CRASH OF A P-40E WARHAWK
ON A COASTAL SANDBAR
AT ASLINGS BEACH, EDEN, NSW
ON 28 MARCH 1942

 


Profile:- Gordon Birkett

USAAF P-40E Warhawk (Kittyhawk), 41-5455 #40,

 

USAAF P-40E Warhawk (Kittyhawk), #41-5455 #40, of the 8th Pursuit Squadron of the 49th Fighter Group, flown by Lieutenant Arthur E. "Doc" Fielder, made a forced landing on Aslings Beach on Twofold Bay near Eden in New South Wales on 28 March 1942.

nsw32-01.jpg (26776 bytes)

Kittyhawk #40 of the 8th Pursuit Squadron of the 49th Pursuit Group
on Boydtown Beach after a failed emergency takeoff

The wings were subsequently removed and the aircraft
was transported by truck back to Fairbairn

Lt. Fielder was one of four US pilots from Canberra who became lost over the coast near Eden in a dense fog (some sources have stated they were lost in a storm) on 28 March 1942. Lieutenants Takala and Musial were both killed when their aircraft crashed.

Lieutenant "Doc" Fielder survived this crash but was killed during a training flight at Strauss airfield in the Northern Territory on 23 June 1942.

The P-40 was taken by a barge bought in from Bermagui across the bay to Boydtown Beach where an attempted takeoff was made without success. Boydtown Beach, unlike Aslings Beach, is very firm. Apparently the P-40 hit a small wave on the flat beach causing the aircraft to eventually end up on its nose bending the propeller.

nsw32-02.jpg (20159 bytes)

Kittyhawk #40 being floated to Boydtown Beach

 


Photo:- from Allan Whiter via Jenny Drenkhahn

 P-40E Warhawk (Kittyhawk), #41-5455 #40 on
Boydtown Beach after the failed take-off attempt

 


Photo:- from Allan Whiter via Jenny Drenkhahn

Close-up of the above photograph. Note the missing propeller.

 


Photo:- from Allan Whiter via Jenny Drenkhahn

 P-40E #41-5455 in front of the Seahorse Inn at Boydtown Beach

 


Photo:- from Allan Whiter via Jenny Drenkhahn

Close-up of the above photograph

 


Photo:- from Allan Whiter via Jenny Drenkhahn

 Wing from P-40E #41-5455 being loaded on a truck in front of the Seahorse Inn

 


Photo:- from Allan Whiter via Jenny Drenkhahn

Close-up of the above photograph

Allan Whiter's father, Richard Bromby Whiter, was on site at Boydtown to render valuable assistance. Allan Whiter was working in Melbourne at the time owing to the war effort. At Boydtown, the Whiter family operated a telephone exchange which proved a godsend to the military personnel. Richard Whiter told his son Allan that the pilot taxied his aircraft down to Nullica at the northern end of Boydtown Beach at low tide, where he had a clear runway of about one mile to get airborne southbound - but, alas, the pilots nerves locked up on him owing to the loss of his mates, and he hit a small wave causing the aircraft to flip up on its nose bending the propeller.

The P-40 was then relocated to in front of the Seahorse Inn, which is on the southern end of the beach. At this location arrangements were made to bring a semi-trailer from Canberra and dismantle the aircraft for road freight back to Canberra.

The Whiter family owned the Boydtown ruins from 1936 onwards until 1957 when they sold the completed restoration of the Seahorse Inn at Boydtown.

At the finish of war the Whiter family regathered, and their first commitment was to build a house for a farmer living near the foot of Mt Imlay. This family had told the White family of the wife and family taking shelter under their kitchen table fearing they may be hit by the unfortunate fog bound Kittyhawk which, moments later, crashed into the mountain.


Photo:- from Allan Whiter via Jenny Drenkhahn

View of Boydtown Beach from the roof of the Seahorse Inn

 

Lt. Chester Namola crash landed at Berridale, NSW on 28 March 1942

 

Lt. Takala crashed south of Eden, NSW on 28 March 1942

 

Lt. Musial crashed at Narrabarba near Eden, NSW on 28 March 1942

 

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

I'd like to thank Allan Whiter and Rick Hanning for their assistance with the above information.

 

REFERENCE BOOKS

"Protect & Revenge"
"The 49th Fighter Group in World War II"
by S.W. Ferguson & William K. Pascalis

 

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 13 March 2000

This page last updated 04 April 2017