ON 8 APRIL 1944

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Douglas C-47A-50-DL, #42-24396, of 56th Troop Carrier Squadron, 375th Troop Carrier Group, piloted by Charles S. Kelley ditched in 3 to 4 feet of water 100 yards from the shore in Young Bay, Magnetic Island off Townsville on 8 April 1944 after running low on fuel. RAAF Crash Boat 08-12 of 41 Squadron RAAF picked up 18 personnel from the water.


Douglas C-47A-50-DL, #42-24396 in Young Bay, Magnetic Island


Douglas C-47A-50-DL, #42-24396 being floated back to Townsville


Douglas C-47A-50-DL, #42-24396 being floated back to Townsville


RAAF Crash Boat 08-12 has an amazing record during WWII. It was delivered to Lucinda on 22 November 1942 on board the SS Rona. Crash Boat 08-12 was a two screw vessel with two Chrysler Royal engines, each developing 148 horse power at 3,000 revs per minute. It was 37 feet 6 inches long with a beam of 10 feet and draught of 2 feet 9 inches.

Crash Boat 08-12 and its men saved over 500 lives during WWII. It attended 59 aircraft crashes in its operational area between Hinchinbrook Island and Bowen. It also made numerous trips to islands around Townsville mainly Magnetic Island and Palm Islands to convey people suffering from illness to the mainland. It also figured in towing and salvage work.

28 bodies were recovered by Crash Boat 08-12 from a C-47 Dakota aircraft crash in Cleveland Bay on 7 August 1943. It also rescued 6 persons and recovered 13 bodies from a Catalina crash in Cleveland Bay on 7 September 1943. Crash Boat 08-12 also attended the crash of a Lockheed Hudson off Lucinda Point.


RAAF Crash Boat 08-12 moored in Ross Creek, Townsville


RAAF Crash Boat (Marine Launch) 08-12 from 41 Squadron RAAF travelled from Townsville and picked up Captain Richard Alan Sansing and his passenger from the "Manlen". They had been rescued by the "Manlen" after ditching their CW-22B Curtiss Falcon, Serial No. 3771, into the sea of Geoffrey Bay on Magnetic Island on 5 December 1943.

Crash Boat 08-12 made an interesting discovery on 2 October 1945 when it found a crashed Lockheed Hudson which may have crashed around the time of the Battle of the Coral Sea in May 1942. Does anyone know which aircraft this was?

It was finally handed over to the RAN for disposal on 29 August 1946 for disposal. Crash Boat 08-12 was sold in 1946 to Mr H. E. Morley of Macknade for use as a fishing boat. Does anyone know if it still exists?


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 12 August 2016

This page last updated 02 February 2020