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  C-47B-5-DK Dakota Serial Number A65-61 Call Sign VH-CUT
38 Squadron

Former Assignments
33 Squadron
3 AD

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CILHI 2000

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RAAF 2005
Pilot  WOFF Arthur Jack Hunter, 411069 (MIA / KIA, BR) Lambton, NSW
Co-Pilot  WOFF Albert Clifford Hughes, 414566 (MIA / KIA, BR) Warialda, NSW
WAG  Flt Sgt Kenneth Robert Wiles, 27141 RAAF (MIA / KIA, BR) North Footscray, VIC
WAG  WOFF Eric Wilkinson, 405949 RAAF (MIA / KIA, BR) Silkstone, QLD
Fitter  FSGT Allan George Sawrey, 6188 RAAF (MIA / KIA, BR) Concord, NSW
Orderly  SGT Francis Leonard Henry Blackmore, 47042 (MIA / KIA, BR) Welland, SA
Passenger  WOFF Allan Campbell, 412376 (MIA / KIA, BR)
Passenger  LAC William Royce Dunderdale, 170241 (MIA / KIA, BR) Oxley, QLD
Passenger  FLGOFF Noel Royce Stibbard, 421110 (MIA / KIA, BR) Wollongong, NSW
Passenger  Sister Marie Eileen Craig, 501399 RAAF Nursing Service (MIA / KIA, BR) Drummoyne, NSW
Passenger  PTE Keith John Bowden, NX108177 AIF, 2/12 Bn (MIA / KIA, BR) Sans Souci, NSW
Passenger  PTE Laurie Anthony Coombe, SX25862 AIF, 2/4 Pioneer Bn (MIA / KIA, BR) Camden, SA
Passenger  TPR George Phillip Duffy, QX28187 AIF, 2/5 Commando Sqn (MIA / KIA, BR) Clayfield, QLD
Passenger  GNR Trevor John Eiszele, TX8234 AIF, 2/8 Field. Regt (MIA / KIA) Sandy Bay, TAS
Passenger  PTE Mervyn John Ford, NX78164 AIF, 2/31 Bn (MIA / KIA) Parramatta, NSW
Passenger  L/SGT Athur John Hyde, NX88349 AIF, 30 Works Coy (MIA / KIA) Croydon, NSW
Passenger  TPR Frederick Joseph Ireland, NX114117 AIF, 2/5 Commando Sqn (MIA / KIA) Maroyba, NSW
Passenger  LT Alun Morris Jones, QX4655 AIF (MIA / KIA) Clayfield, QLD
Passenger  PTE Arthur Trevor Jorgensen, QX60848 AIF (MIA / KIA) Toowoomba, QLD
Passenger  SPR James Francis MacDougall, NX204635 AIF, 5 Mech Eqpt. Co (MIA / KIA) Mayfield, NSW
Passenger  TPR Ronald Leslie Mathieson, QX60160 AIF, 2/5 Commando Sqn (MIA / KIA) Maryborough, QLD
Passenger  SPR Jonathan Matthews, NX128663 AIF, 9 Workshop and Park Coy (MIA / KIA) Orange, NSW
Passenger  PTE John McAlorum, QX54584 AIF (MIA / KIA)
Passenger  PTE Ian Scott McDowall, QX6044 AIF (MIA / KIA) Brisbane, QLD
Passenger  PTE Leonard Thomas Oakley, TX16004 AIF (MIA / KIA) Burnie, TAS
Passenger  PTE Ian Thomas Ray, NX203686 AIF (MIA / KIA) Canberra, ACT
Passenger  PTE Donald William Smith, NX92958 AIF (MIA / KIA) Milton, NSW
Passenger  PTE James Ivan Tindall, NX126131 AIF (MIA / KIA) Narooma, NSW
Passenger  CPL George John Welch, NX31956 AIF (MIA / KIA)
Crashed  September 18, 1945

Aircraft History
Built by Douglas. Constructors Number 25999. Delivered to the U.S. Army Air Force as C-47B-DK Skytrain serial number 43-48738. Ferried overseas via Hickam Field then across the Pacific to Australia.

Wartime History
On August 30, 1944 assigned to the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) as Dakota A65-61. Reassembled by 3 Air Depot (3 AD). Assigned Australian call sign VH-CUT. On October 31, 1944 assigned to 33 Squadron. On December 28, 1944 assigned to No. 38 Squadron with fuselage code PK. No known nickname or nose art. When lost, engine serial numbers 485888 and 485930.

