345TH BOMBARDMENT GROUP
IN AUSTRALIA DURING WW2
498th Squadron - "Falcons"
499th Squadron - "Bats outa Hell"
500th - "Rough Raiders"
501st - "Black Panthers"
The 499th Bomb Squadron and the 500th Bomb Squadron of the 345th Bomb Group arrived at Reid River Airfield about 40 miles south of Townsville on about 16 May 1943 and remained dispersed there until about 20 June 1943 when they returned to New Guinea.
Crash of a B-25 Mitchell of 498 Squadron at Amberley on 15 May 1943
Crash of a B-25 Mitchell of 498 Squadron at Woodstock on 28 May 1943
Crash of a C-47 Dakota into the Bay near Townsville on 7 August 1943
Subject: Re: 345th
Date: Tue, 26 Jan 1999 10:02:11 -0500
From: Paul Van Valkenburg vanvalkp@SNYCORVA.CORTLAND.EDU
The brief stopover on the way to New Guinea was in Brisbane. However, the 345th made numerous trips to Townsville over the war years. In August of 1943 their B-25's underwent conversion from level bombers to "Strafers" in Townsville.
I like your web site. I notice that you have documented various plane crashes in the Townsville area. I did not find an account of the following crash which involved the 345th Bomb Group. It's taken from "Warpath Across the Pacific", the unit history of the 345th.
FATAL TRIP TO SYDNEY: DECEMBER 19, 1943
Three Sydney-bound officers on the crew of DOODLE were lost on the 19th when the C-47 they were riding in crashed during bad weather. The plane had taken off from Townsville, apparently enroute Rockhampton, when it spun out of the overcast with an engine on fire. It exploded before hitting the ground, killing all 31 on board. The 499th (squad) lost Capt. Orlen Loverin, who was considered by many to be the unit's most capable pilot. The Squadron Navagator, 1/Lt. George K. Snyder, was rumered to have been planning marriage when he reached Sydney. 2/Lt. William B. Graham was the other fatality.
When American military authorities reached the scene, they found the bodies had been looted; empty wallets were strewn nearby. Since the airmen often carried a hundred Australian pounds or more on trips to Sydney, someone had aquired a small fortune.
Another crash in the Townsville area invoving the 345th was on August 7, 1943 - 21 died when the C-47 they were in crashed into the bay.
It also looks like Townsville is where all maintenance and modifications that could not be made in the field were done.
Townsville must have been one hoping place back then!
By the way, you have the honor of being the first person outside the U.S.A. to contact me regarding the 345th BG.
Subject: Re: 345th
Date: Tue, 26 Jan 1999 20:30:53 EST
I appreciate your note, and I will be visiting your page very soon. I believe the 345th did spend some time in Townsville. Is that where you live at present?
Subject: Two more crashes
Date: Sun, 21 Feb 1999 19:06:08 -0500
From: Paul Van Valkenburg <vanvalkp@SNYCORVA.CORTLAND.EDU>
I came across two more crashes which involved 345th Bomb Group B-25's and have included two photo's of one of them. Both planes were with the 498th Bomb Squadron.
May 15, 1943
# 41-30032 B-25-D-5 "BEST YET" Piloted by M.L. Best. Written off in accident when wheels retracted during take-off before aircraft left the ground at Amberley Field. One crewman badly injured. (see photo)
May 28, 1943
#41-30045 B-25-D-5 (D-1) "THE ROUND ROBIN" Blew tire on take-off at Woodstock, Queensland, Aus. with Gerber piloting and crashed off side of runway. Entire crew injured and aircraft destroyed.
Information taken from "Warpath Across the Pacific" by Lawrence Hickey.
Hope you find this useful.
Paul Van Valkenburg
345th Bomb Group Reunion Association
Subject: Uncle killed at Nadzab
Date: Sun, 6 Oct 2002 01:34:21 -0500
From: " William Hoopes" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
My uncle, Lt Jack Hoopes was assigned to 499th and was killed in an airplane crash on Nadzab Airfield on May 9, 1944. Our family was given little details other than the flight crashed due to the airfield light blinding the pilot or they were out.
He was an Army Military Intelligence Officer who wanted to be a pilot but couldnt due to his poor eyesight. He boarded this flight through a friend as a fly-along. So the story goes.
Please let me know if there is ANY way to contact someone who might know the plane number, type or if there were survivors. He was from Marysville, Ohio, age 25, a LT, and was assigned to the 499th Bomb Sq, 345 Bomber Grp.
I'm currently an active duty serviceman with 16 yrs of duty trying to research my uncle's death for my Dad (his nephew) and our family. I can be reached at the below listed number for further questions or details,,, or just to authenticate my families interest for our own personal reasons.
Thank you for your service and a great web page. I hope to hear from you or someone that may help us.
San Diego, CA
Byron Bay Web Hosting
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© Peter Dunn 2006
This page first produced 27 January 1999
This page last updated 23 December 2014