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  B-25D-30 Mitchell Serial Number 43-3488  
5th AF
5th Bomber Command

Pilot  1st Lieutenant Ross A. Sieh, O-874047 15th Weather Squadron (MIA / KIA, BNR) Edmond, OK
Passenger  WO John W. Newton, Jr., W2107177 15th Weather Squadron (MIA / KIA, BNR) Greenville, SC
Passenger  Captain John W. Duerst, O-428807 11th Sqn, 8th Air Service (MIA / KIA, BR) OR
Passenger  SSgt Edward L. Kryk, 13012280 11th Sqn, 8th Air Service (MIA / KIA, BR) PA
Passenger  Flora May Logan (MIA, KIA)
Wooloowin, QLD
Crashed  September 30, 1944
MACR  none

Crew History
Pilot, 2nd Lieutenant Ross A. Sieh was part of the 15th Weather Squadron, a special reconnaissance unit that was formed in March 1944 to carry out comprehensive weather reconnaissance flights in B-25 Mitchells. Brigadier General Jarred V. Crabb, Commander of the Fifth Bomber Command sought volunteer crews to fly weather missions to remote Japanese held areas of New Guinea. Pilots proficient in instrument flying were encouraged to apply and were home earlier than combat crews as a reward for the dangers incurred.

Passenger Australian Miss Flora May Logan, 21, of Felix Street Wooloowin. Logan left her former employment at F. Tritton Pty. Ltd of George Street, to undertake secretarial work for the American Army Authorities. She was employed as a stenographer by the U. S. Air Operational section.

Aircraft History
Built by North American. Constructors Number 100-23814. Delivered to the U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as B-25D-30 Mitchell serial number 43-3488. Ferried via Hickam Field then across the Pacific to the South West Pacific Area (SWPA).

Wartime History
Assigned to the 5th Air Force, 5th Bomber Command. No known nose art or nickname.

Mission History
On September 30, 1944 at 1:55pm took off from Eagle Farm Airfield piloted by 1st Lieutenant Ross A. Sieh on a trial flight. Aboard was passenger Australian Flora May Logan, a civilian employee working for the U. S. Army as a secretary. This B-5 was flying in a northerly direction high over the old pile light at around 2:15pm. The old pile light was used to mark the seaward entrance to the Francis Channel near the mouth of the Brisbane River in Moreton Bay. Suddenly it took a steep dive, and hitting the water seemed to break up. It was burning and smoking when it went into the bay and sank in 20' of water.

Eyewitnesses, saw the plane hurtle into the bay about a mile and a half from Moreton Island. George Edward Rowell recalls this crash “In 1944 whilst I was on watch at the Pile Light signal station I observed an aircraft flying on the western side of Moreton Bay, travelling in a northerly direction. It appeared to be at an altitude of about 3000-4000' and was holding an even height. In an endeavour to identify the aircraft I used a telescope and was certain it was a US B-25 Mitchell Bomber. Suddenly, it disintegrated before my eyes with the debris falling into the sea”.

Rescue and salvage parties from Brisbane including Constable R. Newham of the Water Police, assisted the U. S. Army authorities locate part of the wreckage. For the next several days, Constable T. Johnston and J. Ferguson, in the water police launch, took over the search and assisted salvage parties to haul up part of the wreckage.

Recovery of Remains
Ted Crouch who lived in Bishop Island at the time of the crash recalls that two bodies were recoverd. He recalled: “The day after, my sister and I were walking along the beach on Bishop Island and came across the body of one of the crew. Two days later, my mother and I came across the headless body of the pilot. The remaining three members and the girl were never found. While I do not know the names of the other US servicemen, one of the victims of this accident was a local girl, Flora May Logan, 21, of Felix Street Wooloowin. Miss Logan left her former employment at F. Tritton Pty. Ltd of George Street, to undertake secretarial work for the American Army Authorities. She was employed as a stenographer by the U. S. Air Operational section.

There is conflicting information about the precise location of the crash site. Neither the U. S. Authorities crash incident report nor the water police records can be located to confirm the precise location. The actual crash site is believed to be near the old Pile Light. The Queensland Police Museum records the crash location as between the new Pile Light and Woody Point.

During the 1990s, Edward L. Kryk dog tag was found by Henry Mayer in Port Moresby. Presumably, he dropped it or it was discarded after he went missing when his personal effects were discarded.

The entire crew was officially declared dead the day of the mission. A memorial service was conducted at St Andrews’s Presbyterian Church in the City on October 5, 1944 at 3pm, after which aircraft dropped wreaths over the locality in the bay where the fatality occurred.

Sieh and Newton remain listed as Missing In Action (MIA). Both are memorialized at Manila American Cemetery on the tablets of the missing.

Newton also has a memorial marker at Graceland West Cemetery and Mausoleum in Greenville, SC.

Duerst is buried at National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific (Punchbowl) at section F site 127.

Kryk is buried at Saint Patricks Cemetery in Franklin, PA.

Logan was never located and remains missing.

NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - Ross A. Sieh
USAF Serial Number Search Results - B-25D-30 Mitchell 43-3488
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Ross A. Sieh
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - John W. Newton, Jr.
FindAGrave - 1Lt Ross A Sieh (tablets of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - WOJG John W Newton, Jr (tablets of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - WO John W Newton, Jr (memorial marker photo)
FindAGrave - John W. Duerst (photo, grave photo)
FindAGrave - Edward L Kryk (grave photo)
Telegraph Newspaper “Life at Bishop Island” June 10, 1944 from Moreton Bay People by Peter Ludlow. Lisa Jones, Curator, Queensland Police Museum. 6/10/1944 Ted Crouch
Courier Mail article 10/1944
"Five people were killed when an American twin-engined bomber crashed into Moreton Bay near the old Pile Light. In the plane were four US Servicemen and Miss Flora May Logan, 21 of Felix St, Wooloowin. The Bomber left a nearby city areodrome about 1:56pm and was seen near the Pile Light about 2:15 pm flying fairly high. Suddenly it took a steep dive, and before hitting the water seemed to break up. It was burning and smoking when it went into the bay. US Authorities and the water police located parts of the wrecked plane, but in a five-day search none of the bodies were recovered. Miss Logan was a stenographer employed by the US Air Operational Section."
Singleton Argus "Five Killed in Plane Crash" 9 October 1944
"Five persons lost their lives when a service aircraft crashed into Moreton Bay (Q.). The victims were four men and Flora May Logan, aged about 21, of Woolccwin, Brisbane, who was an employee of the Americans in Brisbane. So far the bodies have not been recovered, al though the wreckage of the aircraft has been salvaged. Eye-witnesses state that the plane was flying fairly high when it sud denly went into a steep dive and appeared to disintegrate just before it struck the water."
Goulburn Evening Post "5 Killed in Plane Crash" 6 October 1944
"Brisbane: Four American service men and one Australian woman were killed when an Amer ican bomber crashed into Moreton Bay; near the mouth of the Bris bane River, on Saturday. The plane was seen to disintegrate in mid-air and crash into the sea."
Oz@War - 30 September 1944 Crash of A B-25 Mitchell in Moreton Bay, QLD
Thanks to Peter Dunn and Lisa Jones, curator Queensland Police Museum for additional information

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Last Updated
February 14, 2020


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