CRASH OF A P-39 AIRACOBRA
AT WOODSTOCK, QLD
ON 11 APRIL 1942

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On 11 April 1942, a P-39 Airacobra of the 35th Fighter Squadron, of the 8th Fighter Group took off from Woodstock airfield about 41 kms west of Townsville. The newly-arrived pilot, 2nd Lt. Bernard P. Gillingham, was on a familiarisation flight. The P-39 caught fire at a height of about 400 feet due to a mechanical failure.

Gillingham decided to make an emergency landing which was quite successful, but he was unable to evacuate the burning aircraft. Tragically, he was killed in the fierce fire.

Another source has indicated that this accident may have occurred on 1 April 1942 rather than the 11th of April. He was buried in the US Cemetery in Townsville on 12 April 1942. It would appear that he was the first US Servicemen o be buried in this cemetery.

 

REFERENCE BOOK

"Attack & Conquer"
"The 8th Fighter Group in World War II"
by John C. Stanaway & Lawrence J. Hickey

 

Can anyone help me with more information on this crash?

 

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This page first produced 26 September 2000

This page last updated 08 December 2017