CRASH OF A R4D-5 SKYTRAIN
BETWEEN CAIRNS AND PORT MORESBY
ON 23 JULY 1944

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US Navy R4D-5 Skytrain (C-47), Bureau NO. 39090, assigned to Commander Aircraft, Seventh Fleet, and piloted by Lt. J.D. Gross was lost between Cairns, in north Queensland, Australia and Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea on 23 July 1944. When last heard from it's position was 11 degrees south, 147 degrees east. 17 US Navy personnel were lost presumed dead in this event.

After a thorough search of the adjacent land and sea areas for five days without success, on 29 August 1944, a board of investigation was ordered to convene at US Naval Base, Manus Island.

The following are 7 of the 17 killed in this tragic accident.

Lieutenant. Jg John Daniel Gross
Chief Petty Officer William Harvey Eldridge
Chief Petty Officer Lee Roy Morris
Chief Petty Officer Leroy Robert Hamilton
Seaman Robert Edgar Keil
Ensign Maurice Dale Linder
1st Class Petty OfficerDale Evans Drake

This aircraft had been delivered to Brisbane from the United States on 10 November 1943.

 

UPDATE:- This aircraft was apparently eventually located in 1970. It had struck high ground in the Owen Stanley Range about 30 kms west of Kokoda.

 

REFERENCES

Brief of Daily Operations, United States Fleet Aircraft, Seventh Fleet

Aviation Safety Network

Aviation Archaeological Investigation & Research

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This page first produced 24 December 2012

This page last updated 24 December 2012