22 APRIL 1943
CRASH OF TWO KITTYHAWKS

NEAR PROSERPINE, QLD

 

kittyhawk.jpg (10661 bytes)
Kittyhawk

 

 

 

 

Photos of the Proserpine River Crash
compliments of Col Hyde of Toowoomba

 

The following account of this crash was kindly given to me by Ray Blackwood:-

 

KITTYHAWK FORCED LANDING
Revised account following further research.

On the evening of Thursday, 22 April 1943 two RAAF Kittyhawks flew into the Whitsunday area from the south, one piloted by twenty-six year old Flight Sergeant John (Jack) Bowen McGrath , the other by twenty-eight year old Sergeant Archie Gordon Boyd. Both pilots were attached to an RAAF Test and Ferry Flight at Bankstown in New South Wales where Kittyhawks arriving in crates from America were assembled, test-flown and then delivered to the New Guinea or other war-zoanes, hopping their way along the coast, refuelling where they could with a lonely flight across the Coral Sea at the end when a delivery was to New Guinea. Usually there were two or more planes flying together in a loose formation.

On this fateful day, as the evening closed in McGrath and Boyd ran into heavy cloud and became separated and McGrath, low on fuel, decided to make a landing on New Beach to the south of the Proserpine River mouth. Boyd was never heard of again and it is clear he must have crashed somewhere that same night*.

McGrath had intended to land on the beach itself but misjudged his approach and instead hit the water just short of the beach, 'pancaking' several times and losing his propeller and oil and glycol coolers in this process until finally coming to rest at such a speed the plane's back was broken and its engine was catapulted from its mountings about twenty metres in front of the fuselage. McGrath was very fortunate to escape with only minor injuries, ‘a couple of black eyes’, from having hit his head on the plane’s gun-sight which fortunately was covered with sponge rubber.

Meanwhile residents of Wilson Beach had seen the plane with its landing lights on passing south along the lower reach of the Proserpine River and became aware it had landed somewhere along New Beach. George Baxter, Dan Wilson, Henry Allan and Jack Allan took to a dinghy and rowed across to the scene and found McGrath, taking him back to George Baxter’s home near Beacon Hill where the party arrived at about 4am on 23 April.

McGrath stayed with the Baxters until the following Monday but a day spent with the Lascelles of Goorganga Station which borders onto New Beach and the crash site, after which he was taken to the Proserpine Police Station where he was met by Air Force officers from Townsville. Also during his stay with the Baxters McGrath returned to the scene of the crash with an RAAF recovery team which had arrived from Townsville by truck and were to stay about a week, quartered at the Proserpine Hotel and travelling daily to the crash scene where they had to work in the water, the wreck fully covered at high tides. (One of the team, Col Hyde in 1999 living in Toowoomba, kindly provided the photos shown below). The Proserpine Guardian of 8 September l983 carries a photo of McGrath among a group of locals at the beach on that occasion and from this has arisen the erroneous story that that group had rescued him.

Using the 11.8 metre launch Gleam, then owned by Bert Clarke, the recovery unit recovered the motor, propeller, guns, ammunition etc from the aircraft and with the aid of a makeshift raft of 44 gallon drums, towed the salvage up the Proserpine River to a point approximately where the launching ramp opposite Flying Fox Island is located today. There they loaded it onto their truck and took it to Townsville. The fuselage of the Kittyhawk, its back broken, was left to disintegrate where it had landed, though many a souvenir was taken from it by locals. One such is a stainless-steel ammunition box held by the RSL in Proserpine.

McGrath later became a member of 76 Kittyhawk Squadron, flying in operations in the New Guinea war zone among the Trobriand Islands, New Britain and the Admiralty Islands. He survived the war and in 1999, aged 82, lives at Dover Heights in Sydney.

(Sources - Catherine Cullen, daughter of George Baxter; Col Hyde, a member of the RAAF recovery unit; Jack McGrath and his comrades of the time -   Bill Ryan, Frank Martin, Murray Eastment, John Sheehan).

*Mrs Pat McGovern (nee Tappenden) who lives in Dalby in 1999 recalls that around that time while she was a child living at Cathu with her parents who were air observers (as were many country people in those days) they saw two planes passing, which disappeared into a cloud but one did not re-appear. This probably relates to the incident, though whether the plane which re-emerged was McGrath's on his landing approach or Boyd's continuing on its way we will never know.

