CRASH OF A KITTYHAWK
NEAR WAUCHOPE, NSW
ON 7 MARCH 1942

 

kittyhawk.jpg (10661 bytes)

Kittyhawk

 

RAAF Kittyhawk A29-3 (#41-5662) crashed at Morton's Creek, 5 kms from Wauchope, near a village called Beechwood in New South Wales on 7 March 1942. The Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour database shows the pilot James Norton died at Kempsey, which I assume is near Wauchope. It was one of three 75 Squadron aircraft that crashed that day on a ferry flight from Bankstown to Townsville.

Kittyhawk A29-3 was previously part of the 8th Pursuit Squadron, 49th Fighter Group, USAAC.

A29-3 crashed on the property of John Moremon's grandmother about 200 metres from the house. 

Brian Saul gave me the following directions to the crash site:-

"Start at Kempsey head west along the Armidale Rd for a couple of Klms to Greenhill. Turn right onto Spooners Avenue, the site is about 5Klms along this road. There is only 2 roads off Spooners Ave. The first to, I do not remember the name of the place ("The Pub with no Beer"), the second being Sauls Cowbails Lane and the site is a couple of hundred metres from there."

 


Photo:- Brian Saul March 2005

This is the rough location of the crash site (Collombatti ), somewhere in there, is an
impact crater but the area was cleared about 20 years ago for a fire break. This left lots
of holes from the trees pushed over and now it would be impossible to identify which is
the impact crater without a metal detector and a lot of luck.

 


Photo:- Brian Saul March 2005

Crash location is behind the trees on the right of the photograph

 


Photo:- Brian Saul March 2005

This spent 50 calibre round was a souvenir from the
crash site. The casing has the markings A and 41 on it.

 


Photo:- Brian Saul March 2005

Stanley Meehan and Bob Teague were working in the area of the windmill when the aircraft
crashed. They rode their horses to the crash site. One of them souvenired the above 50 calibre
round. The crash site was many miles behind the windmill, Stanley Meehanís brother Frank
Meehan still lives at that site, Sutherlands Lane, Bellimbopinni, and he now has the spent round.

 

Frank Meehan tells the story that the two men actually felt the concussion of the crash when they were in the well, just in front of the windmill. When they finally arrived at the site there was ammunition going off and the pilot had tried to parachute to ground but must have left it too late. He landed in trees very close to the crash and was badly injured by the trees. Ken Raynor, who lives opposite the crash site tells a similar story.

The property that the plane crashed on may have been owned by a James Raymond at the time, although it has changed hands a few times since then.

Brian Saul also mentioned that he was also told of a forced landing of an armed bomber during WW2 just to the right of the above photograph with the windmill. The story goes that they were running low on fuel and picked what they thought was a flat bit of ground to land on. The ground turned out to be a paddock covered in thistles about three or four feet high, with the remains of an old fence. The story goes that it was a DC-3 with the bombs under the wings!! (DC-3's did not carry bombs!!). One of the crew members apparently returned around 2001, and his visit was reported in the local paper. Apparently Frank Meehan still has the paper cutting.

In March 2005, Stanley Meehan was living near Gosford just north of Sydney.

 

QUEANBEYAN (RIVERSIDE) CEMETERY, New South Wales, Australia

In Memory of

JAMES WILLIAM NORTON

Pilot Officer
411173
Royal Australian Air Force
who died on
Saturday, 7th March 1942. Age 26.

Son of William James Norton and Bertha Norton;
husband of Patricia Maude Norton, of Queanbeyan.

 

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NOTE:- There were two other Kittyhawks that crashed from the same ferry flight. One was at Kyogle and the other at Kempsey.

I've found a Lloyd Henry Holliday of 75 Squadron who died at Kempsey on 7 March 1942. John Moremon says that A29-1 crashed at Kempsey and the pilot was killed, but Stewart Wilson's book says it crashed at Mildura. Which one is right?

In Memory of

LLOYD HENRY HOLLIDAY

Pilot Officer
411786
Royal Australian Air Force
who died on
Saturday, 7th March 1942. Age 23.

Additional Information:   Son of Henry Alston Stanley Holliday and Constance Margaret Holliday, of Greenwich; husband of Lorraine Lillian Bedford Holliday, of Longueville.

NORTHERN SUBURBS GENERAL CEMETERY, New South Wales, Australia
Grave Reference/Panel Number:     C. of E. Sec. K6. Grave 6.

 

The Macleay Argus showed the following entry:-

Wartime Briefs

June 22: A finding of accidental death has been returned after an inquest into the death of a RAAF pilot at Collombatti. The Kempsey coroner (Mr. N.L. Parker) found that Pilot Officer Lloyd Henry Holloway died from injuries received when his airplane crashed on March 7. The cause was not ascertained. Publication of details of the accident and much of the evidence at the inquest was subjected to censorship.

Note they incorrectly show the pilot's name as Holloway and not Holliday.

 

REFERENCE BOOKS

"Aircraft of the RAAF 1921- 71"
By Geoffrey Pentland & Peter Malone

"The Spitfire, Mustang and Kittyhawk in Australian Service"
By Stewart Wilson

 

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

I'd like to thank John Moreman, Gordon Clarke, Steve McGinn and Brian Saul for their assistance with this home page. 

 

Can anyone help me with more information on this crash?

 

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This page first produced 1 October 1999

This page last updated 28 July 2018