CRASH OF A C-47 DAKOTA
INTO CLEVELAND BAY, TOWNSVILLE, QLD

ON 7 AUGUST 1943

 

NOTE:- a Memorial was dedicated in Townsville on Sunday 14 August 2005
to remember this tragic event. 

Details and photographs of this dedication Ceremony

 

27 people died when C-47-DL Dakota, #41-7733, c/n 4212, VH-CCE (I initially thought it was VH-CDI), of the 40th Troop Carrier Squadron of the 317th Transport Group Transport, piloted by H. Wilson, crashed into Cleveland Bay south east of Townsville at 5.20 am on 7 August 1943, shortly after take-off at 5.00 am from Garbutt airfield in Townsville. Their next destination was Archerfield airfield in Brisbane. 

The C-47 was carrying Lt. Hawver of the 499th Bomb Squadron of the 345th Bomb Group and twenty ground personnel and enlisted flight crewmen from the 500th Bomb Squadron of the 345th Bomb Group

The personnel were on their way to Sydney, for a brief R & R while their B-25s were being modified to low-level strafers at the Townsville Air Depot. Hawver, the pilot of another aircraft, "Hell's Belles", had rushed out to the flight line in a jeep, just barely getting aboard before the plane took off. The aircraft belonged to the Australian Directorate of Air Transport.

 

The 27 servicemen killed in this tragic crash are listed below:-

CREW

Wilson, F/O H.     Pilot 40th Troop Carrier Squadron, 317th Transport Group Transport
Forrestt, F/O     Co-pilot 40th Troop Carrier Squadron, 317th Transport Group Transport
Cielinski, S/Sgt     Engineer 40th Troop Carrier Squadron, 317th Transport Group Transport
Markel, Cpl     Radio Operator 40th Troop Carrier Squadron, 317th Transport Group Transport

PASSENGERS

Arbogast, M/Sgt. Donald H. Waterville, Washington 19017105 Comm. Chief 500th Bomb Squadron, 345th Bomb Group
Braund, T/Sgt. Delbert LaValle, Wisconsin, Sauk County 16009775 Gunner 500th Bomb Squadron, 345th Bomb Group
Butcher, T/Sgt. Leo W. Madison, Illinois 16054893 Radio Gunner 500th Bomb Squadron, 345th Bomb Group
Caldwell, Tech Sgt Grant W. Limona, Florida 7001209   67th Fighter Squadron, 347th Fighter Group
Crowley, T/Sgt. Andrew J., Jr. Athens, Pennsylvania 12080905 Radio Gunner 500th Bomb Squadron, 345th Bomb Group
Cummins, Sgt. Herman R. Baltimore, Maryland 13050228 Radio-Gunner 500th Bomb Squadron, 345th Bomb Group
Dinneen, T/Sgt. Rodney L. Fitchburg, Massachusetts 31078190 Radio Gunner 500th Bomb Squadron, 345th Bomb Group
Doolittle, M/Sgt. Arah L. Los Angeles, California 3916281 Armament Chief 500th Bomb Squadron, 345th Bomb Group
Dzury, T/Sgt. Stephen D. Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania 13056189 Crew Chief 500th Bomb Squadron, 345th Bomb Group
Hawver, 1/Lt. Owen A.   0-664588 Pilot 499th Bomb Squadron, 345th Bomb Group  
Huebner, T/Sgt. Carl J. Portage, Wisconsin 36222562 Radio Gunner 500th Bomb Squadron, 345th Bomb Group
Hunter, T/Sgt Charles S. Glascow, Va. 7023939 Radio Gunner 500th Bomb Squadron, 345th Bomb Group
Lee, M/Sgt. Francis M. Burlington, Iowa 6935927 Flight Chief 500th Bomb Squadron, 345th Bomb Group
McKenna, T/Sgt. Laurence P. Clinton, Iowa 36245602 Crew Chief 500th Bomb Squadron, 345th Bomb Group
Rapp, T/Sgt. Ezra E. Idaho Falls, Idaho 20926193 Crew Chief 500th Bomb Squadron, 345th Bomb Group
Roberts, T/Sgt George A. Caraban, Texas   Radio Gunner 500th Bomb Squadron, 345th Bomb Group
Fowler, S/Sgt. Wilmer R. Baltimore Md 13073375 Gunner 500th Bomb Squadron, 345th Bomb Group
Repass, S/Sgt. William F. New Market, Tennessee 34283012 Gunner 500th Bomb Squadron, 345th Bomb Group
Simpson, Sgt. Floyd M. Caddo, Oklahoma 39847563  Crew Chief 500th Bomb Squadron, 345th Bomb Group
Trebon, Corp Venard H. Dubuque, Iowa 17027532   67th Fighter Squadron, 347th Fighter Group
Tuttle, S/Sgt. Charles W. Lynn, Massachusetts 1105524 Gunner 500th Bomb Squadron, 345th Bomb Group
Van Patten, S/Sgt. Willard G. Sumner, Michigan 36178495 Eng.-Gunner 500th Bomb Squadron, 345th Bomb Group
Zahora, S/Sgt. Charles J. Coaldale, Pennsylvania 13054137 Gunner 500th Bomb Squadron, 345th Bomb Group

 

Technical Sergeant Grant W. Caldwell was the son of Mrs Roger F. Caldwell of Limona, Florida.

Corporal Venard H. Trebon was the son of Juanita Trebon, 996 Cleveland Ave, Dubuque, Iowa.

A Keith Smith found half a body near Gordon and Sandfly Creek with wallet belonging to Herman Robert Cummin(g)s. He reported this to the US Authorities but received no feed back. 

Two other home pages mention this aircraft as follows:-

DC-3 DAKOTA HISTORICAL SOCIETY

4212 USAAF 41-7733 13Feb42 - 44VHCD 5thAF/RAAF 14Apr42 - "VHCDI" - Cr 07Aug43 Cleveland Bay, Brisbane, Qu.

DOUGLAS PRODUCTION LIST

C/n    Type        Line Regs. . . . . . .
4212 C-47-DL xxx 41-7733 VH-CDM VH-CDI [W/O]

In April 2004, Peter Murray from Townsville advised me that the Townsville City Council were about to start planning for celebrations to mark the 60th Anniversary of Victory in the Pacific (VP60) in August 2005. As part of this event a memorial will be unveiled to commemorate the crash of USAAF C-47, #41-7733 into Cleveland Bay near Townsville on 7 August 1943.

 

RELATIVES LOCATED

Mary Ann Brincks who is related to Corporal Venard Trebon contacted me on 17 September 2003.

 

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I'd like to thank Paul Van Valkenburg, Peter Murray, Peter Armati and Kevin Parkes for their assistance with this home page. I'd also like to thank Charles Gayley from Virginia, USA for tracking down some of the relatives of those who were killed in this tragic accident. 

I'd also like to thank Michael Brodie for his assistance with this web page.

 

REFERENCES

"Warpath Across the Pacific", The Unit History of the 345th.

 

Are you related to one of those who died in this tragic crash?
Perhaps you would like to attend the dedication ceremony in Townsville in August 2005

 

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 27 January 1999

This page last updated 31 August 2015