Today is ANZAC Day, marking the anniversary of the Gallipoli Campaign of World War 1. ANZAC is an acronym for Australia and New Zealand Army Corps, and the day is shared by two nations. Each year on the 25th of April, the people of Australia and New Zealand reflect on all Defence Force personnel, past and present, and the sacrifices they’ve made. It is a solemn day.
ANZAC Day is one of Australia’s most important national occasions. It marks the anniversary of the first major military action fought by Australian service personnel as a newly federated nation.
Today, I’m thinking of Sergeant Geoffrey Robert Tippett, an Australian man buried and commemorated by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission at Andreas in the Isle of Man. Geoffrey is the son of son of John and Edith Tippett, and comes from Townsville in Far North Queensland.
Geoffrey was one of the five crew members on an Avro 652 Anson which left RAF West Freugh in Western Scotland just before 8pm on 30 December, 1943.
On a night training exercise, one of the propeller belts was damaged, causing spasmodic and intense vibration and the loss of engine power. A subsequent investigation found that the pilot likely decided to make an immediate forced landing, preferably on water near Port Soderick in the Isle of Man. Unfortunately, it appears that he overshot aiming north while flying in bad visibility, and faced with cliffs ahead, crashed head on into the Port Soderick cliff face.
All five crew members were killed:
- F/Sgt C. G. Eckersley, pilot
- Sgt H. Peters, navigator
- Sgt G. R. Tippett, bomb aimer
- Sgt H. C. Thompson, wireless operator and air gunner
- Sgt L. J. Henley, wireless operator
If you are interested in learning more about the men and women who died in World War 1 & 2, and who are now buried across the Isle of Man, you can book a talk from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission for your school, business or community talk. Click here to do so.