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  C-56B Lodestar Serial Number 42-68348 Call Sign VH-CAB
Qantas Empire Airways
Former Assignments
5th AF
374th TCG
22nd TCS

Pilot  S/Ldr William Geoffrey Campbell, RAAF 261730 (KIA, BR) Marrickville, NSW
1st Officer  P/O John Randolph Fleming Henderson, RAAF 410863 (KIA, BR) Prahran, VIC
Radio  F/Sgt Neil Grosvenor Evan, 417064 RAAF (KIA, BR) Rosslyn Park, SA
 P/O Keith George Shankland Little, 267726 RAAF (KIA, BR) Bronte, NSW
Passenger  Robert E. Lewis, Red Cross Correspondent (KIA, BR) Columbus, OH
Passenger  Harry H. Poague, Red Cross Correspondent (KIA, BR) KY
Passenger  Lt. Col. C. V. Ferry Royal Army Service Corp (KIA, BR)
Passenger  Lt Col Edward John Marston, VX39064 AIF (KIA, BR) East Malvern, VIC
Passenger  Major J. F. McCarthy  NX7195 AIF (KIA, BR) Cameray, NSW
Passenger  Lt Col John Benedict Bolger, AIF NX462 (KIA, BR) Malvern, VIC
Passenger  2nd Lt John E. Brown, 01298384 U.S. Army Courier (KIA, BR
Passenger  S/Sgt Vincent W. Novak, 33362619 USAAF 27th Air Depot Group (KIA, BR) PA
Passenger  Captain John W. Baish, 0384600 U.S. Army (KIA, BR) Dillsburg, PA
Passenger  Colonel Frank O. Dewey, O-11386 U.S. Army, Cav-Gen HQ SWPA (KIA, BR)
Passenger  F/Sgt Leslie Harold Jenke, 8868 RAAF (KIA, BR) Point Pass, SA
Crashed  November 26, 1943

Aircraft History
Built by Lockheed as Model 18-40 in Burbank. Constructor Number 18-2103. This aircraft was sold to the Netherlands East Indies Air Force (NEIAF) as Lodestar LT9-08 (LT-908). Disassembled and shipped overseas to Australia and reassembled.

Wartime History
In Australia assigned to the Allied Directorate of Air Transport (ADAT) with call sign VH-CAB. Assgined to the U.S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as a C-56B Lodestar serial number 42-68348. Assigned to the 5th Air Force, 374th Troop Carrier Group, 22nd Troop Carrier Squadron. No known nickname or nose art.

During September 1942, operated by Qantas Empire Airways (QEA) for Allied Directorate of Air Transport (ADAT).

Mission History
On November 26, 1943 took off from 5 Mile Drome (Wards) near Port Moresby pilot S/Ldr William G. Campbell on a flight bound for Garbutt Field near Townsville. Struck the top of a hill shortly after take off at 4:00am. The 15 crew and passengers were killed. When the aircraft was overdue at Townsville, intensive searches were conducted and the crashed aircraft was located. A few minutes after the crash, the wreckage was found on one of the westerly peaks roughly 40' from the top. Possibly 13km out from the airfield.

This aircraft crash was the second second largest loss of life on a Qantas Empire Airways (QEA) aircraft since the loss of S.23 "Circe" G-AETZ on February 28, 1942.

Robert Piper adds:
"The pilot, when I examined his RAAF file, was too inexperienced for night departures at that stage of his career in such a fast aircraft. He was S/Ldr W. G. Campbell aged 32. Ex civil light aircraft flying instructor with a little time on Ansons and Oxfords. There are several peaks west of Wards Strip only a few miles out and he obviously hit one, either heading west or as he swung south for Australia. There is a civil aviation NDB tower and service road out there and at one stage I sighted an undercarriage leg in a deep crevice in the road and then and now wonder whether it was part of the Lockheed. Carried or thrown there."

