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Justin Taylan 2006
|Pilot Lt. Norman R. Crosson (rescued
December 15, 1942)
Co-Pilot Lt. J. Dyer (KIA February 9, 1943)
Crew Lt. Wilson (rescued December 15, 1942)
Crew Lt McKeon (KIA December 3, 1942)
Crew Lt Hilton (KIA December 3, 1942)
Crew Cpl Gurdas (KIA December 3, 1942)
Crew Lt. Workman (KIA December 3, 1942)
Crew Lt. Speltz (KIA February 24, 1943
Crew Lt. Grimes (KIA approx December 25, 1942)
Ball Turret TSgt Grady S. Gaston (rescued March 23, 1943)
Crashed December 3, 1942
Built by Consolidated at San Diego. Delivered to the U. S. Army. Ferried overseas via Hawaii to Australia.
The B-24 flew onward without any pilot before impacting onto its belly near Moonlight Creek. Although all of the crew were ordered to bail out, it is believed McKeon, Hilton and Gurdas were working to free Workman's parachute which became caught in the door frame and all died when the bomber impacted the ground.
Fates of the Crew
Only Crosson and Wilson managed to reach the bomber as planned and walked eastward for twelve days until spotted by a rancher and Aboriginal walking across Escott Station, roughly 15km west of Burketown on December 15, 1942. During their ordeal, Crosson's weight dropped from 205 lbs to 155 lbs while wandering the outback. Both were hospitalized and later returned to duty.
Grimes, Dyer, Speltic and Gaston landed near each other and headed to the west, attempting to walk across the outback to safety. Grimes reached Robinson River around December 25, 1942 but was swept into the ocean and drown. His body was found on the beach a few days later. Speltz died of exposure on February 24, 1943.
Gaston reached a paper bark hut on Seven Emu Station on March 23, 1943. He had gray hair and only weighed about 80 lbs from his ordeal in the outback. He returned to the United States and worked for the US Postal Service then retired in Alabama until he died in 1998.
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