ON 14 JULY 1942

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USAAF B-17-E Flying Fortress, #41-2636, of the 19th Bombardment Group, crashed near Horn Island on 14 July 1942 at about 2.34am after taking off from Horn Island in heavy rain on a bombing mission to Lae, in New Guinea. The pilot was Lt. Curtis J. "Red Dog" Holdridge (or Holdredge). I was contacted by a Rusty Joyce in 2010 who said that his father Thomas B. Joyce was a crew member in this crash.

#41-2636 and five other B-17s were to take part in a mission to Lae in New Guinea. When the first three B-17s took off at approximately 2:30am it was raining with a high wind blowing across the island. When Holdridge attempted to lift his B-17 over the mangroves at the end of the airfield, it dropped suddenly into the ocean approximately 300 to 400 metres from the shoreline. It ended up on a coral outcrop after ripping off its right wing creating a large hole in the fuselage.

I am not sure if anyone was killed in this accident. I currently have Sgt. Houston A. Rice, 2nd Lt. Edward R. Budz, navigator; and S/Sgt. James E. Houchins, bombardier dying in a second B-17 which crashed at around the same time on 14 July 1942.

B-17E Flying Fortress #41-2636 had originally been delivered to Lowry Field on 5 March 1942. It was initially assigned to the 93rd Bomb Squadron of the 19th Bomb Group in Hawaii on 1 April 1942.


Can anyone advise whether anyone was
killed in this crash and the names of the crew?



I'd like to thank Michael, Musumeci, Ross McNeill, Rusty Joyce and Paul McMillan for their assistance with this home page.



" Forty of the Fifth"
by Michael Claringbould

"Diary of WWII - North Queensland"
Complied by Peter Nielsen

"Horn Island - In Their Steps 1939-45"
by Vanessa Seekee

"Fortress Against the Sun - The B-17 Flying Fortress in the Pacific"
by Gene Eric Salecker


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 28 February 1999

This page last updated 10 September 2018