CRASH OF A LIBERATOR
3 KMS FROM FENTON, NT
ON 2 FEBRUARY 1945

 

nt29.jpg (65239 bytes)

Burnt-out wreck of RAAF B-24 Liberator A72-88 of 24 Squadron

 

RAAF B-24L Liberator, A72-88 (#44-41460), of 24 Squadron RAAF, crashed when attempting to land at Fenton airfield in the Northern Territory on 2 February 1945 after a bombing raid on shipping targets. Six aircraft from 24 Squadron had taken part in this raid. The Liberator was out of fuel and losing height rapidly. It was just before midnight and conditions were very hazy and the pilot, Flight Lieutenant Arthur Cambridge could not see the runway flare path. On his first approach to land he was too far to the left of the runway. He was advised of this by radio contact with ground control.

On his second attempt to land, three of the four fuel pressure gauges dropped to zero and the Liberator swung violently to port. Cambridge ordered the crew to crash positions and with his undercarriage still retracted the Liberator crashed through some trees 3 kilometres from Fenton airfield and struck the ground in a more or less level attitude. A fire broke out below the flight deck, possibly due to damage to the auxiliary power unit.

The fire spread quickly and crew members Flight Lieutenant J.R. Parkinson and Flying Officer J.M. Pitt were trapped in the aircraft and killed. They were buried at Adelaide River cemetery the following day. A small section of this Liberator is now on display at the Darwin Aviation Museum.

Flight Lieutenant Arthur Aram Cambridge, pilot, (406750)
Flight Lieutenant John Richard Parkinson, Bombardier (411371) KILLED
Flying Officer Ivan Fernley Coward, Navigator (416415)
Flying Officer Geoffrey Wallace Rhodes, Wireless/Waist Gunner (413253)
Flight Sergeant Allen George Cullen, Engineer (19835)
Warrant Officer F. Crawford, Co-Pilot, (425611)
Flying Officer John McPherson Pitt, Nose Gunner (401830) KILLED
Flight Lieutenant Victor Charles Edward Scanlon, Upper Gunner (416131)
Pilot Officer Geoffrey Neil Johnson, Radio Operator (416767)
Sergeant Ernest Lancelot Francis, Tail Gunner (442341)
Sergeant Ernest William Jennings, Waist Gunner (443957)

A72-88 had been delivered to the RAAF in October 1944.


Photo:- Bob Livingstone Collection

Part of Liberator A72-88 on display at the Darwin Aviation Museum.

 


Photo: Christopher Cullen October 2008

Possibly one of the original trees cutoff when Liberator A72-88 crashed

 


Photo: Christopher Cullen October 2008

Some of the wreckage of A72-88

 


Photo: Christopher Cullen October 2008

More of the wreckage of A72-88

 


Photo: Christopher Cullen October 2008

Looks like this must have hit a tree or something

 


Photo: Christopher Cullen October 2008

Plaque attached to part of the wreckage

 


Photo: Christopher Cullen October 2008

Closeup of the above plaque. F/Lt Cambridge visited the crash site on 20 July 1986 and pencilled the above
 words on part of the wreckage. These words were later transferred to a plaque and rivetted to the wreckage.

 


Photo: Christopher Cullen October 2008

Historical marker and plaque at the crash site

 


Photo: Christopher Cullen October 2008

Closeup of the above plaque

 


Photo: Christopher Cullen October 2008

Adelaide River War Cemetery

 


Photo: Christopher Cullen October 2008

Grave of Flight Lieutenant John Richard Parkinson, Grave D.D.11, Adelaide River War Cemetery

 


Photo: Christopher Cullen October 2008

Grave of Flight Lieutenant John Richard Parkinson, Grave D.D.11

 


Photo: Christopher Cullen October 2008

Grave of Flying Officer John McPherson Pitt, Grave D.D.12, Adelaide River War Cemetery

 


Photo: Christopher Cullen October 2008

Grave of Flying Officer John McPherson Pitt

 


Photo: Christopher Cullen October 2008

Doc's WWII Tours vehicle belonging to war historian Raymond "Doc" Doherty a former Royal Australian
Navy serviceman. His father, James Doherty, worked as a mechanic at Fenton Field during WWII.

 


Photo: Christopher Cullen October 2008

Christopher Cullen (left) and Rodney Cullen at the site of the
former Sergeant's Mess at Fenton, their father's watering hole.

 

REFERENCE BOOKS

"Tocumwal to Tarakan"
"Australians and the Consolidated B-24 Liberator"
By Michael V. Nelmes

 

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I'd like to thank Christopher Cullen, the son of Allen George Cullen for his assistance with this web page.

 

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 Peter Dunn 2015

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This page first produced 25 August 1999

This page last updated 31 August 2015