28 FEBRUARY 1944
CRASH OF A B-24J LIBERATOR

NEAR INNISFAIL, QLD

 

USAAF B-24J Liberator, #42-100292, of the 33rd Bomb Squadron of the 22nd Bomb Group, crashed into the sea near Innisfail, north Queensland on 28 February 1944 on  a flight from Charters Towers to Nadzab. It was probably on a delivery flight to the 22nd Bomb Group. Refer MACR #6386.

The crew and passengers of fifteen men, including pilot 2nd Lt. George E. Nellis were all killed in this tragic crash. Three bodies were picked up by a freighter at 17.30 S, 146.10 E about 9.3 miles east of Innisfail.

 

1st Lt. Marshall R. Pierce (0-888508) Virginia, USA Missing in Action, Tablets of the missing, Manila American Cemetery, Philippines
2nd Lt. Lt. George E. Nellis (0-798018) West Virginia, USA Missing in Action, Tablets of the missing, Manila American Cemetery, Philippines
2nd Lt. Solmu T. Robertson (0-673900) New York, USA Missing in Action, Tablets of the missing, Manila American Cemetery, Philippines
2nd Lt. Hugh C. Dougherty (0-439128) Pennsylvania, USA Missing in Action, Tablets of the missing, Manila American Cemetery, Philippines
F/O Merle Taylor (0-542922) Illinois, USA Missing in Action, Tablets of the missing, Manila American Cemetery, Philippines
T/Sgt Joseph F. Di Vita (6979859) New York, USA Missing in Action, Tablets of the missing, Manila American Cemetery, Philippines
S/Sgt Paul B. Crawford (16027363) Pennsylvania, USA Missing in Action, Tablets of the missing, Manila American Cemetery, Philippines
S/Sgt Donald R. Petrie (12172317) New York, USA Missing in Action, Tablets of the missing, Manila American Cemetery, Philippines
S/Sgt George B. Schaub (14079663) *** See Note below Louisiana, USA Body recovered, buried Plot B, Row 0, Grave 663, Honolulu, Hawaii
Sgt Robert H. Stovall (10157607) Texas, USA, Missing in Action, Tablets of the missing, Manila American Cemetery, Philippines
Sgt Andrew J. Troyanowski (16151147) Michigan, USA Missing in Action, Tablets of the missing, Manila American Cemetery, Philippines
Sgt Hal C. Walton (38116870) Texas, USA Body recovered, (no other info found)
Sgt Harold L. McPheeters (17030707) Nebraska, USA Missing in Action, Tablets of the missing, Manila American Cemetery, Philippines
Sgt, Paul L. Smith (35354071) *** See Note below Indiana, USA, Body recovered, buried Plot N, Row 0, Grave 955, Honolulu, Hawaii
Sgt Patsy R. Franciola (32172488) New York, USA Missing in Action, Tablets of the missing, Manila American Cemetery, Philippines

*** NOTE:- Sgt, Paul L. Smith (35354071) and Hal C. Walton (38116870) were both buried at US Military Cemetery Ipswich on 25 June 1945 probably after being exhumed from the US Military Cemetery Townsville. S/Sgt George B. Schaub (14079663) was also buried at US Military Cemetery Ipswich but there is no record for the date of burial. Probably the same time as Sgt. Paul L. Smith.

During WW2, American service personnel who were killed or died in Australia were buried in local cemeteries, but in 1945, the bodies from around Australia were exhumed and temporarily reinterred at the US Military Cemetery Ipswich or at Rookwood Cemetery, Sydney. Then eventually all of these bodies were exhumed again and taken back to the United States. The US ship "Gauchec Victory" arrived in Brisbane in November 1947 to take  the bodies back to America.

This aircraft was flown from California in January 1944 by 2/Lt Donald W White and assigned to the 22nd Bombardment Group.

IARC (Individual Aircraft Record Card)
16/12/43 ACP AAF; 18/12/43 Tucson (SOXO MOD); 03/01/44 Denver; 05/01/44 Herington; PROJECT NO.92413-R; 21/01/44 LEFT A; 27/01/44 LEFT R; 29/02/44 LEFT CON AFMSC; 29/02/44 LEFT CON ACC NC

Explanation of above IARC - This B-24 was accepted by the AAF on 16 December 1943. It was flown to Convair modification Centre Tucson on 18 December 1943 where it received SOXO modifications applicable to 8th AF (SOXO is delivery code for 8AF). Modifications were completed on 3 January 1944 and it was flown to Denver. It was flown to Herington on 5 January 1944. The Project No. decides where the airframe will go & the R is a replacement airframe for those originally assigned - this one is actually an 8AF #; obviously this one was diverted (as were others); LEFT is the destination code for 5AF - first date is departure date from the US and the second is the acceptance date by 5AF in Australia; the next date is CONdemned by 5AF under code Air Force Miscellaneous loss (meaning that US HQ didn't know the reason) and later amended to add that the loss was an ACCident Non-Combat.

At the time of the crash, the 22nd Bomb Group was still in the process of re-equipping with the B-24. The aircraft would have needed modification at the Townsville Air Depot to make it ready for combat in the Southwest Pacific, especially in light of the SOXO modifications it received in the US. It then went to Charters Towers where the 22nd Bomb Group was training on the B-24. On the crash date it was part of a formation of 22nd BG aircraft proceeding to the 22nd's forward base at Nadzab and was seen to drop out of formation for no obvious reason before crashing.

Engine Nos for this aircraft are as follows:-

BP 42-9360
BP 42-9242
BP 42-89638
BP 42-9666

NOTE:- Some records incorrectly show this aircraft as #41-100292. Bob Livingstone has confirmed that #42-100292 is the correct No.

 

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I'd like to thank Bob Livingstone and Terry Ross for their assistance with this web page.

 

REFERENCE BOOK

"Diary of WWII - North Queensland"
Complied by Peter Nielsen

 

SOURCE:-   Aircraft Crash Sites - Australia

Crash:         No. 12

Position:     17.30 - 146.10

Department of Aviation Chart No:       3219

 

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 9 February 1999

This page last updated 31 August 2015