CRASH OF AN AIRACOBRA
AT WILLIAMTOWN, NSW
ON 5 APRIL 1942

 

2nd Lt. Roger Perley Warfield (0-427061) of the 39th Pursuit Squadron, 35th Fighter Group, crashed his Airacobra (probably a P-400 Airacobra) on Easter Sunday, 5 April 1942 at Williamtown, NSW.  Following an aborted landing his plane crashed into the trees just off the edge of the airfield and Lt. Warfield was killed. One source suggested the crash was on 3 April and he died on 5 April.

Aircraft of the 39th Pursuit Squadron were making practice flights at the time of this tragic accident. 2nd Lt. Roger Perley Warfield was wingman to Lt. Carey and on this practice flight Warfield somehow got into the prop wash of Lt Carey's aircraft which caused a rapid descent and the tearing off of one of his aircraft's main landing gear on the landing approach.

In his memoirs, 2nd Lt. Harvey E. Rehrer of the 39th Pursuit Squadron stated:-

"As I remember he gunned it and got off again but the flying characteristics of the wing on the side, less the main gear was changed so much the ship peeled off in the ground. His body was thrown clear of the ship."

 


Photo:- Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners' Advocate, Wednesday 8 April 1942

American airmen carry the flag-draped coffin of a comrade,
 Lieutenant R.P. Warfield, from Newcastle Cathedral

 

Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners' Advocate, Wednesday 8 April 1942

AMERICAN AIRMAN'S FUNERAL

The Stars and Stripes and flag of the R.A.A.F. draped a coffin containing the remains of Lieutenant Roger Perley Warfield, 27, a United States airman, yesterday when the funeral left Newcastle Cathedral for Sandgate Cemetery.

A small gathering of United States officers and representatives of the Australian fighting forces attended the Cathedral. Padre Ormerod officiated.

The Deputy Town Clerk (Mr. W. A. Miller) represented the Mayor (Ald. Young), Wing Commander Mulroney the R.A.A.F., and Captain Abrahams the Army, Captain Barry (United States) also attended, with 12 officers, some of whom were pallbearers.

At the graveside a formation of Air Force planes passed overhead, dipping in a last salute. Padre A. R. McVittie took part in the service.

 

2nd Lt. Roger P. Warfield from Worcester County, Massachusetts was later reburied at the US Military Cemetery at Rookwood Cemetery in Sydney, New South Wales, in Zone D Section 13 USA Grave 41 possibly on 1 October 1942.

His body was then exhumed and transported to Mausoleum No. 4 at Redbank west of Brisbane. Caskets from both Rookwood Cemetery (465 souls) and Ipswich Cemetery (1,406 souls) were then loaded onboard USAT Goucher Victory in the Brisbane River which then travelled to Guadalcanal before Christmas 1947. The caskets were unloaded at Gaudalcanal and loaded onto the USAT Cardinal O'Connell along with 3,346 souls recovered from Guadalcanal which then travelled to Hawaii. His body was then transported to the USA and he was buried at High Plains Cemetery, West Boylston, Worcester County, Massachusetts.

There is a Roger P. Warfield American Legion Post #373 in Baldwinville, Massachusetts.

I was contacted by William Hawley, a cousin of 2nd Lt. Roger P. Warfield on 26 May 2020. Roger P. Warfield was the son of William's grandmother's brother. He was after more information about this tragic accident.

 

 

Subject:    Your Aug 20 msg
Date:             Tue, 24 Aug 1999 18:15:04 -0500
From:           "Charles King" <aceking@gbonline.com>

Hi Pete,

Just a partial answer, maybe more later when I have time to check some records. David Silverman a new pilot assigned to the 39th was killed landing on the center strip at Woodstock on 10 May 1942. It was probably a P-400. Plane was burnt and pilot thrown across the right wing also burnt leaving just a torso. Am not sure but believe he had taken off and made an almost immediate attempt to land.

Roger Warfield also a new pilot was killed in April of 1942 before we moved to Woodstock. Am not sure but think it was at Williamtown.

Book was published in the early seventies in paperback only. Later there were at least five new printings through the eighties and ninetys.

Another book by Caiden worth looking for is Samauri which tells the story of the Jap pilots we fought against in New Guinea.

Paperback published in the fifities. Also later printings.

Charlie King

 

Other e-mails from Charles King

 

35th Fighter Group

 

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I'd like to thank Edward Rogers and Charles King for their assistance with this web page.

I'd also like to thank T.C. Whitcomb, a first cousin of 2nd Lt. Roger Perley Warfield, for his assistance with this web page.

 

Can anyone help me with more information?

 

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This page first produced 25 March 2000

This page last updated 28 May 2020