Boyd's name is commemorated in the Commonwealth War Graves Commission's register of casualties of World War II with no known grave.

Ray Blackwood

 

 

Subject:   Kittyhawk crashes
Date:           Thu, 04 Mar 1999 10:30:17 +1100
From:           Ray Blackwood <seaquel@tpgi.com.au>

Would appreciate your help with the following if possible.

In April 1942 or 1943 (There is confusion as to which year it was) an RAAF Kittyhawk crash-landed at New Beach just south of the mouth of the Proserpine River on the central Queensland coast.

The pilot, said to be Flight Sergeant McGrath, was not seriously injured and was rescued by locals. A retrieval team from RAAF Townsville salvaged what they could, engine, prop, ammunition, guns etc but the fuselage was left where it was, now rotted away.

I would like to know more about this incident, the correct date, what the plane was doing here and what later happened to McGrath and would be grateful for any information you can give me.

Best wishes, Ray Blackwood

Ray Blackwood,
PO Box 81,
Airlie Beach, Q 4802, Australia.

07 49469437 - Fax ditto by arrangement.

 

 

Subject:    Forgot the attachment - sorry
Date:             Sun, 07 Mar 1999 15:29:35 +1000
From:                Ray Blackwood <seaquel@tpgi.com.au>

Kittyhawk forced landing - 1942

On the evening of Thursday, 22 April 1943 an RAAF Kittyhawk ran short of fuel while in the Whitsunday area and the pilot, twenty-five year old Flight Sergeant John (Jack) Bowen McGrath decided to make a forced landing on New Beach. He was on his way from Amberley RAAF base to Townsville where Kittyhawk 76 Squadron was based at the Weir airstrip. He was in company with another Kittyhawk but it seems that plane did not survive the trip and was lost without trace*.

Then residents of Wilson Beach recall the plane with its landing lights on passing south along the lower reach of the Proserpine River and then they became aware it had landed somewhere along New Beach.

Residents of the area, George Baxter, Dan Wilson, Henry Allan and Jack Allan took to a dinghy and rowed across to the scene to find McGrath had escaped with only minor injuries, ‘a couple of black eyes’, from having hit his head on the plane’s gun-sight which fortunately was covered with sponge rubber. He had intended to land on the beach itself but misjudged his approach and hit the water instead just short of the beach.

He was taken back to George Baxter’s home near Beacon Hill where the party arrived at about 4am on 23 April. McGrath stayed with the Baxters until the following Monday, when George Baxter took him to the Proserpine Police Station where they were met by Air Force officers from Townsville. During his stay with the Baxters he returned to the beach with others and an RAAF recovery team which had arrived from Townsville. The Proserpine Guardian of 8 September 1983 carries a photo of McGrath among a group of locals at the beach and from this has arisen the erroneous story that that group had rescued him.

Using the 11.8 metre launch Gleam, then owned by Bert Clarke, the recovery unit recovered the motor, propeller, guns, ammunition etc from the aircraft and with the aid of a makeshift raft of 44 gallon drums, towed the salvage up the Proserpine River to a point approximately where the launching ramp opposite Flying Fox Island is located today. There they loaded it onto a transport and took it to Townsville. The fuselage of the Kittyhawk, its back broken, was left to disintegrate where it had landed, though many a souvenir was taken from it by locals. One such is a stainless-steel ammunition box held in 1991 by the RSL in Proserpine.

McGrath later became a member of 76 Kittyhawk Squadron, flying in operations in the New Guinea war zone among the Trobriand Islands, New Britain and the Admiralty Islands. He survived the war and in 1999, aged 82, lives at Dover Heights in Sydney.

(Jack McGrath; Catherine Cullen, daughter of George Baxter).

*Mrs Pat McGovern who lives in Dalby in 1999 recalls that around that time while she was a child living at Cathu with her parents who were air observers (as were many country people in those days) they saw two planes passing, one of which disappeared into a cloud but did not re-appear. Possibly there is a connection with McGrath’s flight.

 

 

Subject:    Re: Kittyhawk crashes
Date:             Fri, 05 Mar 1999 16:54:00 +1100
From:           Ray Blackwood <seaquel@tpgi.com.au>

Thanks Peter,

However before you put the Proserpine crash on your web page please await further advices from me as just after I sent my email to you I received a letter which has led me to the pilot of that plane, Jack McGrath now aged 82. I also am corresponding with a member of an RAAF recovery unit which salvaged parts of the plane. He has photos of the crash which he is sending to me. I am more than happy to have you use these items for your page but will send you full details when I have gathered all the new information together. This should be in a week or so.

