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No. 33 Squadron
AWM July 13, 1944
Michael Andrews 1999
Jason Daniels 2010
|Pilot Flying Officer William Ernest Clarke, 277547 ANA civilian pilot (KIA, BR)
Co-Pilot W/O James Hillman Hornbrook, 432183, RAAF 4 Comm Unit (KIA, BR) Strathfield, NSW
Engineer F/Sgt Neville Tasman Browne, 436542, RAAF 4 Comm Unit (KIA, BR) Lawley, WA
Radio W/O Alfred Henry Gidley, 415975, RAAF 4 Comm Unit (KIA, BR) Wiluna, WA
Passenger Sgt Henry E. Doherty, USAAF 322nd TCW (KIA, BR) NY
Passenger Cpl Rudolph M. Kozen, USAAF 322nd TCW (KIA, BR)
Crashed May 5, 1945 at 5:18am
Built by Douglas as a DC-3-194B with Wright R-1820 radial engines. Constructors Number 1941. Purchased by the Royal Netherlands Indian Airways / Koninklijke Nederlandsch-Indische Luchtvaart Maatschappij (KNILM) and registered as PH-ALT on June 2, 1940. This aircraft operated in the Netherlands East Indies (NEI).
On May 1, 1942 this aircraft escaped the Netherlands East Indies (NEI) to Australia. On May 19, 1942 transferred to the Australian government. Assigned to the U.S. Army Air Force (USAAF) with serial number 41-1941 applied locally.
On August 17, 1942 severely damaged during a Japanese air raid against 7 Mile Drome while parked at 7-Mile Drome near Port Moresby. Afterwards, repaired and returned to duty two months later.
On December 6, 1942 acquired by Australian National Airways (ANA) with Australian call sign VH-CXD and leased to the U.S. Army. On January 14, 1944 assigned the designation C-49H serial number 44-83228 for administrative purposes for civilian airliners used by the U.S. Army as transports.
On March 17, 1945 operated by the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF). Assigned to No. 33 Squadron.
On May 4, 1945 at 8:39pm took off from Archerfield Airfield near Brisbane on a regularly scheduled courier flight via Garbutt Field then onward to New Guinea. The aircraft was piloted by Clarke, an ANA civilian pilot with a Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) aircrew. Aboard was a trainee co-pilot, Browne and two American passengers. This aircraft first landed sucessfully at Garbutt Field and overnighted.
On May 5, 1945 predawn took off from Garbutt Field via Higgins Field (Bamaga) on a flight bound for Finschafen Airfield in New Guinea then findally to Nadzab Airfield. While circling to land at Higgins Field (Bamaga), this aircraft crashed into a hilltop at 5:18am and burned on impact, killing everyone aboard.
The wreckage including the largely intact tail section remains in situ. Today, the wreckage is fenced off with a , the wreckage is fenced off with a memorial marker nearby. Initially, the military authorities thought that there may have been a third American passenger who boarded the aircraft at Garbutt Field, but this was later found to be incorrect.
The entire crew was officially declared dead the day of the mission. After the recovery of remains, the Australians were buried at Townsville War Cemetery. Gidley at E.C.9. Browne at E.D.7. Hornbrook at E.C.5. Taylor's grave is unknown. Clarke was buried at Mount Thompson Crematorium at wall 4, section 3, S/Niche 290.
On May 9, 1945 the two American passengers were buried at Ipswich Cemetery (Ipswich USAF Cemetery Brisbane) with funeral services by Chaplain North. Postwar, their remains were exhumed and transported to the United States for permanent burial.
Doherty was buried at Long Island National Cemetery at Plot J, 16404. Kozen's burial is unknown but presumed to be in a private cemetery in the United States.
At the crash site, a memorial plaque was erected near the wreckage tail to honor the crew.
Oz@War - Crash of C-49H (DC-3) at Higgins Field, QLD on 5 May 1945
Allied Air Transport Operations SWPA in WWII, Volume 1, page 329 (August 17, 1942 air raid)
CWGC - William Ernest Clarke
CWGC - James Hillman Hornbrook
CWGC - Neville Tasman Browne
CWGC - Alfred Henry Gidley
FindAGrave - Henry E Doherty (grave photo) date of death incorrectly listed as May 4, 1945
Thanks to Daniel Leahy for additional information
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February 10, 2022
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