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CARMICHAEL, Stanley Ray (1930-1959)

CARMICHAEL, Stanley Ray (1930-1959)

Stanley Ray Carmichael, pilot, was born on 30 September 1930 at Red Cliffs and killed when his RAN aircraft crashed into the sea in 1959.

He boarded at Geelong College from 12 February 1948 to December 1948 and had previously attended Mildura High School.

He served (No. 0176) as a Sub-Lieutenant (Pilot) for 219 days in Korea with 805 Squadron, Fleet Air Arm, RAN, embarking for Korea on 27 October 1953 and returning to Australia on 2 June 1954.

Pegasus of June 1959 reported:
'Lt Stanley R Carmichael, of the Fleet Air Arm, was killed last May (20 May 1959) when his plane crashed into the sea off the New South Wales coast during a photographic exercise. He was at the College in 1948.'

The Sydney Morning Herald had the story on the front page on 21 May 1959:
'Two killed as Navy Jet crashes near Coastal Vessel: A naval jet fighter crashed into the sea 25 miles south-east of Jervis Bay yesterday, killing its two occupants before the eyes of men on a ship less than 300 yards away. Those killed were the pilot S R Carmichael, 28, and the observer, Sub-Lt M C Williams, both of Nowra. Both were married and Sub-­Lt Williams was the father of a child aged 7 months.

A message from the ship, the 1,800 ton coastal vessel
Kamona, said the plane, a Sea Venom, circled it twice at very low altitude. On the third circuit a wing touched the waves and it crashed. The message said no trace of the pilot or observer could be found amongst the wreckage. The largest pieces of the aircraft found were only about 1 ft across. Naval authorities believe the two airmen had no warning of the impending crash, because the Venom was fitted with ejection seats and these apparently were not used. The Kamona lowered a boat immediately. The seamen searched the area for more than half an hour for the missing men. Signals sent to Nowra brought two sea-air rescue craft and HMAS Warramunga to the scene. The vessels continued their search until dusk without success.

An official RAN statement on the crash said the Sea Venom was engaged in photo­graphic reconnaissance. It was photographing the
Kamona when the crash occurred at 1.47 pm. A spokesman for the RAN praised the swift action of the Master and crew of the Kamona in their efforts to rescue the men. The spokesman said the Navy understood the ship's boat was at the scene within a few minutes, but apparently the main part of the Venom had gone straight to the bottom. The first distress signal was sent to the Department of Navigation and Lighthouses a few minutes after the crash. It was passed immediately to naval authorities. Subsequent signals gave details of the crash and of rescue attempts. The signals from the ship also were picked up at Nowra. The Kamona was sailing from Newcastle to Tasmanian ports. The Sea Venom, a naval version of the de Havilland Vampire, is in general use as a carrier-based aircraft with the RAN, replacing the piston-engined Sea Fury. '

His brothers, Bryan Reid Carmichael and William Bruce Carmichael were also educated at Geelong College.

Sources: Sydney Morning Herald 21 May 1959 p1; Pegasus June 1959 p46; James Affleck. Geelong Collegians at the Second World War p558.
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