July 22, 2013

The search for Frank and the Bowen Catalina memorial

Who's Frank?
Who’s Frank? is the question on everyone’s lips in the small town of Bowen, in the Whitsundays, North Queensland.
The first ever Bowen Catalina Memorial event (to be held on 17 August 2013) will commemorate the loss of the Catalina A24-24 and the 14 lives lost in the crash off the coast of Bowen 70 years ago, but mysteries still surround the crash and its victims.
Shane Porteous of Australia’s Logie winning TV series Country’s Practice lost his father, Stanley Porteous, in the 1943 crash and has kept his late father’s drawings with one featuring a drawing of a man labeled ‘Frank’.
Paul McLaughlin, Chairman of Tourism Bowen, said the drawings by Stanley Porteous are magnificent and really bring you back to WWII.
“But the drawing labeled ‘Frank’ has caught our attention and hopefully the nation’s,” Mr McLaughlin said.
“Bowen has a rich history with Catalinas from World War II and we are trying to find family members of those that were involved in the crash, and we think the ‘Who’s Frank’ campaign will help us,” he said.
“Shane Porteous will be attending the memorial as the Event Ambassador to honor his father, but will also help us with the campaign.”
A similar PBY Catalina in wartime service at Bowen
Shane Porteous said that the event holds a lot of meaning for him and his family, with his eldest daughter expressing interest in travelling across states to Bowen to attend the memorial.
“My daughter shares my interest in attending this event, the death of my father is a significant piece of our family’s history and we want to honor those who lost their lives during World War II,” Mr Porteous said.
“I believe that there would be many relatives of those involved in the A24-24 Catalina crash who would like to attend the memorial and we are hoping that the ‘Who’s Frank’ campaign will help us to track them down – and find the identity of the mystery Frank,” he said.
“If you have any information on who ‘Frank’ could be, please head to our website to log that information, any clues are helpful,” Mr McLaughlin concluded.

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