CRASH OF A MOTH MINOR
AT HERVEYS RANGE
NEAR TOWNSVILLE, QLD
ON 25 MARCH 1942

 

Moth Minor

 

RAAF DH-94 Moth Minor possibly A21-27, ex 24 Squadron RAAF, on loan to the USAAF, crashed near Townsville in north Queensland in the afternoon of 25 March 1942.

The book "Red Dust Rising: The Story of Ray Fryer of Urapunga" by Ray Fryer and Marion Houldsworth, states on page 22 that Norma Fryer found a crash aircraft on Tabletop Station at Herveys Range during WWII. It describes two American airmen practising dog-fighting over the range and one of them diving too low and his wing clipping the top of a tree and crashing. The other aircraft circled over Tabletop Homestead and dropped a long streamer and it had written on it "Airplane - crashed approximately one mile east of homestead. If the pilot is still living can you please wave. If he is dead please walk away from the site of the crash."

Norma and her father rode out in different directions. Norma spotted the fire from the crash and cooeed out to her father. The pilot, called Meadows, had somehow managed to drag himself clear of the wreckage before it caught fire but was badly injured. He had a broken pelvis, a broken arm and a broken leg. Norma and her father waved to the other aircraft to indicate that the pilot was still alive. Norma stayed with the pilot while her father went back to the homestead to get water and some blankets. His injuries were so bad they were unable to move him.

The military authorities did not arrive at the site until about midnight. They tied him in a stretcher to the back of a weapons carrier. Norma kept in touch with the pilot for some time after the crash.

The diary of 1st Lieutenant Donald P. Hall, Commanding Officer of the 89th Bomb Squadron, 3rd Bomb Group dated 25 March 1942 confirms the details:-

Diary of 1st Lt. Donald P. Hall - 25 March 1942 - Townsville

"We have been maintaining the B-17s still night & day.  The Aussie gave us 2 moth minors to fly around the drome.  I had made one trip in it to Charters Towers to visit our group who were over there.  Lt. Meadows and Grave were flying the Moth and at 5 P.M. Lt Graves calls me & says that Meadows had cracked up near by.  He was flying low and had hit a tree.  We take off in an O-47 and look at the burning crack up.  Itís on a high plateau but no sign of life.  "Doc" Beavers had already left in an ambulance.

Meadows reported OK but brought to Hospital in Townsville with broken leg.  Had picked him up near the crash at 2 AM.  Itíll be a long time before heíll fly again."

Major Donald P. Hall later became Commanding Officer of the 3rd Bomb Group.

2nd Lt. James S. Graves was a member of the 13th Bomb Squadron, 3rd Bomb Group.

1st Lt. Alonzo J. Beavers, Jr. was the flight surgeon of the 89th Bomb Squadron, 3rd Bomb Group.

In December 1941 24 Squadron RAAF had three Moth Minors, A21-25, A21-26 and A21-27 in Townsville. Moth Minor A21-26 of 24 Squadron RAAF was the first aircraft to officially land at the new Amberley Airfield west of Ipswich on 4 July 1940.

 

REFERENCES

"Red Dust Rising: The Story of Ray Fryer of Urapunga"
by Ray Fryer and Marion Houldsworth

 

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I'd like to thank Michael Musumeci, Edward Rogers and Gordon Birkett for their assistance with this web page.

 

Can anyone help me with more information on this crash?

 

I need your help

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©  Peter Dunn 2015

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This page first produced 12 March 2013

This page last updated 26 March 2016