On another matter, I have looked at your page about the crash of a Kittyhawk on 27/4/1942 '50 km NW of Cooktown' and must question its correctness. This sounds to me more like a crash near Cape Grenville further up Cape York. (I'm not sure I'm convinced yet - could it be the Airacobra that disappeared on 25 April 1942?)

 

capeg.jpg (92029 bytes)

Aircraft at Cape Grenville
Photograph supplied by John and Bob Evetts
of Elizabeth E II Cruises

 

In 1991 I visited the site of this crash during a boat cruise from Cairns to Thursday Island and saw the remains in the water just off the beach. I wrote to the RAAF about it and their reply stated those facts you have on the page in question.

Nearby lie the remains, now covered in sand, of an Airacobra which ties in with the information. You no doubt are aware that a number of Airacobras had to crash land on Cape York after becoming separated from a mother plane in bad weather. I have seen the full story somewhere but do not have it on hand.

I gave the letter from the RAAF to the cruise boat operators for their information on future cruises and am in the process of retrieving it from them for your information. They also will give me precise Latitude and Longitude of the site which they know well.

I have not yet looked at your full site, having just returned from a visit to Mackay but thought it better to let you have the foregoing before you add anything to the site.

I will let you know progress,

Best wishes,

Ray Blackwood,
PO Box 81,
Airlie Beach, Q 4802, Australia.

07 49469437 - Fax ditto by arrangement.

 

 

Subject:    Re: Kittyhawk crashes
Date:             Fri, 05 Mar 1999 20:12:39 +1100
From:           Ray Blackwood <seaquel@tpgi.com.au

Dear Peter,

A bit more background to follow up my last email to you.

My wife and I retired to Shute Harbour in the Whitsundays in 1981 and since them I have spent most of my time writing a history of the Whitsunday Islands and the adjacent coastline. This culminated in the publishing by Central Queensland University Press of my 'The Whitsunday Islands - An Historical Dictionary' in November 1997.

While I have now retired from the intense research I carried out over the years, my interest remains and I am continuing a relaxed research program to supplement what I wrote in my book, mainly for the benefit of our local historical society.

I covered the Proserpine River crash-landing in my book but was nowhere near satisfied with the scant and sometimes conflicting detail I had been able to glean from those involved here at the time. I have therefore cast a pretty wide net to see what information I could obtain, thus my email to you after I came across some of your work on the Internet while searching under RAAF History.

However I also put an 'ad' in the Veteran Affairs Department periodical newsletter and received three responses, one leading me to the pilot, another to the member the salvage team and another from a woman whose parents were air observers in the area at the time (as many country people were)and saw a couple of planes, one of which disappeared and possibly was the subject plane.

Together I think I now have a very complete picture but unfortunately the date remains in doubt. Locals and the pilot think it was in April 1942 - it happened so long ago memories are dim. The salvage man maintains in was in 1943 but I am still awaiting his full report.

If I cannot resolve the year my next approach will be to the RAAF Historical Officer in Canberra (if he still exists). I tried this source years ago but the lack of detail I had at hand (knew only the pilot was a McGrath) frustrated the approach. I will go back with the new information to see whether the RAAF can help me.

Another mystery is that McGrath was accompanied by another Kittyhawk which, according to him, disappeared without trace - we still have a lot of work to do. (Can anyone shed any light on the disappearance of this other Kittyhawk?)

That's about it for the moment Peter. As I said earlier I will keep you informed and probably we both will learn a lot more.

Ray Blackwood,
PO Box 81,
Airlie Beach, Q 4802, Australia.

07 49469437 - Fax ditto by arrangement.

 

 

Subject:    Re: Kittyhawk crashes
Date:             Sun, 07 Mar 1999 10:50:59 +1000
From:           Ray Blackwood <seaquel@tpgi.com.au>

 

Thanks Peter,

I now am confident I have the complete story of the Proserpine River crash except for the conflict as to the year which I will pursue further through the RAAF.

I will send you my complete writings on it when I have the final details, though this is for local consumption in the Proserpine/Whitsunday area and you may care to edit it as you see fit for your pages.

