ON 17 JULY 1943


USAAF A-20 Havoc, #42-33147 crashed near the intersection of the Gatton and Esk Highways approximately five kilometres north of the end of the Amberley Airfield runway during a flight between Amberley airfield and Eagle Farm airfield in Queensland on 17 July 1943. The A-20 Havoc belonged to the 81st Air Depot Group based at Eagle Farm airfield in Brisbane. The official crash report described the location as being "near the intersection of Gatton and Esk Highways".

Two crew members were killed in the crash and a third died later from his injuries as follows:-

Major Donald A. Simpson (0-393319) (died two days later on 19 July)
Captain Paul C. May (0-412180)
Lt. James J. Handley (0-417955)

Lt. Luther Wallace is believed to be one of the survivors of this tragic crash.

Major Simpson, Lt Handley and Captain William O. Farrior had earlier taken off from Eagle Farm airfield to deliver three P-38 Lightnings to Amberley airfield. Luckily for Captain Farrior his P-38 had mechanical problems so he returned to Eagle Farm airfield for repairs. Captain May, the pilot of the A-20 Havoc, then picked up Simpson and Handley to take them back to Eagle Farm airfield in the A-20 Havoc.




Captain Paul May had been asked before his death to test fly a rebuilt "Hamp" Japanese fighter aircraft at Eagle Farm airfield. Captain May declined to fly the "Hamp" as he was concerned with its faulty brakes. The "Hamp" was in fact a "Zeke" or "Zero", a Mitsubishi A6M3 Type 32 "Zeke".  This version had clipped wings and it was initially thought it was a totally new aircraft which is the reason it was initially given the codename "Hamp". The "Hamp" had been rebuilt by the Allied Technical Air Intelligence Unit (ATAIU) from the wrecks of 5 aircraft recovered at Buna.


"81st Air Depot Group 1943 - 1944" book

Mike Stowe (Accident-Report.Com)

AAIR Aviation Archaeological Investigation & Research



 I'd like to thank Craig Fuller, Noel Tunny, Gordon Birkett, Roger Marks, Stephen Szczurek and Mike Stowe for their assistance with this home page.


Can anyone help me with more information on this crash?


I need your help


 Peter Dunn 2015


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This page first produced 31 October 2002

This page last updated 30 August 2015