ABOUT 1942
CRASH LANDING OF A B-24 LIBERATOR

AT CAIRNS AIRFIELD

visits since 19 February 2003

 

Vera Bradley's book, "I Didn't Know That", refers on page 49 to some reminisces of Corporal Ken Hutchinson of RAAF North-Eastern Area, Advanced Operational Base (AOB) at Cairns airfield.

"The worst crash we had was that of a Liberator. It was returning from a mission in bad weather and after three attempts to land he told the crew in the control room he would give it one more try. Finally he made it. Unfortunately in those days, there was a creek at the end of the strip with a culvert over it leading to the bomb dump. One wheel was on the culvert, the other in the mud and this caused the plane to tip on its nose crushing the whole front, including the crew. "

"We never did find one of the propellers which spun into the ground. Maybe the workmen who extended Runway 150 for the International airport did!"

On Page 55 of the same book, Chester T. Langan, who wrote the history of the US No. 15 Weather Squadron based at Cairns, remembered the crash of a B-24 at Cairns airfield:-

"The aforementioned B-24 landed halfway down the runway on a wet field while the wind was gusting to 70 miles per hour. Of course he ran out of runway and ran off the end into a drain - a drop of 6 feet. The pilot and navigator were killed and the co-pilot was hospitalised with a broken arm. The two enlisted men aboard in the waist were badly shaken but not injured."

 

Can anyone confirm the date of this crash
and the Serial No. and Nickname of the aircraft?

 

Bob Livingstone wondered whether this was the B-24 crash at Lion Creek near Rockhampton on 14 December 1943.

 

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I'd like to thank Bob Livingstone for his assistance with this web page.

 

REFERENCE BOOKS:-

"I Didn't Know That"
"Cairns and Districts, Tully to Cape York, 1939-1946,
Service Personnel and Civilians"
By Vera Bradley (1943 AAMWS)

 

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 Peter Dunn 2006

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This page first produced 18 August 1999

This page last updated 06 April 2007