CRASH OF A WARHAWK
10 MILES EAST OF LIVINGSTONE AIRFIELD, NT
ON  5 JUNE 1942

 

On 5 June 1942, 2nd Lt. Edward "Big John" MacCogue Miller of the 8th Pursuit Squadron of the 49th Fighter Group was killed when his Warhawk #41-24816 crashed 10 miles east of Livingstone airfield (29 miles south of Darwin) in the Northern Territory. He was taking part in a high altitude flight to test some new oxygen equipment. It is presumed that the oxygen equipment failed and he blacked out. His Warhawk slammed into the ground from 10,000 feet and exploded on impact. Little was recognisable in the crater left by the impact.

Miller's body was torn apart by the impact and explosion. "Big John" Miller's close friend Lt William C. Herbert and Crew Chief Bob Baden  went to the crash site. Lt. Herbert was later hospitalised for depression over his friend's tragic death and was eventually evacuated back to the States.

Miller's remains were initially buried in the Adelaide River American cemetery. His remains were later returned to the USA where he is now buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia in Section 12, Site 5889.

The remains of this aircraft was later salvaged by the 43rd Materiel Squadron based at Adelaide River.

 


Photo:- Photo Album 1st Lt. Joseph H. King

Honour Roll for 49th Pursuit Group to 22 June 1942

 

2nd Lt. Edward "Big John" MacCogue Miller was awarded the Silver Star and the Oak Leaf Cluster, both posthumously:-

 

 

APO 923
12 October

GENERAL ORDERS)
                              :
NUMBER            20)

Section        

Awards of the Oak Leaf Cluster (Posthumous .............                              IV

 

Under the provisions of Army Regulations 600-45, War Department, August 8, 1932, in addition to the Silver Star awarded (posthumously) to Second Lieutenant EDWARD M. MILLER as published on page 13,  General Orders No. 11, Headquarters, Fifth Air Force, dated September 30, 1942, a bronze Oak Leaf Cluster is awarded (posthumously) to him.

The citation is as follows:-

EDWARD M. MILLER, (O428517), Second Lieutenant, *** Air Corps, United States Army. For gallantry in action over Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia, on April 25, 1942. This officer was pilot of a P-40 type aircraft which participated in a flight to intercept Japanese planes that were attacking Darwin. Lieutenant Miller had previously shot down one heavy bomber during the day, and in this second encounter succeeded in causing another bomber to crash in flames. His courage and determination are in keeping with the finest traditions of the United States Army Air Corps. Next of kin: Mrs. Frances M. Miller (wide, 28 Larchwood Avenue, Upper Darby, Pennsylvania.

 

NOTE:- "Protect & Avenge" shows the date at 6 June 1942. Gordon Birkett advised that the date was 4 June 1942. "Darwin's Air War 1942 - 1945" shows the date as 5 June 1942. The 49th Pursuit Group Honour Roll (see above) confirms the date as 5 June 1942.

 

REFERENCE

"Protect & Avenge"
"The 49th Fighter Group in World War II"

By S.W. Ferguson & William K. Pascalis
A Schiffer Military History Book

"Darwin's Air War 1942 - 1945"
By Bob Alford

 

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I'd like to thank Ann Wentzel, Gordon Birkett and Daniel Leahy for their assistance with this home page.

 

Can anyone help me with more information on this crash?

 

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 Peter Dunn 2015

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This page first produced 15 July 2000

This page last updated 11 February 2022