CRASH OF A B-25C MITCHELL
AT CHARTERS TOWERS
ON 24 SEPTEMBER 1942

 

On 24 September 1942, B-25C Mitchell #41-12890, "Sunsetter" of the 71st Bomb Squadron of the  38th Bomb Group crashed at Charters Towers while on a training flight. "Sunsetter" crashed into the steel rope of the flying fox across the Burdekin River at the pumping station. The flying fox was used to carry fire wood across the river to feed the steam driven water pumps.

Four American airmen were killed when the B-25 Mitchell crashed into some trees while trying to reach Breddan airfield. Those killed were:-

Edward E. Johnson (12044148), 23 years
Earl W. Jett (0-725624), 21 years
Charles W. Taggart (18084313), 20 years
Richard T. Sharp (0-433739), 21 years

There is an incorrect story circulating that the four bodies were returned to America from Charters Towers in four coffins obtained from Herbert Hall. They were in fact initially buried at the US Military Cemetery at Belgian Gardens in Townsville. They were later exhumed and reburied at the USAF Military Cemetery at Manson Park in Ipswich in southern Queensland. During WW2, Americans who were killed or died in Australia were buried in local cemeteries, but in 1945, the bodies from around Australia were exhumed and temporarily reinterred at the USAF Military Cemetery in Ipswich or at Rookwood Cemetery, Sydney. Then eventually all of these bodies were exhumed again and taken back to the United States by ship.

MANSON PARK BURIAL RECORDS

Name Edward E Johnson Charles W Taggart Earl W Jett Richard T Sharp
Rotation No. 868 996 906 950
Grave No. 794 1012 885 940
Serial No & Rank 12044148 Pvt 18084331 Pvt 0-725624 2nd Lt 0-437739 1st Lt
Sex M M M M
Occupation US Army US Army US Army US Army
Religion Protestant Protestant Protestant Protestant
Date of Death 24 September 1942 24 September 1942 24 September 1942 24 September 1942
Date of Burial 4 August 1945 6 August 1945 4 August 1945 5 August 1945
Name of undertaker GRS U.S. Army GRS U.S. Army GRS U.S. Army GRS U.S. Army

 

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I'd like to thank Peter Murray for his assistance with this web page.

 

REFERENCES

38th Bomb Group Association

 

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Copyright

 Peter Dunn 2015

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This page first produced 31 December 2001

This page last updated 30 August 2015