In case they may be of help to you I am attaching copies of the War Graves Commission record of the deaths of Ellerton and Randall and in case your question about Portland Roads is still current I attach a map which shows it.

There obviously is room for confusion concerning the scene of these deaths but as far as Cape Grenville is concerned I will send you the file when I get it from the tour operators, hopefully in a couple of days. They are at sea at the moment.

Best wishes,

Ray Blackwood,
PO Box 81,
Airlie Beach, Q 4802, Australia.

07 49469437 - Fax ditto by arrangement.

 

 

Subject:   Kittyhawk crash at Proserpine River.
Date:           Sun, 07 Mar 1999 15:18:52 +1000
From:          Ray Blackwood <seaquel@tpgi.com.au>

Dear Peter,

I have just had another word with the pilot of this plane who earlier thought it was in 1942 but who now definitely says it was 1943 which accords with the year given by my second contact, the man who was in the salvage unit. I have yet to get the full story of the latter's part and his photos but meanwhile am attaching what I have written which is the guts of the story. I will send you any additions and photos when I get them.

As said earlier feel free to edit the text for your purposes.

Cheers,

Ray Blackwood,
PO Box 81,
Airlie Beach, Q 4802, Australia.

07 49469437 - Fax ditto by arrangement.

 

 

Subject:    Kittyhawk Crash
Date:             Mon, 08 Mar 1999 07:52:36 +1000
From:           Ray Blackwood <seaquel@tpgi.com.au>

Peter,

Another attachment, of the place the Kittyhawk crashed. On the western shoreline of Repulse Bay is a number 24 which is almost exactly where it happened.

 

river.jpg (155799 bytes)

 

Meanwhile I have received another response to my Vetaffairs request which has led me to Brian Head 02-66793192 Bald Mountain Road, Chillingham NSW 2484 who has a mammoth computer database of military air crashes which may be of help to you. Unfortunately he is not online, either web or email. He is looking up McGrath and Ellerton for me, says he can go back to crash reports and inquests.

Regards,

Ray Blackwood,
PO Box 81,
Airlie Beach, Q 4802, Australia.

07 49469437 - Fax ditto by arrangement.

 

 

Subject:     Missing Dakota 2 February 1944
Date:              Mon, 08 Mar 1999 13:34:32 +1000
From:            Ray Blackwood <seaquel@tpgi.com.au

Dear Peter,

Another question if you don't mind. I am interested in the abovementioned incident because a local identity who had been an owner of Daydream Island Island in the 1930's, Eric Catherwood, was aboard a plane which went missing on February 2, 1944 while he was travelling from Townsville to Milne Bay. This sounds as if it may be the plane concerned.

My question is whether you have seen the passenger manifest or can you tell me how I might find it.

Again your help will be appreciated.

Ray Blackwood,
PO Box 81,
Airlie Beach, Q 4802, Australia.

07 49469437 - Fax ditto by arrangement.

 

 

Subject:     Kittyhawk A29-69 Ellerton
Date:               Mon, 08 Mar 1999 15:49:18 +1000
From:             Ray Blackwood <seaquel@tpgi.com.au>

Dear Peter,

I attach copy of the letter I received from the RAAF in June 1991 in reply to my letter asking details of the plane wreck at Cape Grenville, precise location 11.58.7 S 143.14.2E as today advised to me by the tour people I spoke of.

I must admit that as I proceed further with this exercise I get the impression one perhaps cannot rely too much on the locations given in official reports and maybe the officer replying to me was taking a bit of a stab at it.

Nevertheless it is interesting that an Airacobra was reported missing in the same area on 25 April 1942 - could there be a connection?

It's getting too complex for me so I leave it to you to sort out but would be interested if you get a positive outcome.

Regards,

Ray Blackwood,
PO Box 81,
Airlie Beach, Q 4802, Australia.

07 49469437 - Fax ditto by arrangement.

 

 

Subject:     Kittyhawk A29-69 Ellerton
Date:               Mon, 08 Mar 1999 15:49:18 +1000
From:             Ray Blackwood <seaquel@tpgi.com.au>

Peter,

In case you can receive this I now know the pilot of the plane accompanying McGrath was an Archie Boyd and attach the record of his death from the War Graves Commission. This pinpoints the date of McGrath's crash definitely as 22 April 1943 so I will be altering my writings accordingly.

I will keep in touch, Ray.