Mission History
On September 18, 1945 took of from Wama Airfield on Morotai piloted by W/O Arthur Hunteron at 6:45am on a flight path that included landing at Merauke Airfield and Bamaga Airfield (Higgins Field) then finally to Garbutt Field near Townsville. This flight was a medical evacuation with hospital patients including ten RAAF passengers and nineteen Australian Army personnel with a total of twenty-nine aboard. Lt. Jones boarded the plane as an unmanifested passenger. When this Dakota failed to arrive it was officially declared Missing In Action (MIA).

In fact, this C-47 crashed onto the Carstenz Ranges at an altitude of 14,200' in a ravine roughly 100' from the to of the mountain at roughly Lat 4°  South, Long 137° 2' 30" East. The crash site is located near Wissel Lakes, northwest of the Grasberg mine operated by PT Freeport in present day Papua Province (Irian Jaya) in the center of western New Guinea.

On April 19, 1967, a Missionary Aviation Fellowship (MAF) pilot Mr. J. Reeder spotted this wreckage of this Dakota and observed the markings "PK-CUT" while flying between Sentani Airfield to Konono Airfield. At the time, it was incorrectly believe to be a Dutch crash. During October 1968, he spotted the wreckage again.

On November 28, 1968 a Bell 206 jet ranger helicopter piloted by Harold Wysong chartered by Delong Corporation lumber survey team at Nabire investigated the crash and located human remains and identified the site as Australian.

Recovery of Remains
Between May 23, 2005 until June 6, 2005, a joint team from Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Searcher Team and Indonesian Air Force (TNI-AU) were flown to the crash site aboard UH-1H A2-489 as part of "Exercise Dakota Recovery". The mission, conducted in extreme climatic conditions, recovered all the remains as well as some personal effects of the passengers and crew. A memorial plaque was left at the site. The team included S/L Greg Williams.

The entire crew and passengers were officially declared dead the day of the mission. Jones was memorialized at Lae War Cemetery on the Lae Memorial, panel 5.

On August 10, 2005 the remains of the crew were buried at Bomana War Cemetery. Hunter, Hughes, Blackmore, Craig, Ford, Eiszele, Ireland, Tindall, Ray, Smith, McAlorum, McDowall, Jorgensen, MacDougall, Mathieson and Stibbard in collective grave C8, B1-25. The remainder are buried individually. Wiles at C8. A. 17. Wilkinson at C8. A. 13. Sawrey at C8. B. 22. Campbell at C8. B. 3. Dunderdale at C8. B. 7. Jones at C8. E. 19. Welch at C8. A. 3. Oakley at C8. B. 20. Bowden at C8. B. 2. Coombe at C8. B. 4. Duffy at C8. B. 6. Hyde at C8. B. 12. Matthews at C8. B. 19.

CWGC - Arthur Jack Hunter
CWGC - Albert Clifford Hughes
CWGC - Kenneth Robert Wiles
CWGC - Eric Wilkinson
CWGC -Allan George Sawrey

CWGC - Francis Leonard Henry Blackmore
CWGC - Allan Campbell
CWGC - William Royce Dunderdale
CWGC - Noel Royce Stibbard
CWGC - Marie Eileen Craig
CWGC - Keith John Bowden
CWGC - Laurie Anthony Coombe
CWGC - George Phillip Duffy
CWGC - Trevor John Eiszele
CWGC - Mervyn John Ford
CWGC - Athur John Hyde
CWGC - Frederick Joseph Ireland
CWGC - Alun Morris Jones "N.B. Also commemorated on Panel 5 of the Lae Memorial to be removed when the panel is next replaced"
CWGC - Arthur Trevor Jorgensen
CWGC - James Francis MacDougall
CWGC - Ronald Leslie Mathieson
CWGC - Jonathan Matthews
CWGC - John McAlorum
CWGC - Ian Scott McDowall
CWGC - Leonard Thomas Oakley
CWGC - Ian Thomas Ray
CWGC - Donald William Smith
CWGC - James Ivan Tindall
CWGC - George John Welch
Air Force - Australia: 75th Anniversary Edition by George Odgers includes photos of this wreck
Australian Department of Defense "Dakota crew members laid to rest funeral service" August 11, 2005
ADF Serials - Dakota A65-61
Air Force News April 20, 2017 page 12 (photo)
Thanks to Greg Williams and Daniel Leahy for additional information

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Last Updated
May 21, 2021

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