CRASH OF A B-24 LIBERATOR
AT DARWIN, NT
ON 11 OCTOBER 1944

 

On 11 October 1944, B-24-D-135-CO Liberator, #42-41125 "Gus's Bus II" of the 530th Bomb Squadron of the 380th Bomb Group stalled on take-off from Darwin Airfield, then crashed and burned (MACR #1176). "Gus's Bus II" was piloted by 1st Lt James W. McHale. Crew member in this crash, Jerry Wilson, thought that Major Gus Connery was the pilot.

"Gus's Bus II" by then had been involved in 66 previous missions.

 


Photo:- Bob Livingstone Collection

Nose art on B-24-D-135-CO Liberator, #42-41125 "Gus's Bus II"

 


Photo:- Bob Livingstone Collection

Nose art on other side of "Gus's Bus II"

 

Major Connery's original "Gus's Bus" had crashed on 20 October 1943 at Fenton Airfield, Northern Territory. It was piloted by Joe Vick.

One of the crew members was Belly Gunner and Combat Photographer Jerry Eugene Wilson, aged 83 years old in August 2007. Jerry still has a yellowed copy of the telegram that his mother received in October 1944 which read as follows:-

"We regret to inform you that your son, Jerry E. Wilson, was slightly injured in action Oct. 11, 1944, in the Southwest Pacific Area."

Jerry Wilson managed to escape the burning wreck on his hands and knees. He still has burn marks on his ears from his lucky escape. One crew member was killed in this crash. The radio operator, T/Sgt Wallace M. Olsen was trapped in his seat by a bent propeller and could not be freed before the fire claimed him.

Most crew members were injured in some way. Jerry continued to stay in Australia while the rest of crew returned to the States. Jerry went on to fly 38 missions with the 530th Bomb Squadron, 380th Bomb Group. He flew with many different crews.

 


Photo:- Larry Roberts Collection

"Gus's Bus II" burnt fiercely after the accident.
Larry Roberts was the waist gunner of
"Gus's Bus II"

 


Photo:- Larry Roberts Collection

The remains of "Gus's Bus II" after the fire was extinguished

 

This aircraft had earlier had a D1 nose turret modification at the Oklahoma City Air Depot (OCAD). This style of nose turret modification to the B-24D had the deep chin with the two side windows. This modification was different to that carried out by the Hawaiian Air Depot (HAD) which had a shallow modification with no side windows.

 

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

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

 

Can anyone help me with more information on this crash?

 

I need your help

Copyright

 Peter Dunn 2015

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This page first produced 15 August 2007

This page last updated 30 August 2015