S/SGT GEORGE L. SPANGLE
FELL FROM A B-25 MITCHELL
APPROX. 35 MILES SW OF CHARTERS TOWERS, QLD
ON 28 SEPTEMBER 1943
On 28 September 1943, Radio Operator S/Sgt George L. Spangle (20648171) fell out of the bomb bay of a B-25D-1 Mitchell Bomber of the 8th Bomb Squadron, of the 3rd Bomb Group, 5th Air Force over Wambianna Station at a location approximately 35 miles SW of Charters Towers. It is believed that the B-25 Mitchell may have been piloted by W. D. Baker with Clarence L. Johnson as a gunner for the flight. The 3rd Bomb Group was based at Charters Towers.
Apparently S/Sgt Spangle was at his crew position, possibly sitting on parachutes, when the aircraft hit an air pocket, and the plywood that covered an opening in the floor of the aircraft broke and he fell out of the aircraft. The droppable fuel tank was normally located in the radio operator's compartment where the lower gun turret was originally located.
Although an extensive search was conducted at the time, his remains were not found for some years until a stockman noticed some parachutes on the large property in September 1945. On 3 October 1945, some Americans arrived to search for possible remains for S/Sgt George L. Spangle in the area where the parachutes were found. After a short time one of the stockmen assisting with the search, spotted a bullock chewing on a bone with a shoe attached about 80 yards east of the parachutes on the west bank of Brigalow Creek. Some other human bones were also found but no dog tags were found.
Wambiana lagoon which is the landmark that those on board the B-25 Mitchell remembered at the time that S/Sgt Spangle fell from the aircraft.
29th / 30th September 1943 - The American soldiers with their jeeps in front of the Wambiana house as they were searching for the American airman. Claire Lyons (John's mother) had just been taken for a run in the jeep. Frank Carrington (local grazier from Oakvale Station in the dark shirt) is in the other jeep and assisting with the search.
29 September 1943 - The American soldiers and a few locals before going to look for the American airman who fell out of the bomb bay of the plane.
Eric Landsberg, Roy French, Mick Perks and Arthur Bluff, an aborigine were the locals on horseback as well as Lieutenant Dubell and seven of his men.
3 October 1945 - The US ambulance at Wambiana collecting the limited remains and limited clothing and a boot of American Airman who fell from the B-25 Mitchell on 28 September 1943.
Left to Right:- Julia & Myles Lyons (John Lyons's grandparents), Frances Lyons (2yrs), Myles Lyons (4yrs) (John's brother and sister). Frank Carrington from a nearby property, a US soldier, Claire Lyons holding baby John (John's mother), John Lyons (John's father), US soldier kneeling
3 October 1945 - US ambulance at Wambiana collecting remains.
Left to right:- Julia Lyons, Myles Lyons and Frank Carrington from Oakvale Station
S/Sgt George Spangle is listed in the Reapers Harvest as KIA and the Guild Diary as Killed other than Combat.
George L. Spangle was buried at the Ipswich US Cemetery on 19 October 1945. The only other person buried at Ipswich on that same day was Corporal Albert L. Godwin who had died on 15 October 1945.
Wambiana Station is a property on the Campaspie River about 60 km from Charters Towers owned and operated by John and Rhonda Lyons. The Lyons family and their ancestors have been on the station since 1912.
The following are extracts from the Diary maintained at Wambiana Station:-
WAMBIANA 1943 DIARY
28 September 1943
29 September 1943
American search party arrived at lagoon about lunch time under Lieutenant Dubell. Eric Landsberg and three Americans rode down from Oakvale along river. Eric camped here the night.
30 September 1943
Carrington (Frank) came down in jeep. Self also in a jeep and a third one also went scouting along road to Bendee. Six men walked all through Bendee scrub. Then drove one mile east, walked fan like to back of lagoon and then back again to jeep.
1 October 1943
3 October 1943
WAMBIANA 1945 DIARY
21 September 1945
2 October 1945
3 October 1945
They were found about 80 yards east of parachutes but still on west bank of Brigalow Creek.
Identity disc or "dog tag" was not discovered.
Americans returned to town.
I'd like to thank John and Ronda Lyons, the owners of Wambiana Station for their assistance with this web page.
I'd also like to thank, Bill Archer, Edward Rogers and Bill Swain for their assistance with this web page.
Can anyone help me with more information?
"Australia @ War" Research Products
© Peter Dunn 2015
This page first produced 31 May 2014
This page last updated 06 September 2018