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  C-47A-30-DL "Betty El" Serial Number 42-23589 Call Sign VH-CGK
5th AF
317th TCG
40th TCS

Former Assignments
375th TCG

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Ian Williams 1990s

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Daniel Leahy 2001

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Alan Murray 2006
Pilot  1st Lt. R.E. Anglin, USAAF (KIA)
Co-Pilot  2nd Lt. J. W. Kennedy, USAAF (KIA)
Engineer  Sgt Frank J. Ropinski, USAAF (KIA)
Radio  Sgt. H.L. Baunstein, USAAF (KIA)
Crew  Sgt. R.L. Adkins, USAAF (KIA)
Passenger  Flt. Lt. R. K. Abbot, RAAF (KIA)
Passenger  Flt. Lt. A. E. Watkin, RAAF (KIA)
Passenger  Act Sgt. R. K. Pitchford, RAAF (KIA)
Passenger  Cpl. W. Brady, RAAF (KIA)
Passenger  Cpl. F. P. Morris, RAAF (KIA)
Passenger  LAC J. G. Maxwell, RAAF (KIA)
Passenger  LAC S. K. Sims, RAAF (KIA)
Passenger  Lt. Hartley H. Lockie, NX151680 AIF, 12 Adv. Ord. Depot HQ (KIA) Orange, NSW
Passenger  Lt. R. Roswell (AIF)
Passenger  Sgt. V. F. Bishop, NX82072 AIF, 5 Movt. Control Grp (KIA) Queenscliff, NSW
Passenger  W. J. Parker, AIF (KIA)
Passenger  L/Sgt. T. W. Davey, AIF (KIA)
Passenger  Gnr. W. H. Dorman, AIF (KIA)
Passenger  Pte A. H. Mildre, QX52001 AIF, 1 Trg. Bn. (KIA)

Crashed  November 16, 1943

Aircraft History
Built by Douglas. Assigned to the 5th Air Force, 375th Troop Carrier Group. Next, assigned to the 317th Troop Carrier Group, 40th Troop Carrier Squadron. Nicknamed "Betty El" with call sign VH-CGK.

Mission History
Took off from Darwin on a flight bound for Brisbane. Flew into a violent electrical storm and crashed at Carnarvon Gorge and everyone died in the crash.

Crashed onto the Rewan property at Carnarvon Gorge, Queensland. The wreckage was recovered by the Australian Army 25th Battalion / Assault Pioneer Platoon.

Recovery of Remains
After the crash, the remains of the crew were recovered by the Australian Army 25th Battalion / Assault Pioneer Platoon and transported to Springsure. Later, the Australians were buried at Rockhampton Cemetery. Mildre at Plot A. Row A. Grave 15. Lockie at plot A. row A. grave 16. Bishop plot A. row A grave 12

Postwar, the Americans were returned to the United States for internment. Ropinski is buried at National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific (Punchbowl) at section B site 976. The burials of the others are unknown, presumed to be in private cemeteries.

After the crash site, after the recovery of remains, the Australian Army 25th Battalion / Assault Pioneer Platoon built a memorial.

Daniel Leahy adds:
"The remains of a USAAF C-47B (VH-CGK) are located at Carnarvon Gorge, Queensland. It appears as if the white bar has been hastily added to the pre-43 star in circle logo. The back of the wing has been hacked by what looks to be an axe."

A memorial was erected at Carnarvon National Park including the port wing with the US star marking, an engine and landing gear leg. The memorial was since refurbished by Roma Boy Scouts Group, and the Injune R.S.L. Red, white and blue display posts raise the wreckage above the ground for display.

The other engine was moved to Springsure (approximately 70km away from the Carnarvon Gorge) as a monument to the location where the bodies from the crash were initially transported.

Some sources incorrectly list the crash date as November 9, 1943
Thanks to Daniel Leahy for additional information

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Last Updated
February 14, 2020


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