24 MARCH 1944
CRASH OF A B-17 FLYING FORTRESS

AT HORN ISLAND

 

b-17e.jpg (9126 bytes)

B-17E Flying Fortress

 

B-17E Flying Fortress, # 41-2497, nicknamed   "Tojo's Nightmare", crashed during its final approach to the Horn Island airfield on 24 March 1944. The aircraft was assigned to the 5th Air Force Advance Echelon.

"Tojo's Nightmare" was originally in the 19th Bomb Group and was then given to 43rd Bomb Group.

NAME RANK SERIAL No.
Compton, William B. Captain 0-124916
Donovan, E. G. 1st. Lt 0-735542
Mauske, Paul M. 1st.Lt 0-734574
Paddilla, Paul T/Sgt 37114233
Matthews, J.C. (dec) S/Sgt 13043675
Simmons, Julian T. (dec) Cpl 34058427
?scudaro, Edward ? 2nd. Lt 0-735166
Steinke, Dolbert C. T/Sgt 37114233
Porter, G.M. T/Sgt 15082955
Krieg, Charles R. S/Sgt 17052531
Clark, Cecil H. T/Sgt 356?0742
Swain, ?.J. PFC 34231906
Maziarz, John L. S/Sgt 11096399
Poohman, Daniel Pvt 32312336
Graf, Paul Pvt 37401672
Underwood, T.M. T/Sgt 6997935
Colorusso, James T. PFC 11023706

Andrew McLean is assisting a family friend whose father, Roy Brown, was involved in the ground rescue of the crew and would like to make contact with any of the survivors of the incident. Andrew has a copy of the accident report including all crew members and a statement from the pilot William B. Compton.

LAC Doug "Blue" Sewell of 12 RSU RAAF assisted with the rescue of the American crew following this crash. When the B-17 hit the water, the fuel tanks burst spreading fuel everywhere. "Blue" Sewell, the unit's electrician, had to disconnect the B-17's batteries because of the risk of an explosion. There was a rising tide and the spilt fuel was covering them very quickly. Another member of 12 RSU stripped off his shorts which "Blue" used to cover the battery terminals to prevent any sparking.

As 12 RSU was a repair and salvage unit, the captain of the aircraft signed it off to 12 RSU. It was loaded with many different articles, but their main concern was saving the cases of different types of grog that was being carried for the American unit's home base. The alcohol was quickly recovered and stored in various places at their camp. The men of 12 RSU had a joint celebration with several of the recovered American crew that night and they all felt worse for wear the next morning.

 

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I'd like to thank Andrew H. McLean <acemac@netcon.net.au> and Doug "Blue" Sewell (Kevin Douglas Sewell 61715) for their assistance with this home page.

 

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 1 March 1999

This page last updated 23 September 2015