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In Memoriam - Shorty and Nige

Last Updated 9 December, 2003

"PISCES 1" F-111G A8-291 Pulau Aur, 18 April 1999

LAT 02 26.56 N   LONG 104 31.52 E (GPS WGS84)

sqn photo to come

shorty.jpg (3267 bytes)
Shorty
nige.jpg (2359 bytes)
Nige

F-111.net regrets to inform of the loss of RAAF aircrew SQNLDR Anthony 'Shorty' Short and SQNLDR Stephen 'Nige' Hobbs in the crash of F-111G A8-291 during the night of 18 April 1999.

The highly experienced and universally respected crew were lead of a two ship maritime strike against a flotilla of British Royal Navy, Royal Australian Navy and Republic of Singapore warships during a Five Power Defence Agreement (FPDA) Integrated Air Defence Exercise. 

The aircraft impacted Pulau Aur, a small island in the South China Sea.

SQNLDR Anthony Short had over 1000hrs F-111 and was a graduate (and DUX) of the United States Navy Test Pilot School. SQNLDR Stephen Hobbs was the XO (second in command) of 6SQN and had over 1000hrs F-111 and Tornado, and had seen active service whilst on exchange with the British RAF in the skies over Iraq.
Our sympathy goes out to the family and friends of Shorty and Nige.
Their names have been added to 113 others on the honour roll of the Aardvark Memorial in Clovis NM USA.
The aircraft impacted tall trees on a ridgeline, then tumbled in the air for a further mile down track before coming to rest in the jungle. Due to the inaccessibility of the region, the RAAF left most of the wreckage of A8-291 on site.

A year after the crash, a party of 12, including Dr Short (Shorty's widow) and some of Shorty and Nige's friends and colleagues travelled to Pulau Aur to erect two memorials.   Donations from friends and colleagues unable to make the journey funded the bronze memorial plaques.

Pulau Aur is a small unspoilt Malaysian jungle island in the South China Sea with less than a hundred inhabitants.  The ethnic Malay population is spread along the coastline in small kampongs (villages) of four to six buildings, with the main kampong housing the school, shop and police station.   There are no roads or vehicles.

The main industries of the island are fishing and supporting the few dive resorts on the island.  The island is surrounded by warm crystal clear seas teaming with life.

One of these dive resorts, Friendly Waters Seasports Services (FWSS), provided essential assistance to the group by organising bus transport from Singapore to Mersing (Malaysia), and then a boat for the five hour sail to the island. Davy Yiu, owner of FWSS, also organised guides and equipment to enable the construction of the memorials.   Additionally, Davy facilitated the translation of the inscription into Bahasa Melaya (Malaysian language).  Special mention must be made of Fariz Ahmad, a scuba instructor at FWSS, for his outstanding work and understanding in making the 'expedition' run flawlessly.

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The wreck of PISCES 1. (April 2000)

kampong
Kampong below a rock formation.


Some of Shorty and Nige's colleagues with one of the plaques at Amberley.
(image Air Force Today)

plaque

IN MEMORIAM

Squadron Leader (desig)
Anthony Short
"SHORTY"
(Pilot)
Age 31

and

Squadron Leader
Stephen Hobbs
"NIGE"
(Navigator - Executive Officer)
Age 33

who on the night of 18 April 1999, lost their lives in
the tragic crash of "PISCES 1", an Australian F-111G
fighter-bomber,  flying  in combined military exercises
for the defence of the Republic of Singapore and the
Federation of Malaysian States.

For the Fallen
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old.
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun... and in the morning...
we will remember them.

NOUS REVENDRONS
N 02 26.6   E 104 31.4

DALAM PERINGATI

MAYOR UDARA (DILANTIK)
ANTHONY SHORT "SHORTY"
(JURUTERBANG)
BERUMUR 31 TAHUN

and

MAYOR UDARA
STEPHEN HOBBS "NIGE"

(JURUMUDI - WAKIL KETUA SKUADRON)
BERUMUR 33 TAHUN

YANG PADA MALAM TANGGAL 18 APRIL 1999, TERKORBAN DALAM NAHAS PENERBANGAN
"PISCES 1",  PEJUANG -  PENGEBOM  F-111G  AUSTRALIA,   DALAM  GERAKAN-BERSAMA
TENTERA MEMPERTAHANKAN REPUBLIK SINGAPURA DAN PERSEKUTUAN NEGERI-NEGERI
MALAYSIA.
                                                                                                    .

UNTUK YANG GUGUR
MEREKA TIDAK MENINGKAT TUA SEDANG KITA AKAN TERUS LANJUT
UNTUK MEREKA... USIA TIDAK LAGI MEMBEBANKAN, TAHUN TIDAK MENGHUKUM
BILA DATANGNYA SENJA... SERTA FAJAR
MEREKA AKAN DIIGINGATI

aur_map.jpg (44309 bytes)
davy
Davy Yiu of FWSS
fariz
Fariz Ahmad of FWSS
friendly-waters
FWSS Resort

walk-1

walk-2
Walking along one of the few level sections of the path.

To walk into the crash site, a short boat trip was first taken from FWSS to the kampong Telok Meriam. Telok Meriam has less than a dozen buildings and a solar powered public telephone.

The walk to the crash site is adventurous.  It starts 150 metres from the Telok Meriam pier, and is virtually straight up the hill from that point.  There is a rough path for the first kilometre which is sometimes used by the locals to venture into the jungle hills to collect fruit.  After the first kilometre, the path fades away to thick jungle. The dense canopy prevents both the use of GPS, and back bearings to be taken from hill tops.   Due to patches of thorny palms and 'wait-a-while' vines, boots, thick trousers, long sleeves and gloves are recommended for the walk.  For those not acclimatised to the high temperature and humidity, about six litres of water a person is also recommended.  

On 17 April 2000, carrying about 25 kilograms of gravel, cement and drinking water each, the walk took two hours.  (Although by the end of the walk, the guides were carrying most of the gravel!) With just water and a guide, the walk on the following day took only 80 minutes.   

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Arrival at the crash site.
A wooden cross left by RAAF members involved in the accident investigation the year earlier can be seen on the large tree in the centre of the left image. The memorial plaque is located about 10 metres behind the wooden cross.

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Contemplative moments amongst the wreckage of A8-291.

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A rest before starting the work. Building the form work. Mixing concrete, the manual way!

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The finished Memorial at the crash site.

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Mr Hassin with his handy work.

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The party at the kampong memorial.

Because of the difficulty in travelling to the actual crash site, a second memorial plaque was taken to the island to be placed in an area where visitors could see it.  The headmaster of the three room school graciously offered a position beside the school flag pole.  While most of the party were at the crash site constructing that memorial, two members remained in the kampong and assisted Mr Hassin, a local builder, brick the wall on which the kampong plaque was placed.

 

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Fishing boats at Mersing (on peninsula Malaysia).

F-111.net would like to thank Pioneer Tivoli, Qld Fasteners Wacol, Worssel Engravers and Davy Yiu of Friendly Waters Seasports for their invaluable assistance and donations of time and materials.

 

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