In Memory of

Archie Gordon Boyd

Sergeant
409019
Royal Australian Air Force
who died on
Thursday, 22nd April 1943. Age 28.

Additional Information:
Son of Thomas James Boyd and Grace Sarah Boyd; husband of Nancy Windred Boyd, of Conargo, New South Wales.

SYDNEY MEMORIAL
Grave Reference/Panel Number:      Panel 6.

 

 

Subject:     Re: Kittyhawks
Date:              Fri, 12 Mar 1999 07:44:43 +1000
From:            Ray Blackwood <seaquel@tpgi.com.au>

Dear Peter,

I have received an email from a John Sheehan relating his experience while serving with the RAAF Test and Ferry Flight at Bankstown. He says

'Now here's a funny thing. There was another one in, I think, mid-1944.

At this time I was a pilot in an RAAF Test & Ferry Flight based at Bankstown, Sydney, 'resting' after completing an operational tour. A Sgt. Pilot  named Jack Guy and myself were delivering a couple of P40-N25 Kittyhawks to squadrons in New Guinea.

About 20 minutes out of Townsville Jack rang me up to tell me his oil temp was going off the clock. He said he would bail out if it got any worse but I told him to hang on as he had all the liquor for trading with the Yanks in Moresby stowed in his aircraft. (1 bottle COR-IO whiskey @ 7/6d = 20 cartons Chesterfields worth a couple of quid a carton back in Sydney)

He did hang on but didn't make it to an airfield but force landed on a beach somewhere near Cardwell. (This was Kittyhawk A29-910 which crashed landed on 28 August 1944)

Dunno what happened to the grog. I had to continue to Moresby alone, after re-fuelling at Cairns and Iron Range, which I didn't like one little bit.

Two hours over the shark-infested Coral Sea in a single-engine aircraft before Valium was invented wasn't much fun.

I know this is no bloody use to you, but I have enjoyed telling it.

JS'

----------

He now has come again:

'Ray

Thanks for your reply.

Yes. Jack Guy survived but I lost touch with him when I went to England to live for a few years in the early 50's.

I think that he died a couple of years ago having moved from Sydney to live at, I think, Ballina in northern NSW.

An ex-Squadron friend of mine in Brisbane researched this aircraft misadventure recently and has all the gen. if you are interested.

Name: Jim Purdon
21 Spilsby Place
The Gap, Qld, 4061

Happy hunting

JS'

-------------------

Peter, This address may be of interest to you.

I also am attaching a copy of the Cape Grenville crash site. This is by courtesy of John and Bob Evetts of Mackay and their cruise boat 'Elizabeth E II'. Actually Bob Evetts reckons it is an Airacobra as the motor was behind the cockpit!!

Also attaching photos of the Proserpine River crash. If you use these please acknowledge Col Hyde of Toowoomba who sent them to me.

 

hyde1.jpg (52048 bytes) hyde2.jpg (52741 bytes)
hyde3.jpg (41932 bytes) hyde4.jpg (52223 bytes)

Photos of the Proserpine River Crash
compliments of Col Hyde of Toowoomba

 

Best wishes, Ray Blackwood

 

 

Subject:   Re: Kittyhawk A29-69 Ellerton
Date:           Mon, 15 Mar 1999 09:55:00 +1000
From:          Ray Blackwood <seaquel@tpgi.com.au>

Peter,

I assume you are talking about Boyd. Neither he nor his plane were seen again after he and McGrath separated. He could not have got much further that night so it seems a pretty fair assumption he crashed/died that same night and his death notice has been dated accordingly and hence its 'no known grave' status. One thing is certain, McGrath crashed on a Thursday which ties in with Boyd's date of death.

Cheers, Ray

Ray Blackwood,
PO Box 81,
Airlie Beach, Q 4802, Australia.

07 49469437 - Fax ditto by arrangement.

 

 

Subject:     Plane crashes in Queensland in WW2
Date:              Tue, 19 Oct 1999 21:46:55 -0000
From:            "Judy Taylor" <STSJudy@bigpond.com>

I found your web site very interesting. My father (John Beckenham) was with 9 Squadron RAAF and his 1943 diary has notes on several crashes you mention. He flew in Catalinas. The dates are 8 Feb, March 2, April 1, April 8, April 13 and April 23. His notes are brief but may be of assistance to you.

