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  C-47A-60-DL "Hoosier Traveler" Serial Number 43-30742  
USAAF
5th AF
374th TCG
22nd TCS

Click For Enlargement
Cooper Dec 1943

Click For Enlargement
Phil Bradley 2008
Pilot  2nd Lt William R. Crecelius, O-888625 (KIA, BR) Gibson County, IN
Co-Pilot  2nd Lt. John R. Rowell, O-810036 (KIA, BR) MI
Engineer  TSgt John L. Shupe, 13035323 (KIA, BR) Rural Retreat, VA
Radio  Sgt Robert S. Fazio, 12192190 (KIA, BR) Westchester County, NY
Passenger  Captain Orlen N. Loverin, O-730936 345th BG, 499th BS pilot (KIA, BR) Tulare County, CA
Passenger  1st/Lt. George K. Snyder, O-443462 345th BG, 499th BS navigator (KIA, BR) Lycoming County, PA
Passenger  2nd/Lt. William B. Graham, O-80087 (KIA, BR)
Passenger  TSgt Carlos M. Bane, 33181909 5th Airways and Comm Service Sqn (KIA, BR) Philadelphia, PA
Passenger  Capt. Robert J. Simons, O-50563 (KIA, BR)
Passenger  Major Hoyt A. Ross, O-350627 (KIA, BR) MN
Passenger  2nd Lt. Rebecca M. Williams, N-724584 U. S. Army Nurse (KIA, BR) Punxsutawney, PA
Passenger  GM3c Jack Hayman Staggs, 03825977 USN (KIA, BR) CA
Passenger  CGM Frank J. Carline, 606-97-59 USN (KIA, BR) MA
Passenger  Lt. Wm. Samuelson, O-182874 USN (KIA, BR)
Passenger  WO(jg) Thomas Smith, W-2107140 U. S. Army Nurse (KIA, BR) GA
Passenger  2nd Lt. Ernestine Koranda, N-547331 U. S. Army Nurse (KIA, BR) Lesterville, ND
Passenger  Chief Warrant Officer Herbert R. Johnson, W-2114898 U. S. Army (KIA, BR) Columbia County, NY
Passenger  Lt. Harry Gillies, O-2035039 (KIA, BR)
Passenger  Pvt Herbert J. Mathias, 35255439 U. S. Army (KIA, BR) Dubois, IN
Passenger  Sgt Charles F. Dolan, 32337024 U. S. Army (KIA, BR) Queens, NY
Passenger  Harold George Dick, Australian Department of Information (KIA, BR) WA
Passenger  William Bramwell Tibbs, Salvation Army, Deputy Commissioner (KIA, BR) Eastwood, NSW
Passenger  Cpl. William Barry Sleep, NX 150010 (KIA, BR) Wavell Heights, Brisbane, QLD
Passenger  Cpl. Thomas William Shard, Q 148539 (KIA, BR) Kalbar, QLD
Passenger  Pte Benjamin Rasmussen, Q 271392 (KIA, BR) Merrick, QLD
Passenger  Capt. John Hugho Weir, NX 333 (KIA, BR) Melbourne, VIC
Passenger  Capt. Alexander William Robert Geddes, SX 4886 (KIA, BR) Newcastle, NSW
Passenger  Lt. Nigel James Bruce MacDonald, YMCA Welfare Officer (KIA, BR) Neutral Bay, NSW
Passenger  LAC Donald Cantrol Cameron, 426040 RAAF 36 Squadron (KIA, BR) Texas, QLD
Passenger  LAC Raymond Kingsley Oster, 115325 RAAF 6 Transport and Movement Sqn (KIA, BR)
Passenger  Capt. Crawford Derek Mollison, VX 912 Australian Army 2/12 Australian Field Regiment (KIA, BR)
Crashed  December 19, 1943 at 9:20am
MACR  none

Aircraft History
Built by Douglas. Constructors Number 13893. Delivered to the U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as C-47A-60-DL Skytrain serial number 43-30742. Ferried overseas to Australia.

