24 MARCH 1944
CRASH OF A B-17 FLYING FORTRESS
AT HORN ISLAND
B-17E Flying Fortress
B-17E Flying Fortress, # 41-2497, nicknamed "Tojo's Nightmare", crashed during its final approach to the Horn Island airfield on 24 March 1944. The aircraft was assigned to the 5th Air Force Advance Echelon.
"Tojo's Nightmare" was originally in the 19th Bomb Group and was then given to 43rd Bomb Group.
|Compton, William B.||Captain||0-124916|
|Donovan, E. G.||1st. Lt||0-735542|
|Mauske, Paul M.||1st.Lt||0-734574|
|Matthews, J.C. (dec)||S/Sgt||13043675|
|Simmons, Julian T. (dec)||Cpl||34058427|
|?scudaro, Edward ?||2nd. Lt||0-735166|
|Steinke, Dolbert C.||T/Sgt||37114233|
|Krieg, Charles R.||S/Sgt||17052531|
|Clark, Cecil H.||T/Sgt||356?0742|
|Maziarz, John L.||S/Sgt||11096399|
|Colorusso, James T.||PFC||11023706|
Andrew McLean is assisting a family friend whose father, Roy Brown, was involved in the ground rescue of the crew and would like to make contact with any of the survivors of the incident. Andrew has a copy of the accident report including all crew members and a statement from the pilot William B. Compton.
LAC Doug "Blue" Sewell of 12 RSU RAAF assisted with the rescue of the American crew following this crash. When the B-17 hit the water, the fuel tanks burst spreading fuel everywhere. "Blue" Sewell, the unit's electrician, had to disconnect the B-17's batteries because of the risk of an explosion. There was a rising tide and the spilt fuel was covering them very quickly. Another member of 12 RSU stripped off his shorts which "Blue" used to cover the battery terminals to prevent any sparking.
As 12 RSU was a repair and salvage unit, the captain of the aircraft signed it off to 12 RSU. It was loaded with many different articles, but their main concern was saving the cases of different types of grog that was being carried for the American unit's home base. The alcohol was quickly recovered and stored in various places at their camp. The men of 12 RSU had a joint celebration with several of the recovered American crew that night and they all felt worse for wear the next morning.
I'd like to thank Andrew H. McLean <email@example.com> and Doug "Blue" Sewell (Kevin Douglas Sewell 61715) for their assistance with this home page.
Can anyone help me with more information on this crash?
© Peter Dunn 2015
This page first produced 1 March 1999
This page last updated 10 September 2018