ON 21 APRIL 1942

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On 21 April 1942, an RAAF Lockheed C-40 carrying 10 members of the 49th Interceptors Control Squadron of the 49th Fighter Group crashed at Mount Bundy in the Northern Territory. Including the RAAF crew, 12 personnel lost their lives on that tragic day.

The 49th Interceptors Control Squadron had left the HQ training centre in Sydney in mid March 1942 for additional classified training in teletype, radio and wireless with the RAAF in Brisbane. In mid April 1942 their commanding officer, Wursmith, ordered them to rejoin their unit at Darwin. They were scheduled to refit at Batchelor airfield by the end of April 1942 and then set up a permanent base at "Jungle Jump" about 5 miles north of the 8th Pursuit Squadron's new 27 Mile Strip.

On 21 April 1942 the above 10 men were in one of three RAAF transport aircraft headed for Batchelor airfield. They were due to arrive just before sunset. Their aircraft was unable to locate Batchelor due to low clouds which were part of a broad weather front in the area. The ground personnel at Batchelor heard a twin engined transport fly southwards over the airfield. The burnt out wreckage of the Lockheed C-40 was found 2 months later by Constable Joe Doyle and his aboriginal trackers near Burrundie station, 60 miles southeast of Adelaide River.

The two bodies of the RAAF crew were handed over to Australian officials and the 10 bodies of the American personnel were recovered on 28 June 1942. They were:-

Cpl. Bill Bedford
Cpl. Tony Gattamelata
PFC Robert George
PFC Nick Hinch
PFC Ray Love
PFC John Faris
PFC Walt Feret
PFC Dick Schmidt
PFC Bulford Wilard
PFC Wyatt Wiley

They were interred at the American cemetery at Adelaide River. Their loss had a large impact on the rest of the 49th Fighter Group.

Based on a search of the Australian War Memorial's Roll of Honour database it would appear that the two RAAF crew were as follows:-

Flight Lieutenant Duncan Gordon Cameron (RAAF Reserve - Civil Aircrew)
Flying Officer William Thomas Gray (RAAF Reserve - Civil Aircrew)


Initials: D G
Nationality: Australian
Rank: Flight Lieutenant
Regiment: Royal Australian Air Force
Age: 39
Date of Death: 21/04/1942
Service No: 287418
Additional information: Son of Duncan and Catherine Cameron; husband of Rita Mary Cameron, of Newtown, Victoria.
Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead
Grave/Memorial Reference: Q.A.6.




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This page first produced 2 June 2000

This page last updated 15 October 2006