COLLISION OF TWO P-47 THUNDERBOLTS
AT COOKTOWN, QLD
ON 18 JULY 1943 

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At 1305 hours on 16 July July 1943 a C-47A, VH-CGO, of the 39th Troop Carrier Squadron, 317th Troop Carrier Group, commenced escorting a flight of P-47 Thunderbolts from Archerfield airfield to their new base at Port Moresby. The crew of the C-47 were as follows:-

Capt. T. Roller, Pilot
Capt. Van Breemen, Co-pilot
Cpl. Richard D. Cox, Crew Pilot
Pvt. Julian S. Katz, Radio Operator

They arrived at Rockhampton later that day at 1520 hours. They took off again from Rockhampton at 1105 hours on 17 July 1943 and arrived in Townsville at 1325 hours on the same day.

They took off from Garbutt Airfield in Townsville at 1005 hours on 18 July 1943 with an extra fourteen P-47's and two B-26's and arrived at Cooktown at 1155 hours. Two of the P-47's landed 40 yards apart and the first aircraft made a turn on the runway and the second aircraft ran into it. One of the P-47's was a total wreck and the other was extensively damaged but was able to be repaired. Neither of the pilots were injured. The two aircraft and their pilots are as follows:-

P-47D Thunderbolt #42-8053, pilot L. James Rowes
P-47D Thunderbolt #42-8124, pilot John E. Knellinger

The C-47 and it remaining entourage left Cooktown at 1450 hours on 18 July 2005 and arrived at Horn Island at 1710 hours. They left Horn Island at 1220 hours on 20 July 1943 and arrived in Port Moresby at 1510 hours later that day.

The C-47 left Port Moresby the next morning at 0905 hours and arrived in Townsville at 1300 hours. After a short refuelling stop, the C-47 took off at 1335 hours and arrived at Archerfield airfield at 1745 hours on 21 July 1943.

 

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I'd like to thank Jim Moffatt and Gordon Birkett for their assistance with this web page.

 

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 December 2005

This page last updated 17 June 2017