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On 9 February 1945, a Netherlands East Indies Air Force (NEI-AF) B-25J Mitchell N5-217 (#43-27925), was severely damaged in a belly landing at 4 RSU at Pell Airfield which is located about 6.5 miles north of Adelaide River. The aircraft was dismantled on 14 May 1945.

No. 4 Repair and Salvage Unit RAAF at Pell Airfield had the following diary entry in its Unit History Sheets as follows:-


At 1230 hours on 9 Feb. 45, Mitchell aircraft N5-217 landed on Pell Strip, owing to the inability to lower the undercarriage.

The pilot made an excellent landing, but when two thirds along the strip the aircraft collapsed on one wheel and slight damage was caused, no personnel sustained any injuries.


A few exciting moments were experienced when a Netherlands East Indies Pilot landed a B25 with his undercarriage partially down. The pilot made a splendid approach and a remarkably good landing, with only slight damage to the aircraft and no injuries of any description to the crew.


B-25J Mitchell N5-217 (#43-27925)

NOTE:- The book " Nederlandse Mitchells" incorrectly shows the date as 10 February 1945 (not 9 Feb 45) and the location as Fall Field (not Pell Field). 



Subject:    Aircraft crashes Northern Territory
Date:             Sun, 26 Nov 2000 16:27:26 +1100
From:           Brian Coleman <>

Greetings Peter,

It's me again. Thought you may be interested in the following.

    >From my diary, 18 Squadron (NEI) Crashes during my time with the Squadron.

2-1-1945 B-25 N5-211 crashed on take off, Batchelor. Total write off.

I spent from 30-12-1944 to 7-1-1945 tracing noises in the radio equipment of this aircraft, finally finding a loose connection which cured the problem, then it crashed the next day. I don 't have any casualties listed.

27-1-1945 A Ventura (Number and type unknown) crashed at approx 5am at the end of Gould Strip. No survivors.

9-2-1945 N5-217 crash landed at RSU. Wheels failed to lower, flew around to use up fuel before belly landing at RSU. (Presumably at Gorrie, my diary record is not specific on this point).

After the crash of 211, I then had to help with salvaging equipment for use as spares. I have a memento of this in the form of a scar on my back, which I received climbing through the broken perspex of the waist gunners window.

Also if it is any help I have recorded the loss of N5-222 on 15-9-1945 due to AA fire during a raid. "Failed to return"

I also remember a fire which destroyed a B-25 in its revetment, at Batchelor. It shows how time plays with our memories. I seemed to remember that it was N5-167 which burnt, and that it was replaced by N5-218 (J model), however on reading my diary, I find that 218 arrived on the Squadron into my Flight (4 Flight) on 21-7-1944 only 8 days after I arrived on the Squadron, and that N5-170 caught fire on 18-8-1944. and according to my diary not much damage was done. Can't find any other reference to a fire, so this must have been the one, and yet I know that we were all evacuated from the area because there were primed 500 lb bombs under the bomb bay and that they exploded with the heat, sending large pieces of casing into the bush. We gathered in a revetment on the other side of the taxy way to watch, much to the concern of the Engineering Officer who wanted us to disappear from the site altogether. I do remember that it was a marvellous fireworks display.

Incidentally, N5-167 was still doing operations in December of 1944, and N5-218 was replaced with N5-242 (J model) on11-1-1945.


Brian Coleman



I'd like to thank Ed Ragas, Editor of Bulletin Air War 1939-1945 for his assistance with this home page.

I'd like to thank Ken Hodge and Doug Tilley for their assistance with this web page.



" Nederlandse Mitchells ( Dutch Mitchells) "
by Mr. G. Tonrij


Can anyone help me with more information on this crash?


"Australia @ War" Research Products

I need your help


 Peter Dunn 2015


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This page first produced 14 January 2000

This page last updated 20 July 2018