14 SEPTEMBER 1943
CRASH OF A B-25 MITCHELL
AT REID RIVER AIRSTRIP, QLD
B-25D-15 Mitchell, #41-30410 of 408th Squadron, 22nd Bombardment Group, crashed during take-off at Reid River Airfield at about 1930 hours on 14 September 1943. Cause unknown. The crew were all killed as follows:-
Captain Leslie O. Skipper (0-442292) - Pilot
1st Lieutenant Jack I. Singer (0-795494) - Co-pilot
S/Sergeant David Griffin Hinman (31127745) - Radio Operator
S/Sergeant Wade M. Richardson (39092269) - Aerial Gunner
The above crew members were all buried in the USAF Military Cemetery at Ipswich, west of Brisbane in south east Queensland.
Bill Gard was going to school at the time when the 22nd Bombardment Group, the Red Raiders, were stationed at Reid River Airfield. The airfield was right at their back door. The night that #41-30410 crashed, they were listening to the War News. They heard the B-25 take off, and Bill's father said that plane sounded a bit low. It flew over their house, and missed their roof by about 10ft. They believed the pilot was trying to crash land in the river bed. It didn't make it and crashed on open land near the outdoor theater about 200 yards from their house and opposite the Control Tower. There were other houses only about 50 yards away.
All the railway workers ran out too see if they could do anything, then all hell broke loose, the tracer bullets started flying. Luckily there was a storm water drain running along there and that is where the railway workers remained until the fire burnt itself out. Miraculously none of the houses were hit. They were told later on that if it had crashed the next morning, it would have been loaded with bombs, so things could have been much more tragic.
The cause of the crash was never found, but it was likely that a leather flying jacket thrown behind the pilot's seat had jammed the exposed rudder cables, causing the B-25 to roll out of control. Cable guards were later retrofitted to all B-25s to avoid a reoccurrence.
A few days later Bill Gard found a ring belonging to one of the crew. Bill's father took it to the Commanding Officer and he said it didn't have any sentimental value so Bill was allowed to keep it. He wore for many years, but someone later stole it from Bill.
I'd like to thank David N. Seroy, nephew of Lieutenant Jack Singer, for his assistance with this web page.
I'd also like to thank Bill Gard for his assistance with this web page.
Can anyone help me with more information?
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© Peter Dunn OAM 2020
This page first produced 20 September 1998
This page last updated 07 February 2020