8 February 1943
A2-9 into sea. Lt. McWhae, F/Lt Hookings and P/O Sellers killed on dive bombing practice. Bad weather. Heavy rains. Hull A2-9 located with grappling irons.

Thurs 11 February 1943
Violent rain all day. Confined to crew tent which almost flooded. Hull A2-9 raised and 3 bodies removed.

Fri 12 February 1943
Rain has continued unabated. Acted as pall bearer at funeral of 3 officers. Clark, Wearne, Briggs, Blakely and Foley others. Hole full water and coffins floated to within 3 ft surface. Bodies very smelly.  Sellers leaked out bottom and guts . . .my hand. Rained heavily all ceremony.

2 March 1943
Search missing naval vessel. Found in distress against island. Landed Townsville just in time to see P38 hit trees taking off. Damaged. . . .and after several circuits landed and immediately caught fire. Yank thrown 50 yds and landed in soft mud, only broken ankle.

3 March 1943
Cat-25 been missing off Innisfail. Last message "forced landing". . . . .Cairns flight been searching for last two days. Lot of extra men on board too.

4 March 1943
No news Catalina. Not much hope now.

20 March 1943
I am to go to Cairns soon to replace John Hick. Another Cat lost.

30 March 1943
No flying. Heard that DC3 crashed Amberley - 23 killed (This was actually a crash of a C-47 at Archerfield on 27 March 1943). Also Bluey Truscott killed accidentally diving at cobber.

1 April 1943
A2/13 our kite crashed taking off Townsville - complete write-off - no one hurt. Both my kites A2-9 and A2-13 now gone.

10 April 1943
Another Cat (3rd) lost on 8th. Caught fire and no trace of it. They suspect dirty work somewhere as three now gone in five weeks.

12 April 1943
Another Cat had motors cut north N. Guinea. Landed and engines fixed - getting home okay. Definite signs 5th column activity.

13 April 1943
At 4.45 a.m. another Cat exploded in flames when returning to and just near Cairns lighting whole town. 4 bodies recovered, 3 alive - gunners - say pilot stalled her when engine slipped out juice.

23 April 1943 Good Friday
2 Kittyhawks crashed near Proserpine
(on 22 April). 1 pilot okay. Our kite sent out to search for other one. Will delay us more so won't be on time at Horn.

(note: he had volunteered for crew to go to Horn Is. for an indefinite period)

I hope these notes are of interest to you. My father's name was John Beckenham. He died on March 29, 1994.

I wondered if as you seem to be particularly interested in Queensland history, you might have any information about the early history of Bundaberg? My father's mother came from there and her grandparents had settled there after coming out from Scotland in 1855. Their names were Samuel Andrew Mackie Goodwin and Mary Anne Goodwin.

Regards,
Judy Taylor

 


 

Subject:    22/04/43 Kittyhawk Crash Prosperpine River.
Date:             Thu, 17 May 2001 14:29:43 +1000
From:           "Sue McLeod" <smcleod@bigpond.net.au>

My name is Andrew Trace, the other missing pilot from this flight, Archie BOYD, was my great uncle (Grandmother's brother) My understanding is that his plane and body are still outstanding. I was wondering if you have BOYD's plane registration and the course magnetic they would have been flying along from Bankstown. Also where did they refuel, if at all and from Prosperpine how much fuel in flying time was Boyd carrying?

Thanks
Andrew TRACE

 


 

Subject:    22/04/43 Kittyhawk Crash Prosperpine River.
Date:             Tue, 22 May 2001 23:01:15 +1000
From:           "Sue McLeod" <smcleod@bigpond.net.au>

Hi Peter,

I have very scant info, my mother is the person to speak to as she has a copy of a letter from BOYD's widow describing what she was told by the surviving pilot. She also has BOYD's plane registration number. Her email is pelotrace@tsn.cc My mothers name is Lois TRACE. On speaking to my grandmother, she mentioned something about MCGRATH's altimeter having an incorrect reading as he broke out of the cloud to find himself just above the water (by that he meant JUST above) I think the altimeter was reading 400 at sea level which might explain why BOYD never made it.

Regards Andrew TRACE.

