CRASH OF A B-25D MITCHELL
6 MILES WEST OF CAPE PALLARENDA
AT TOWNSVILLE, QLD
ON 2 NOVEMBER 1942

hline.gif (2424 bytes)

 

USAAC B-25D Mitchell bomber, #41-29702 "Satan's Pet", of the 71st Bomb Squadron of the 38th Bombardment Group crashed 6 miles west of Cape Pallarenda at Townsville, QLD on 2 November 1942 during a training flight.

Royal Australian Navy ship HMAS Katoomba received orders at 0940 hours "to investigate plane crash west of C. Pallarenda. Proceeded north along Magnetic Is., and contacted two Air Force launches, South-west of Bay Rock. The plane (a B.25) completely destroyed, was found partly submerged on beach about six miles west of C. Pallarenda. Returned to A/S Patrol anchorage, anchoring at 1505."

A Marine Section Crash Boat from 41 Squadron recovered five bodies in five feet of water from the crash area.

I now have access to a record of the burials of US Servicemen at the Townsville US Cemetery. The following US Servicemen of the 71st Bomb Squadron of the 38th Bomb Group were buried in the Townsville US Cemetery on 11 November 1942 after being killed in a "Plane Crash". Were they involved in the crash of the above B-25D Mitchell on 2 November 1942? Yes they were. See update below the table.

McAllister, Joseph O. (0-724637)
Evans, Donald (Corp.) (18069309)
Green, Walter (0-659970)

1st Lt. George A. Gillespie, a family friend of the McAllister family visited Major R. H. "Bob" McCutcheon the commander of the 71st Bomb Squadron of the 38th Bomb Group. George was a friend of Major McCutcheon. George was able to tell the family via a V-Mail (see picture below) that the accident took place about five minutes after it took off for a routine practice mission. The B-25 caught fire and the pilot attempted to make a landing over water. Whilst it was about 200 yards off the shore it exploded blowing the aircraft to bits with all crew being killed.

1st Lt. Gillespie advised that the crew members who were killed were as follows:-

2nd Lt. Walter T. Green, Jr. (0-659970) of Cooleemee, North Carolina - pilot
Joseph O. "Owen" McAllister (0-724637) - acting Co-pilot
S/Sgt Chas Evans (7022202) of Ambridge, Penn.
Corporal Donald P. Evans (18069309), of Windsor Colorado
Corporal John A. Halmekangas (17025693), of Virginia, Minnesota

They were embalmed and buried the Townsville US Cemetery. They were all later exhumed and reburied at the US Military Cemetery at Ipswich west of Brisbane in south east Queensland. In 1947 they were exhumed again and transported by the ship USAT Groucher Victory to Guadalcanal where they were transferred to the USAT Cardinal O'Connell which then sailed to Hawaii, where they were either buried or transported to a location where the families requested their loved ones to be buried.

 

V-Mail to Mr and Mrs Jos F. McAllister from 1st Lt. George A.
Gillespie (0-314794) of the 405th Signal Company Aviation.

 

The Poudre Valley, Windsor, Colorado
Thursday, January 6, 1944

Evans Family Learns
    Facts of Son's Death
        More Than Years Later

Mr. and Mrs. Perry Evans of Denver went to Castle Rock last Sunday where they had a three-hour visit with Mason Daniels, a young man who was with their son, Donald Evans, in Australia at the time of his death in November 1942.

Thru Daniels the Evans family learned for the first time the particulars of the death of their son in the service of his country. Evans had been on one of three planes on routine duty on the morning of Nov. 2, 1942. About 15 or 20 minutes after the take-off, his plane suddenly exploded and crashed in about three feet of water. This was followed by another explosion. All five boys were killed, but their bodies were recovered and laid to rest in a well-kept cemetery ay Townsville, Australia. Daniels was one of the rescue crew who recovered the bodies from the ocean and helped to bury them.

The Evans' learned also that their son had made six trips over enemy territory without any casualties before meeting his tragic death on that fatal morning.

Donald Evans was the first to be listed as a gold star name on Windsor's service list.

 

Garrett Middlebrook, in his book "Air Combat at 20 Feet" describes this crash in Chapter 4 on page 39. Middlebrook suggested that the cause of this crash was that B-25 Mitchells had a flaw that would allow gas vapors to accumulate into the cockpit and that they would occasionally explode.

 

REFERENCES

38th Bomb Group Association

US Cemetery Townsville burial records

"Diary of WWII North Queensland" by Peter Nielsen

Report of Proceedings HMAS Katoomba, 1 - 30 November 1942

Operations Record Book 41 Squadron RAAF

Garrett Middlebrook "Air Combat at 20 Feet" (published by Authorhouse.com)

 

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I would like to thank Ben Allen for his assistance with this web page. Ben is the grandson of Joseph D. McAllister's brother.

I'd also like to thank Anders Hench for his assistance with this web page.

 

Can anyone help me with more information on this crash?

 

"Australia @ War" WWII Research Products

I need your help

Copyright

 Peter Dunn 2015

Disclaimer

Please e-mail me
any information or photographs


"Australia @ War"
8GB USB Memory Stick

This page first produced 4 December 2001

This page last updated 03 April 2021