CRASH OF A B-24 LIBERATOR
NEAR LEICHHARDT CREEK
NORTH OF
BLUEWATER CREEK
NEAR TOWNSVILLE, QLD
ON 28 MARCH 1944

 

liberator.jpg (11693 bytes)
A typical B-24 Liberator

 

USAAF B-24J Liberator, #42-73483 "Pickled Peach", of the 403rd Bomb Squadron of the 43rd Bomb Group, crashed on a small hill near Leichhardt Creek north of Bluewater Creek (north of Townsville) on 28 March 1944. The aircraft became lost during bad weather associated with a cyclone on a flight from Dobodura in New Guinea to Garbutt airfield

The crash location was about 23 miles north west of Townsville, about two and a half miles inland from Ingham Road. The crashed aircraft was not located until 13 April 1944.

 

B-24J Liberator, #42-73483 "Pickled Peach"

 

B-24J Liberator, #42-73483 "Pickled Peach"
Note that the artwork has changed slightly.

Does anyone know which was the first version?

 

The following crew were killed in this tragic crash:-

CREW NAME   SERVICE NO.
1st Lt. Erwin. N Miskin Pilot 0742444
2nd Lt. Arthur Emory Harris Navigator 0804985
1st Lt. Charles Lankford   0737806
Technical Sgt. John F. Hewitt   12032724
Sgt. Frank D. Brumn   17109864
? R. W. Greiner Flight Engineer 16086363
2nd Lt. Erwin B. Compton   0808788

 

A Mr. Church and another person were mustering cattle at the time of the crash. Garbutt airfield had been closed that day due to the bad weather. They heard the crash and saw the smoke coming from the other side of the small hill. This story seems to clash with the other one that suggested that the crash site was not located until about 2 weeks later on 13 April 1944. Mr. Church directed some American who were camped nearby to the crash site.

I visited the crash site on 28 October 2001 and took the following photographs:-

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On 29 August 200, David Lyndon contacted me and was able to confirm the date for this tragic accident. David's uncle, 1st Lt. Arthur Emory Harris was the navigator on the flight. David has a newspaper clipping which confirmed the date as 28 March 1944.

David's father recalls the date of the discovery as 18 April 1944, but he made be mistaken.

I was contacted by Sean Adams on 8 March 2011. Sean is the great nephew of 1st Lt Charles Lankford who was killed in this tragic accident. Sean had been searching for the previous 18 months, for details of how his great uncle had been killed in the Pacific. His early searches had been unsuccessful as the family stories suggested that he had been a P-38 Lightning pilot.  Sean advised that he had found newspaper clippings from his local newspaper in Missouri from 1944 showing that 1st Lt. Lankford went missing between Queensland and New Guinea. Sean advised that another article confirmed that he had been killed in a crash and that he had been awarded the Air Medal. Sean eventually found this web page and the pieces start to come together. When Sean found this web page I had listed his uncle as 1st Lt. Charles Langford, rather than Lankford.

 


Scan:- via Sean Adams

Article from Southeast Missourian Newspaper

 


Scan:- via Sean Adams

Article from Southeast Missourian Newspaper

 


Photo:- via Sean Adams

1st Lt. Lankford is on the right and Private Harold "Chub" Skelton, another Great Uncle
of Sean Adams. This photo was taken in California while both were in training
prior to deployment. "Chub" was deployed to the Aleutian Islands in Alaska.

 


Photo:- via Sean Adams

1st Lt. Charles Lankford at Dobodura, New Guinea in front of the Navigation Tent in 1943

 


Photo:- via Sean Adams

Patches that belonged to Lt. Charles Lankford

 


Photo:- Bob Livingstone Collection

Lt Spencer and crew, at Dobodura beside B-24J Liberator, "Nancy Jane" Serial No. 42-73480,
of the 403rd Bomb Squadron of the 43rd Bomb Group, This is a different crew to those who were
all killed on that tragic day in March 1944. 1st Lt Charles Lankford is 2nd from the right in the front row.

 


Photo:- Via Bob Tupa

A Sgt Lankford (Engineer) can be seen in the back row 2nd from right

Daley's crew, 319th BS. Bottom Row (left to right):- Lt Riviera (bombardier), Lt Seramuk (navigator),
Lt Daley (pilot), Lt Gangi co pilot) Back Row (left to right): Sgt Mays (lower gunner), Pvt Higgins (tail gunner),
Sgt May (radio), Sgt Naiteh (radio), Sgt Lankford (engineer), Sgt Bray (engineer).

 


NOTE:-

1.   I had previously incorrectly believed that this aircraft was Serial #41-47483. The correct Serial No is #42-73483.

      Thanks to Bob Livingstone and Peter Johnstone for bringing this error to my attention. Bob Livingstone supplied the following information:-

42-73483 B-24J 43BG 403BS

CR Leichhardt Creek (23m NW Townsville) about 2 miles inland from the Ingham road in a cyclone on a flight Dobodura-Garbutt and not found until 13/04/44

ACCREP 440328 B-24J 42-47483 403BS 43BG 5 KCR 5 Miskin, Erwin N AST Townsend/23mi NW

[Accident Report 28/03/44 (the quoted serial is quite wrong) 43BG 403BS Category 5 (destroyed) 5 killed pilot Erwin N Miskin Australia 23 miles NW of Townsville (incorrectly named)]

A number of web sites are incorrectly quoting #42-47483 as the Serial No. for this B-24 Liberator that crashed at Leichhardt Creek on 28 March 1944. Actually #42-47483 is not a Serial No for a B-24 Liberator. It is in fact the Serial No for a Fairchild PT-23.

 

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I'd like to thank Bob Livingstone, Peter Johnstone, Ross Thomas and Ed Clements for their assistance with this home page.

I'd like to thank Sean Adams, the great nephew of 1st Lt. Charles Lankford, for his assistance with this web page.

I'd also like to thank David Lyndon, nephew of 1st Lt. Arthur Emory Harris, for his assistance with this web page.

 

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

 

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 9 February 1999

This page last updated 28 May 2015