TWO B-26 MARAUDERS PRANG
ONE HITTING A B-25 MITCHELL
ON 25 MARCH 1942
The following information is from Roger Mark's excellent book called "Queensland Airfields WW2 - 50 Years On"
Greg MacGregor, who was a Fitter/Armourer posted to 23 Squadron direct from Armament School, Point Cook reported in his diary:-
23 Mar 1942
"Busy day - put guns back in P-40, 4 Martin B-26 Marauders (of 22nd Bomb Group) arrived and a nice looking aircraft they are.
24 Mar 1942
Busy day on P-40s
25 March 1942
"Very Busy - rained heavily, 4 - B-26s (of 22nd Bomb Group) arrived over Archerfield and two tried to land on the wet grass field. The first one is a write off, landed then braked and skidded on wet grass, hit the tail of a DC3 and then went through the fence across the road and fence and ended up with nose inside of a house. The second B-26 also skidded on wet grass and smashed into a B-25 Mitchell. Fortunately no fires. Then a B-25 Mitchell stalled and pranged on take-off - interesting day."
The Red Raiders web site indicates that B-26 Marauder #401-1389 crashed after landing at Archerfield. "After skidding across wet grass, the Marauder clipped the tail of a DC3, took out a fence, crossed the road, and wiped out another fence before sticking her nose through a kitchen. Pilot: Lt. William A. Garnett."
Photo from Rod Jackson
B-26 Marauder #40-1389 with its nose
protruding into a house of
Servanus and Hendrika Otterspoor. The other house
to the right behind the barber shop on the corner belonged to Bill and Jeanneta Freney. Bill ran the barber shop.
Walter (Maiersperger) well remembered being surprised by the short grass field at Archerfield but the CO of the 33 Squadron was the only one to over shoot. In his 1992 biographical note on Maiersperger, titled "The Americans arrive at Archerfield", Ted Wixted added:-
'....33 Sqn CO 1st Lt. (William A) Garnett (and) Co-pilot Larsen... continued through the fence and across the (Beatty) road to make the famed intrusion into the local barber shop.'
Trevan Jackson, a welder with AOA/ANA, described the result in his unpublished memoirs -
'...A skidding Marauder shot through the fence across Beatty Road, spun around and put the nose through Butch Freeny's (actually spelt Freney) kitchen and crushed his water tank with a wing leading edge....'
Freney's barber shop was on the corner of Beatty and Boundary Roads with the residence located behind the shop. After this incident and another involving a Lockheed Ventura with Gough Whitlam, later Prime Minister of Australia, in its crew, and 'several trailing aerial strikes on the roof', Trevan told me that the house was relocated!
Daphne Kiers told me back in September 2003 that the house with the plane in the side of it belonged to her grandparents, Servanus and Hendrika Otterspoor. The Otterspoor family came to Australia from Holland. The house on the corner was where their youngest daughter Jeanneta Freney and her husband, Bill Freney, lived and had their barber shop. Originally it was a corner store and also sold petrol. Daphne remembers the shop from the 1930's. Daphne remember very clearly going there when her father, Arnold (Harry) Otterspoor, the eldest son of the family, visited her grandparents.
Approximately three or four years prior to September 2003, the house belonging to her grandparents, was either taken away or demolished. It had been surrounded by industrial buildings for many years. Daphne's aunt, Jeannetta, was still alive in September 2003 and was due to be 90 years old in November 2003 and her family were planning a party for her at the Archerfield aerodrome.
16 year old Daphne Otterspoor took a photograph of the B-26 Marauder that had crashed into her grandparents bathroom with her camera. Daphne told me that the fellow who was on guard duty was only too pleased to have a 16 year old young girl to talk with him!!
Photo showing location of
barber shop and house and the house
belonging to Servanus and Hendrika Otterspoor into which the B-26 crashed.
Peter Freney, nephew of the barber Bill Freney, was 7 years old at the time of the crash. Peter lived on Beatty Road (now Bowhill Road) approximately one mile south of his uncle's house which was located behind the barber shop on the corner.
Peter's parents took him to see the crashed aircraft and he can still see it clearly in his memory. Peter was brought up in the area and held a special pass (even as a child) which allowed him to walk that part of Beatty Road which passed through the Archerfield airbase.
Peter's uncle Bill Freney, the barber, cut his hair many times at Bill's house located behind the shop. Peter also told me about the C-47 Dakota, which crashed on 27 March 1943 after hitting a tree on their land. It crashed into one of their paddocks killing all 23 persons on board.
This old photo of Archerfield in early 1931
shows the corner Beatty
Road and Boundary Road at the top left hand side of the picture.
This where the barber shop would have been located during the war.
NOTE:- Cy Klimesh told me on 13 June 1999 that he believed that the B-26 that did not stop due to wet grass on 25 March, was 33rd Squadron's #40-1389.
E-mails from Peter Freney
The Forgotten Fifth
A Classic Photographic Chronology of the
Fifth Air Force in Action in the Pacific in WW2
by Michael Claringbould
The book "The Forgotten Fifth" relates that 2nd Lt. Barry Burnsides was the pilot of the aircraft that hit the house. International relations were mended when the lady of the house invited Barry in for a cup of tea.
I'd like to thank Rod Jackson for his assistance with this home page.
I'd like to thank Daphne Kiers (nee Otterspoor) and Peter Freney for their assistance with this home page.
Can anyone help me with more information on this crash?
"Australia @ War" WWII Research Products
© Peter Dunn 2015
This page first produced 6 December 1998
This page last updated 02 February 2020