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September 10, 1942
|Pilot Captain James "Hoot" J. Bevlock, O-420568 (MIA / KIA, BRN) Scranton, PA
Passenger Sgt Weiss (survived) Philadelphia, PA
Crashed September 10, 1942
Built by de Havilland as a DH.82A Tiger Moth. Constructor number DHA??? (last three digits unknown). Originally intended to be shipped to South Africa or Southern Rhodesia for use in the Empire Air Training Scheme (EATS). Disassembled for shipment overseas.
At the start of the Pacific War, this aircraft had been not consigned and was instead shipped to Australia and placed into storage in Sydney. During June 1942, this aircraft was reverse lend lease to the U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) but was never allocated serial number and continued to use the original three digit de Havilland construction number on the tail.
On September 10, 1942 took off from Ross River Airfield near Townsville piloted by Captain James J. Bevlock to give Sgt Weiss a joy ride. During the flight, this aircraft went out of control. Passenger Weiss was able to parachute out safely. This aircraft crashed into Halifax Bay near Townsville at roughly Lat 10° 53 min S, 146° 29 min E. Another source states the co-ordinates as 18° 53' S, 146° 29' E.
There Is some evidence that an unauthorized aircraft was in the area and may have collided with Bevlock's aircraft. Possibly, P-39 piloted by 1st Lt. Grover D. Gholson might have accidentally collided with this Tiger Moth and caused it to go out of control and crash.
Fates of the Crew
Before the crash, passenger Weiss bailed out and landed safely.
Bevlock was presumed to have died in the crash and is listed as Missing In Action (MIA). His body was never found and he remains listed as Missing In Action (MIA). He earned the Distinguished Service Cross (DSC), Silver Star and Air Medal.
Bevlock was officially declared dead the day of the mission. He is memorialized at Manila American Cemetery on the tablets of the missing.
Previously, Bevlock survived the force landing of P-39F 41-7186 on April 30, 1942 in New Guinea. Possibly, this aircraft involved in this accident was actually a DH.60 Gypsy Moth.
NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - James J. Bevlock
Oz @ War - 10 September 1942 - Crash of a Tiger Moth in Halifax Harbor
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - James J. Bevlock
FindAGrave - Capt James J. Bevlock (photo, tablets of the missing)
Thanks to Peter Dunn for additional information
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