Recovery of Remains
After the crash, the remains of the crew and passengers were recovered and buried at Bomana Cemetery. Postwar, the Americans were exhumed and transported to Hawaii and the United States for permenant burial.

The crew and passengers were officially declared dead the day of the crash.

Campbell is buried at Bomana War Cemetery at B2, D, 15.

Henderson is buried at Bomana War Cemetery at B2, D, 16.

Evan is buried at Bomana War Cemetery at B2, D, 10.

Little is buried at Bomana War Cemetery at at B2, D, 12.

Lewis is buried at National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific (Punchbowl) at section A, site 195. He also has a memorial marker at Sabina Cemetery in Sabina, OH.

Poague is buried at National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific (Punchbowl) at section E, site 788.

Ferry has an unknown burial, preumably in Australia.

Marston is buried at Bomana War Cemetery at B2, D, 14.

McCarthy is buried at Bomana War Cemetery at B2, D, 9.

Bolger is buried at Bomana War Cemetery at at B2, D, 11.

Brown is buried in a private cemetery in Michigan, details unknown.

Novak is bured at Queen of Heaven Catholic Cemetery in McMurray, PA.

Baish buried at Franklin Church Cemetery in Clear Springs, PA.

Dewey is buried at Fort Riley Post Cemetery at section E grave 151.

Jenke is buried at Bomana War Cemetery at B2, D, 17.

USAF Serial Number Search Results - C-56B Lodestar 42-68348
"C-56B Lodestar Civilian Model 18-40 originally delivered to NEIAF but were impressed by USAAF after aircraft were evacuated to Australia in 1942. 68348 (MSN 18-2103) LT9-08, LT-908, radio call sign VH-CAB. Operated by Qantas. W/o Nov 26, 1943 at Port Moresby. Returned to USAAF and SOC Aug 31, 1944."
Wikipedia List of Qantas Fatal Accidents 26 November 1943 42-68348
54 War Correspondents K.I.A. WWII A Gripping Account of War Journalism 1940-1945 by Doral Chenoweth Chaper VI - The Red Cross Contributes via Wayback Machine November 1, 2016
General Douglas MacArthur cabled the American Red Cross in Washington, D.C.: 26 November 1943:
"It is my painful duty to inform you of the death in New Guinea of Robert E. Lewis and Harry H. Poague in an airplane accident. Both served with courage and devotion and fulfilled the important duties of war correspondents with value to their country."
WW2 Nominal Roll - William Geoffrey Campbell
FindAGrave - Squadron Leader William Geoffrey Campbell (Bomana Cemetery)
FindAGrave - John Randolph Fleming Henderson (Bomana Cemetery)
FindAGrave - Flight Sergeant Neil Grosvenor Evan (Bomana Cemetery)
FindAGrave - Pilot Officer Keith George Little (Bomana Cemetery)
FindAGrave - Robert Ellis Lewis (photo, grave photo)
FindAGrave - Robert Ellis Lewis (memorial marker photo)
Heaton & Poague - Harry H. Poague Biography
FindAGrave - Harry H. Poague (grave photo)
FindAGrave - Lieutenant Colonel Edward John Marston (Bomana Cemetery)
FindAGrave - J. F. McCarthy (Bomana Cemetery)
FindAGrave - Lieutenant Colonel John Benedict Bolger (Bomana Cemetery)
FindAGrave - Vincent W. Novak (grave photo)
FindAGrave - CPT John William Baish Jr. (grave photo)
FindAGrave - Frank O Dewey (grave photo)
FindAGrave - Flight Sergeant Leslie Harold Jenke (Bomana Cemetery)
Canberra Time "Mystery surrounds 1943 Qantas crash in PNG" by Robert Piper, May 8, 2000
Honour Roll World War II Qantas Staff Casualties (Campbell) via Wayback Machine October 23, 2009
Thanks to Robert Piper and Daniel Leahy for additional information

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Last Updated
June 5, 2023

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