ON 23 JULY 1944

hline.gif (2424 bytes)


US Navy R4D-5 Skytrain (C-47), Bureau NO. 39090, assigned to Commander Aircraft, Seventh Fleet, and piloted by Lt. J.D. Gross was lost between Cairns, in north Queensland, Australia and Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea on 23 July 1944. When last heard from it's position was 11 degrees south, 147 degrees east. 17 US Navy personnel were lost presumed dead in this event.

After a thorough search of the adjacent land and sea areas for five days without success, on 29 August 1944, a board of investigation was ordered to convene at US Naval Base, Manus Island.

The following are 7 of the 17 killed in this tragic accident.

Lieutenant. Jg John Daniel Gross
Chief Petty Officer William Harvey Eldridge
Chief Petty Officer Lee Roy Morris
Chief Petty Officer Leroy Robert Hamilton
Seaman Robert Edgar Keil
Ensign Maurice Dale Linder
1st Class Petty OfficerDale Evans Drake

This aircraft had been delivered to Brisbane from the United States on 10 November 1943.


UPDATE:- This aircraft was apparently eventually located in 1970. It had struck high ground in the Owen Stanley Range about 30 kms west of Kokoda.



Brief of Daily Operations, United States Fleet Aircraft, Seventh Fleet

Aviation Safety Network

Aviation Archaeological Investigation & Research


Can anyone help me with more information on this crash?


"Australia @ War" WWII Research Products

I need your help


 Peter Dunn 2015


Please e-mail me
any information or photographs

"Australia @ War"
8GB USB Memory Stick

This page first produced 24 December 2012

This page last updated 05 March 2020