B-26 Marauder, #40-1392, "Old Timer", of 2nd Squadron, 22nd Bomb Group,  piloted by Captain Harry O. Patterson, was destroyed in a landing accident at Reid River.

On April 4, 1943 Jim Houston entered into his diary "Capt Patterson crashed last month". 

Captain Harry Patterson was returning from a practice flight from Reid River. He buzzed the airfield, but did not return. By late evening, the authorities at Reid River realised that the B-26 must have crashed.

Apparently the left engine stopped. Patterson feathered the engine, but then the other engine also stopped. He made a crash landing in the bush. Parties from Reid River with flashlights searched almost all night for the crash site. 

The navigator left the crash site, and proceeded north. He came to a Hospital, and gave the news that there had been a crash. 

A Local Australian bushman was called into to assist with the search. He questioned the navigator about what landmarks he had passed on his way to the Hospital. They got a couple Jeeps with the bushman on the hood and started looking. The bushman directed them to a point and said that they were where the plane should be. They fired a flare, and another was fired within 50 yards of them. 

Jack Houston went there early the next day and took the following pictures. One of the photos shows the trees that were clipped off as the B-26 ploughed through them.

The tail section broke off when the plane tipped over and up against the tree. One crew member was riding in the tail section behind the camera hatch, and was killed when the tail broke off and he was thrown to the ground. Captain Patterson received a cut on his forehead. The rest of the crew were O.K.

Harry Patterson told his friends the next day that right after he buzzed the field, one engine quit. He feathered it, and then the other engine quit. All that was in front of him was trees, so he did not try to use the landing gear. 


B-26 Marauder at Reid River


Crash of B-26 Marauder #40-1392
at Reid River, in March 1942


B-26 Marauder #40-1392
at Reid River, in March 1942


B-26 Marauder #40-1392
at Reid River, in March 1942



The Forgotten Fifth
A Classic Photographic Chronology of the
Fifth Air Force in Action in the Pacific in WW2

By Michael Claringbould


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This page first produced 13 June 1999

This page last updated 21 February 2020