Wartime History
Assigned to the 5th Air Force, 374th Troop Carrier Group, 22nd Troop Carrier Squadron. Nicknamed "Hoosier Traveler". In Australia assigned civilian call sign VH-CHR.

Mission History
On December 19, 1943 at 7:10am took off from Garbutt Airfield near Townsville piloted by 2nd Lt William R. Crecelius bound for Rockhampton Airfield and then onward to Brisbane. The weather south of Townsville was poor but fair over Rockhapton.

Aboard were 27 passengers including 16 Americans and 11 Australians. Harold G. Dick, Australian Department of Information (Australian D of I) who was returning to Australia after participating in a mission over Japanese occupied islands with exposed film.

At roughly 9:20am, this aircraft caught fire or exploded in the air and crashed at Ross Moya Road in the Canal Creek area roughly 30 miles north of Rockhapton. Everyone aboard died in the crash.

On the ground, five stockman working at Canal Creek reported seeing an explosion in the air and a ball of fire coming to earth. At 9:45am a volunteer with the Air Observe Corps reported a crash.

This crash was the second worst air disaster in Australia with 31 killed. The cause of the crash was never determined.

Recovery of Remains
After the crash, the remains of the crew and passengers were recovered and buried in Australia. After the crash, Dick's film was recovered and successfully developed.

Postwar, the remains of the Americans were transported to the United States for permanent burial. During 1948, the remains of Snyder were transported aboard SS Cardinal O'Connell back to the United States.

Memorials
Everyone aboard died in the crash on December 19, 1943.

The American crew and passengers:

Crecelius was buried at Warnock Cemetery in Princeton, IN at section SW, row 12, lot 75, plot 10.

Rowell was buried at Riverside Cemetery in Alma, MI.

Shupe was buried at Mountain View Cemetery in Rural Retreat, VA.

Fazio has no known grave, likely he is buried in a private cemetery in his hometown in the United States.

Loverin was buried at National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific (Punchbowl) at section B site 658.

Snyder was buried May 26, 1948 at Pomfret Manor Cemetery in Sunbury, PA.

Graham was buried at Old Rosemont Cemetery in Bloomsburg, PA at Catholic Section, Coordinate A, grave 361.

Bane was buried at National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific (Punchbowl) at section A, site 142.

Simons has no known grave, likely he is buried in a private cemetery in his hometown in the United States.

Ross was buried at Fort Snelling National Cemetery at section B, site 311.

Williams has no known grave, likely she is buried in a private cemetery in his hometown in the United States.

Staggs is buried at National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific (Punchbowl) at section C, site 446.

Carline is buried at Oak Grove Cemetery in Medford, MA at WWII Section, row A, grave 31.

Samuelson has no known grave, likely he is buried in a private cemetery in his hometown in the United States.

Smith was buried at National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific (Punchbowl) at section A, site 139.

Koranda was buried at Wadena Cemetery in Wadena, MN. She is also memorialized on the South Dakota WWII Memorial.

Johnson was buried at National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific (Punchbowl) at section B, site 484.

Australian passengers:

Dick was buried at Rookwood General Cemetery in Rookwood, NSW at Anglican section 16, Grave 801.

Tibbs was buried at Rockhampton War Cemetery at section WG row B grave 3.

Sleep was buried at Rockhampton War Cemetery at section B grave 6.

Shard was buried at Rockhampton War Cemetery at section B grave 4.

Rasmussen was buried at Rockhampton War Cemetery at section B grave 9.

Weir was buried at Rockhampton War Cemetery at section B grave 8.

Geddes was buried at Rockhampton War Cemetery at section B grave 7.

MacDonald was buried at Rockhampton War Cemetery at section B grave 12.

Cameron was buried at Rockhampton War Cemetery at section B grave 11.

