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  C-47-DL "Star Duster" Serial Number 41-18648  
USAAF
5th AF
374th TCG
41st TCS

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Justin Taylan 2003
Pilot  1st Lt. Victor N. Gibson (KIA)
Co-Pilot  2nd Lt Michael L. Reitman (KIA)
Engineer  SSgt Everett L. Ahmann (KIA)
Radio  Cpl E. L. Guigno (KIA)
Passenger  T/5 T G Cucciaro (KIA)
Passenger  F/O Frank McLaurin Bartlett, RAAF 265197 (KIA)
Passenger  LAC Hector Richard Hore, RAAF 126243 (KIA)
Passenger  Sgt Hugh John McClean, AIF NX151913 (KIA)
Passenger  Sgt Philip Ernest Nicholls, AIF SX6040 (KIA)
Passenger  Gnr Thomas Layton Vinecombe, AIF VX37247 (KIA)
Passenger  Sgt Jack Ernest Kerr, AIF NX125184 (KIA)
Passenger  Sgt Albert William Lawrence, AIF WX16521 (KIA)
Passenger  Gnr Thomas Layton Vinecombe, AIF VX37247 (KIA)
Unmanifested Passenger  Cpl Albert E. Peglow Jr., 36129389 (KIA)
MIA  November 21, 1943
MACR  1220

Aircraft History
Built by Douglas. Constructors Number 6009. On October 31, 1942 delivered to the U. S. Army Aor Force (USAAF) as C-47-DL Skytrain serial number 41-18648. Ferried overseas via Hickam Field then across the Pacific to Australia.

18648 (MSN 6009) to USAAF Oct 31, 1942 - 5th AF, Australia Jan 15, 1943 - Crashed with 374th TCG 41st TCS named "Star Duster" when starboard wing broke off Nov 21, 1943 and crashed near Monto, Australia. MACR 1220. All 14 onboard killed.

Wartime History
On January 15, 1943 assigned to the 5th Air Force (5th AF), 374th Troop Carrier Group (374th TCG), 41st Troop Carrier Squadron (41st TCS). Nicknamed "Star Duster". Assigned Australian Call Sign VH-CGC.

Mission History
On November 21, 1943 took off from 5 Mile Drome (Wards) near Port Moresby piloted by 1st Lt. Victor N. Gibson on a flight bound for Cairns Airfield then onto Garbutt Field where the C-47 was loaded with 6,700 pounds of cargo and took off bound for Rockhampton Airfield and was loaded with mail before departing for Archerfield Airfield near Brisbane. After take off from Rockhampton Airfield this C-47 failed to arrive and was declared Missing In Action (MIA).

Wreckage
This C-47 broke up in mid air due to violent weather and crashed near Monto. On June 22, 1948 the crash site of this C-47 was discovered by Mr. F. A. Smith roughly six miles north of a property known as "Magpie" in a steep gully between two high hills covered with trees. Smith reported the site to the Monto Police, which notified the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF). The wreckage included the fuselage section, wings, engines and tail. One engine is 300-400 yards separate from the rest of the aircraft. Among the wreckage was the remains of the cargo including several engines, two MT engines, and one KVA unit and three large and three small cylinders for acetylene and oxygen.

In 1961, the right wing, which was never found during 1948 RAAF investigation, was discovered 1km away from the crash site. In 1991, the stabilizer, fuselage door, and other fragments were found. The wide area of the wreckage further reinforces violence of this crash site.

Recovery of Remains
Afterwards, a RAAF Searcher Team led by S/L Kieth Rundle investigted the crash site. After the recovery of remains, the Australians and Americans aboard were buried in the Bundaberg War Cemetery in Bundaberg. During the investigation, the remains of an unmanifested passenger Cpl Peglow, was found. The investigation revealed that the aircraft probably disintegrated in midair, with both engines running, due to turbulent weather.

Memorials
The entire crew and passengers were officially declared dead the day of the mission. After the recovery of remains, the crew and passengers were buried at Bundaberg War Cemetery in Bundaberg.

Display
A propeller from the C-47 was recovered and is displayed at the Monto RSL.

References
USAF Serial Number Search Results - C-47-DL Skytrain 41-18648
"18648 (MSN 6009) to USAAF Oct 31, 1942 - 5th AF, Australia Jan 15, 1943 - Crashed with 374th TCG 41st TCS named "Star Duster" when starboard wing broke off Nov 21, 1943 and crashed near Monto, Australia. MACR 1220. All 14 onboard killed."
Oz@War - Crash of a C-47 Dakota of the 374th Transport Group in the Monto Area, 65 Miles west of Bundaberg on 21 Novemer 1943
Missing Air Crew Report 1220 (MACR 1220) created December 1, 1943
Thanks to Daniel Leahy for additional information

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Last Updated
October 22, 2020

 

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