 


 

qld73a.jpg (51645 bytes)

Archie Boyd

Above is the only photo I have of Arch in uniform,
although Denise has a lovely coloured portrait
photo of her father in uniform (head and shoulders

 

Subject:    Arch Boyd - Crash of a Kittyhawk, 22nd April, 1943.
Date:             Thu, 24 May 2001 09:11:31 +1000
From:           "pelotrace" <pelotrace@tsn.cc>

Dear Peter,

Below is a copy of my email to Ray Blackwood giving him further information re my Uncle Arch's plane crash and some family details. We have a copy of the emails and notes from your website given to you by Ray. I spoke to my cousin Denise two days ago and she said that she has the registration number of her father's plane, and she was going to forward this to Ray Blackwood. However she has gone to Tasmania yesterday for ten days so cannot contact her yet.

Regards,
Lois Trace.

----- Original Message -----
From:           pelotrace
To:               seaquel@tpgi.com.au
Sent:            Friday, May 18, 2001 12:38 PM
Subject:   Arch Boyd - Crash of a Kittyhawk, 22nd April, 1943.

Dear Mr. Blackwood,

Have just received your information of 18/05/0l re the above. I am Arch Boyd's niece and have just finished doing a family history and confirm the 22nd April, 1943 as the date Arch was lost. In it is a copy of a letter to my mother Audrey (Arch's sister) from Arch's wife Nancy written on the 22nd May, exactly a month after Arch was posted as missing in action. Here are extracts from that letter:

"They were flying along together to Rockhampton where they were to stay the night and Arch was navigating on his own because Jack had a touch of the flu. Jack said the sun was very low and I think Rockhampton is surrounded by a mountain and they missed it, then Jack called Arch on the radio and spoke to him. Arch answered but his voice was blurred and Jack was unable to understand what he said but he said Arch waved to him to let him know he understood.

I think they decided to make MacKay then, the darkness sets in very quickly up there and they must have got lost. Jack said he was following Arch and his navigation lights went out then he followed him by the sparks from the exhaust.

Arch went into some clouds and Jack went into them too, he tried to call Arch on his radio but was unable to get any reply, by this time he had lost sight of Arch so he turned back and tried to find a place to land. He called up radio communications from the ground to get a bearing but couldn't get them so dropped a couple of flares and thought he was landing on the beach but he was over water, but only about 44 yds out near Bowen Island. Jack swam ashore and immediately got in touch with Rockhampton but it wasn't until next morning that they started to search for Arch and then Jack said they started in a different direction to what he told them because someone said they heard a crash, which was Jack's plane.

Jack says it is impossible for him to say what direction Arch would take because the planes go so fast and he could have gone 200 miles. I can't understand why Arch didn't parachute out, he always used to say if he was in difficulties he would, but of course for all I know the poor dear may have. Then again Jack tried to save the plane but it is a total wreck. Arch may have had the same idea because they were taking the planes to the boys in operations. I was disappointed Arch had to go on the trip just before Easter, when he didn't arrive home until the Wednesday before I thought he would be able to have a day or so off. He had been away on such a lot of trips and hadn't had a Sunday at home for an age. However Arch said "the boys up there need the planes and it is up to us to get them to them, when I return I will put in for leave"..."

When Arch disappeared Nancy was five months pregnant with their first and only child Denise Grace. Denise was born in Bankstown, New South Wales on 19/8/l943. She and her mother eventually moved to Launceston, Tasmania where Nance still lives. Nance never remarried. Denise married Michael Harrison and now lives at Tin Can Bay, Queensland. They have one daughter, Sonja.

My mother told me that Jack had said to Nance later that there was an electrical storm and when he was trying to find a place to bring his plane down, he looked at his instruments and thought he was fairly high in the air. However, he looked down and suddenly discovered that his plane was almost skimming the water beneath him. It is possible that Arch also had problems with his instruments as his radio was not functioning at the time he disappeared.

Hope you find this of interest,
Sincerely,
Lois Trace, Port Macquarie, NSW.

 

REFERENCE BOOK

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

"Aircraft of the RAAF 1921- 71"
By Geoffrey Pentland & Peter Malone

 

SOURCE:-   Aircraft Crash Sites - Australia

Crash:         No. 325 (I've assumed that Crash No. 325 is the above crash)

Position:     20.02 - 148.42

Department of Aviation Chart No:       3235

Location:    Wreckage located in shallow water south of the mouth of the Proserpine River in Repulse Bay, in the Proserpine area.

 

Can anyone help me with more information on this crash?

 

I need your help

Copyright

 Peter Dunn 2015

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This page first produced 7 March 1999

This page last updated 31 August 2015