Oster was buried at Rockhampton War Cemetery at section B grave 10.

Mollison was buried at Rockhampton War Cemetery at section B grave 5.

At the crash site, dubbed "The Canal Creek Disaster" the first commemoration service to remember this crash was held on December 6, 2003 at 10:00 am. Possibly, there are plans for a permanent memorial at this location.

Wreckage
One of the propellers from this aircraft is displayed at a museum in Yeppoon.

Phil Bradley adds:
"I visited Yeppoon where the propeller from the Canal Creek C47 crash on 18 December 1943 is displayed."

References
NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - William R. Crecelius
NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - John R. Rowell
NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - John L. Shupe
NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - Robert S. Fazio
NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - Orlen N Loverin
NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - George K. Snyder
NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - Carlos M. Bane
NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - Herbert R. Johnson
NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - Herbert J. Mathias
NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - Charles F. Dolan
USAF Serial Number Search Results - C-47A-60-DL 43-30742
"30742 (MSN 13893) to civil registry as VH-CHR. Listed as crashing in New Guinea Dec 19, 1943. Also listed as being de-registered on 7 October 1943 seen(?) in Brisbane 27 November 1943 and had an accident on 19 December 1945"
News "Punxs'y Army Nurse Killed: Rebecca Williams, 33, First Woman to Die in Service" January 5, 1944
Allied Air Transport Operations - Volume Two (2000) by by Robert H. Kelly pages 52, 74-75
Oz@War - Crash of a C-47 of 22nd Troop Carrier Squadron... on 19 December 1943"
News Princeton, IN "Crecelius honored with Australian flag" July 22, 2015
FindAGrave - Lieut William Randall “Randy” Crecelius (photo, news, grave photo)
FindAGrave - John B. Rowell (grave photo)
FindAGrave - Sgt John Lee Shupe (grave photos)
FindAGrave - Capt Orlen N Loverin (grave photos)
FindAGrave - Capt George Kline Snyder (photos, grave photo)
FindAGrave - 2LT William B Graham (photo)
FindAGrave - TSGT Carlos M Bane (grave photos)
FindAGrave - Hoyt A Ross (photo, grave photo)
FindAGrave - Lieut Rebecca May Williams (photo, obituary)
FindAGrave - Jack Hayman Staggs (grave photo)
FindAGrave - CCM Frank J Carline (grave photo)
FindAGrave - WO Thomas W Smith (grave photo)
FindAGrave - Lieut Ernestine May “Carmen” Koranda (photos, grave photo)
Minnesota Historical Society - Army Nurse Ernestine Koranda (photos)
FindAGrave - Herbert R Johnson (grave photos)
FindAGrave - Harold George Dick (grave photo)
CWGC - William Bramwell Tibbs
CWGC - Cpl. William Barry Sleep
CWGC - Thomas William Shard
CWGC - Benjamin Rasmussen
CWGC - John Hugho Weir
CWGC - Alexander William Robert Geddes
CWGC - Nigel James Bruce MacDonald
CWGC - Donald Cantrol Cameron
CWGC - Raymond Kingsley Oster
CWGC - Crawford Derek Mollison
FindAGrave - William Bramwell Tibbs (grave photos with plot)
FindAGrave - William Bramwell Tibbs (grave photo)
FindAGrave - Corp William Barry Sleep (grave photo)
FindAGrave - Corp Thomas William Shard (grave photo)
FindAGrave - Pvt Benjamin Rasmussen (grave photo)
FindAGrave - Capt John Hugo Weir (grave photo)
FindAGrave - Capt Alexander William Robert Geddes (grave photo)
FindAGrave - N J B Macdonald (grave photo)
FindAGrave - Donald Cantrol Cameron (grave photo)
FindAGrave - Raymond Kingsley Oster (grave photo)
FindAGrave - Capt Crawford Derek Mollison (photo, grave photo)

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Last Updated
October 31, 2019

 

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C-47

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