA 1942-1945. He is currently researching The Japanese In Northern Australia 1942-44, Darwin Defenders the 49th Fighter Group over Darwin and Aviation Archaeology.

Bob Alford’s sketch of Bill Hinds crash site from interview with Squadron Leader, Ron McDonald of 452 Squadron RAAF