7 MARCH 1943
CRASH OF DEHAVILLAND DRAGON
NEAR FRESHWATER GORGE
visits since 7 February 1999
DH 84 Dragon
A DH 84A Dragon, Type 2, A34-24 (I previously had this as a Gipsy Major - see e-mail from Paul Snow below and my comments) of No. 5 Communications Flight crashed in the Jigol Peak area in Freshwater Gorge on the 7 March 1943 during a flight from Cairns to Mareeba.
Sergeant L.J.S. McColl, pilot, RAAF
Brigadier John Crawford, Commander of 11 Brigade
Lieutenant A.W. Morris, AIF, 26 Battalion
Seriously injured survivors were as follows:-
Lieutenant Colonel P.G.H. Cardale, AIF, 31st
ACI R.H. Appleby, RAAF crew
The above two survivors were found on 11 March 1943 wandering around in the bush.
Vera Bradley's book, "I Didn't Know That", refers on page 50 to the crash of a DH-84 Dragon hired by the Australian Army from McRobertson and Muir Airways of the Northern Territory. Corporal Ken Hutchinson recollected that it was used for courier work around the district. While flying to Mareeba via the Intake Gorge it crashed, killing the RAAF pilot, and two Army Officers. The aircraft was reportedly carrying a large amount of money for the Army Pay Master at Mareeba. Because of this, its non arrival at Mareeba was of great concern, and search parties were dispatched not long after it became apparent it was overdue at Mareeba. There were two survivors. Ken Hutchinson assumed that the money was recovered.
Ken later climbed up the Intake Gorge with the RAAF salvage crew from Charters Towers to help retrieve the motors and other recoverable parts. During the search, the part stumbled across a crashed USAAF P-38 Lightning. The pilot's body was still located in the aircraft wreckage.
Subject: WW2 Aircraft wrecks
Date: Fri, 4 Jun 1999 15:40:35 +1000
From: "Paul Snow" <email@example.com>
Just for you info: crash of B-24 of Yorkeys Knob was actually a B-17 (see comments below) and the Gypsy Major in Freshwater Valley is a Dehaviland Dragon. You have an excellent web site. My information comes from Steve Fowler, Bayview Heights, Cairns. He actually went and found what was left of the Dragon.
The B-17 was destroyed by a flare igniting in flight.
Subject: <no subject>
Date: Fri, 24 Sep 1999 22:58:05 +1000
From: "Steve Fowler" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Just a few lines to introduce myself and say how great your site is, I have been interested in doing something similar for sometime, but have no experience at setting up web sites.
I have been researching wartime aircraft crashes since 1972, so I have a lot of info myself, I take it that one of your major sources is the AWM listing of 356 aircraft? Have you seen the "Rundle list"? You had an e-mail from Paul Snow around June and he mentioned to you that I had details on the Dragon that crashed up the Freshwater Gorge, it was A34-24. It took me three weekends in 1995, to located what was left of it.
My data base has just over 500 on it and most of those are Queensland or in the North. There is also a pile waiting for me to enter onto the computer, however there is that minor technical problem that I keep running out of time.
When I get a chance, I will go through your list and see if I can fill in any gaps, however for now I must go, and I look forward to hearing from you.
Stephen R. Fowler
COMMENTS:- My records indicate that the B-17, which was destroyed by an igniting flare, actually crashed the next day on 17 August 1942. So this may be a different crash of a B-24 on the previous day. I'll change the Gypsy Major to a Dragon as it looks more correct. The A34 series of RAAF aircraft were Dragons. Regards Peter Dunn
NOTE:- Peter Nielsen's book "Diary of WWII - North Queensland" indicates that this aircraft was a DH 84A Gipsy Major Type 2.
"Diary of WWII - North
Complied by Peter Nielsen
"Aircraft of the RAAF 1921- 71"
By Geoffrey Pentland & Peter Malone
"I Didn't Know That"
"Cairns and Districts, Tully to Cape York, 1939-1946,
Service Personnel and Civilians"
By Vera Bradley (1943 AAMWS)
Peter Dunn 2002
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This page first produced 7 February 1999
This page last updated 24 February 2003