CRASH OF A GLIDER
AT SARINA NEAR MACKAY, QLD
ON 19 AUGUST 1943

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On 19 August 1943 the Volunteer Air Observer Corps advised the Controller at 3 Fighter Sector Headquarters in Townsville that a USAAF glider being towed by a DC-3 had broken loose and had crashed at Sarina near Mackay in north Queensland. Two US Service personnel were killed and one was injured. One Officer was able to parachute to safety. The glider was being towed from Brisbane and at an altitude of about 4,000 feet when its tail broke away. 

A search of the Ipswich US Cemetery records show there were only two people buried there who had died on 19 August 1943 as follows:-

Private Chester W. Lee (37239079) - Glider mechanic, Hqs & Hqs Squadron, 54th Troop Carrier Wing, 5th Air Force
USMM Anastacio B. Payan (Z-40641)

It was originally assumed that they were the two men killed in this glider crash. Both men had originally been buried in the Townsville US Cemetery but were later disinterred and moved to the Ipswich US Cemetery where constant care of the grave was assured. Jim Moffett was able to obtain records on the death of Anastacio B. Payan which proved that he was not the other person who died in this glider crash.

Anastacio B. Payan was actually killed when he accidentally fell out of a US military truck that he was riding in the back of in Townsville and landed on his head and died from a fractured skull. He did not die on 19 August 1943 which is the date of the glider crash. He died on 18 September 1943, almost one month later than the glider crash. He died in the General Hospital, Townsville, and was the Chief Cook on the ship SS Francis G. Newlands (a Liberty ship commissioned July 1943, scrapped in New Orleans in 1965) operated by the Waterman Steamship Agency, Ltd., New York, New York. It appears he was first buried in the USAF Cemetery in Townsville, Grave No. 331 and then moved to the Ipswich US Cemetery, on 14 July 1945.

So who was the second person who died in this glider crash?

Surgeon Major Sidney J. Siegel reported that Private Chester W. Lee had his left arm amputated and a compound fracture of his right arm and subsequently died at Sarina from surgical shock.

Another glider made a forced landing between Cape Upstart and Abbott Bay on the same day.

 

REFERENCES

"Over and Out - Sam's Story"
from the diary of Capt Samuel Cutler 0-208232

 

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I'd like to thank Jim Moffett, Nev Allan and Gordon Birkett for their assistance with this web 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 30 August 2009

This page last updated 11 March 2018