DEDICATION CEREMONY
IN REMEMBRANCE OF
THE LOSS OF "HOOMALIMALI"
AND HER CREW

 

In the early hours of the 14th of September 1942 a series of tragic events occurred along the Mareeba Airstrip of the Far North Queensland’s Australian airfield, USAAF, B-17 Flying Fortress 41-24391 nicknamed "Hoomalimali" (Hawaiian for Kid-em-along) with a crew of 9 US Servicemen was preparing to take off. The B-17 was one of many B-17’s based at Mareeba at the time attached to the 43rd Bombardment Group, 63rd Bombardment Squadron that were carrying out a bombing mission on targets near Rabaul.

As the B-17 Flying Fortress "Hoomalimali" was taking off with a heavy bomb load, as well as being overloaded it crashed at the end of the airstrip into large trees and exploded on impact. All on board perished in the tragic crash.

US Servicemen on board were:-

Captain Hershell R Henson - Pilot
Francis Fritzmacher - Co-Pilot
James Bastion - Navigator
John Doran - Bombardier
John Samara - Engineer
Lawrence Donker
Louis Camp Jr
Robert Case
Jack Kaynor

On the 17th September 2011, as a sign of respect and honour the townspeople of Mareeba honoured and dedicated the crew of Hoomalimali by erecting a bronzed plaque within the confines of the Mareeba Airfield, formerly Hoevet Field, in far North Queensland Australia. A formal dedication and service was also formally carried out to remember the servicemen that were tragically killed on that fateful day.

 


Photo:- Copyright Michael Musumeci 17 September 2011

An overview of the two new plaques dedicated at Mareeba Airfield on 17 September 2011.
The one on the right is to commemorate the loss of B-17 "Hoomalimali" and all its crew.
The plaque on the left is to commemorate Major Dean C. Hoevet who was killed along with his
crew in the crash of a B-17 Flying Fortress off Yorkey's Knob near Cairns on 16 August 1942
.

 


Photo:- Copyright Michael Musumeci 17 September 2011

New Plaque at Mareeba Airfield to commemorate the loss of
B-17 "Hoomalmali" and all of its crew on 14 September 1942

 


Photo:- Copyright Michael Musumeci 17 September 2011

Close-up of the Plaque showing the names of the crew who were tragically killed

 


Photo:- Copyright Michael Musumeci 17 September 2011

Brigadier General Doucette gifts the community of Mareeba, Mayor Tom Gilmore with a
US Flag that flew at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam on the 14th September 2011 in honour
of the crew of the B-17 Hoomalimali that crashed on the 14th September 1942

 


Photo:- Copyright Michael Musumeci 17 September 2011

New sign at Mareeba Airfield showing the original name of Hoevet Field that was used during WWII

 

If you are able to assist with the location of any descendants, relatives, colleagues, or witnesses to this tragic event, please contact Michael Musumeci, PO BOX 597, Mareeba, QLD 4880, Australia.  Email Michael.Musumeci@bigpond.com

 

Can anyone help me with more information on this crash?

 

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©  Peter Dunn 2015

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This page first produced 1 May 2011

This page last updated 31 August 2015