THE CANAL CREEK AIR CRASH
and other aircraft disasters
in Central Queensland during WW2
by Mary O'Brien
On 19 December 1943, during WWII, a USAAF C-47A aircraft crashed on Canal Creek Station, 40 miles north of Rockhampton, resulting in the immediate death of 31 Australian and United States servicemen and women. The plane was en route from Townsville to Brisbane with intended stops at Rockhampton and Maryborough.
It remains the second greatest loss of life in any disaster in Australia.
Details of the crash were kept secret as this was during wartime. Only one person actually saw the distressed plane come down and reached the site before military police closed the area and ensured no information was made public.
In the years since the crash, stories of the disaster have become distorted with some people confusing it with the Rewan air crash that occurred only a month earlier. Memories become indistinct and second-hand reports by people "who knew someone who told them what they saw" have confused the truth of the event. The Capricorn Coast Historical Society Inc. has produced this report of the crash, based on the single eyewitness account and from military and police reports and records.
Historical Society researcher, Mary O'Brien, has spent many years gathering official records, speaking to local people and establishing contact with the families of many of those killed in the crash.
2013 was the 70th anniversary of the disaster.
A number of other aircraft accidents occurred in Central Queensland during WW2 which also resulted in lives lost. These accidents are also covered in this book.
A4 size, soft cover
103 pages, 70 photographs
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© Peter Dunn 2015
This page first produced 18 December 2013
This page last updated 21 January 2020