CRASH OF A KITTYHAWK
10 MILES EAST OF LIVINGSTONE AIRFIELD, NT
ON 5 JUNE 1942
On 4th or 6th June 1942, 2nd Lt. Edward "Big John" M. Miller of the 8th Pursuit Squadron of the 49th Fighter Group was killed when his Kittyhawk #41-24816 crashed 10 miles east of Livingstone airfield (29 miles south of Darwin) in the Northern Territory. He was taking part in a high altitude flight to test some new oxygen equipment. It is presumed that the oxygen equipment failed and he blacked out. His Kittyhawk slammed into the ground from 10,000 feet and exploded on impact. Little was recognisable in the crater left by the impact.
Miller's body was torn apart by the impact and explosion. "Big John" Miller's close friend Lt William C. Herbert and Crew Chief Bob Baden went to the crash site. Lt. Herbert was later hospitalised for depression over his friend's tragic death and was eventually evacuated back to the States.
Miller's remains were buried in the Adelaide River American cemetery.
The remains of this aircraft was later salvaged by the 43rd Materiel Squadron based at Adelaide River.
Photo:- Photo Album 1st Lt. Joseph H. King
Honour Roll for 49th Pursuit Group to 22 June 1942
NOTE:- "Protect & Avenge" shows the date at 6 June 1942. Gordon Birkett advised that the date was 4 June 1942. "Darwin's Air War 1942 - 1945" shows the date as 5 June 1942. The 49th Pursuit Group Honour Roll (see above) confirms the date as 5 June 1942.
"Protect & Avenge"
"The 49th Fighter Group in World War II"
By S.W. Ferguson & William K. Pascalis
A Schiffer Military History Book
War 1942 - 1945"
By Bob Alford
I'd like to thank Gordon Birkett for his assistance with this home page.
Can anyone help me with more information on this crash?
"Australia @ War" Research Products
© Peter Dunn 2015
This page first produced 15 July 2000
This page last updated 04 April 2017