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19th BG Sept 10, 1941
USAAF January 28, 1942
Lat 13° 4' 0S 131° 1' 59E Batchelor Field is located to the south of Batchelor in Northern Territory in Australia. Also known as "Batchelor Airfield" or "RAAF Batchelor". To the west is the Stuart Highway Rail Road and to the west is the Stuart Highway. Beyond to the north is Darwin. Still in use today as Batchelor Airport.
Built prewar and used as a small Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) training base.
During 1941, used by U.S. Army Air Force (USAAF) B-17 Flying Fortress bombers as part of the Pacific ferry route from the United States across the Pacific then northward to Mindanao in the Philippines.
During the early months of the Pacific War, Batchelor Field was used by US aircraft withdrawing from the Philippines via Mindanao to Australia. Later, it was part of the ferry route for P-40E Warhawk fighters flying to Java. Then, for American aircraft evacuating Java back to Australia.
On March 16, 1942 four bombers B-17E 41-2408, B-17E 41-2429, B-17E 41-2434 and B-17E "San Antonio Rose II" 41-2447 departed Del Monte Airfield evacuating General Douglas MacArthur, his family and senior staff from the Philippines and landed at Batchelor Field.
On April 29, 1942 in the afternoon at Batchelor Field, a P-40E Warhawk from the 49th Fighter Group lost control on take off and crashed into Lockheed C-40 (Lockheed Model 12) piloted by Captain Joseph "Joe" H. Moore as the passengers began exiting including Brigadier General Harold H. George and passengers. Wreckage from the crash possibly the P-40's wheel struck General George in the head severely injuring him. Two others standing nearby were killed instantly including correspondent Melville Jacoby and 2nd Lt. Robert D. Jasper who was driving a jeep to pick up the party.
Afterwards, Batchelor Field was used a forward staging base for bombers attacking Japanese occupied targets in the Netherlands East Indies (NEI). During November 2-4, 1942 B-26 Marauders from the 22nd Bombardment Group (22nd BG) used Batchelor as a staging base for bombing missions against Dili and Aileu on Timor.
Allied units based at Bachelor Field
Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF)
12 Squadron Pell September 16, 1942–November 7, 1943 Merauke
34 Squadron (DH.84, Anson) Daly Waters May 13, 1942–July 15, 1942 Hughes
6 Communications Unit Manbulloo February 27, 1943–October 7, 1945 Darwin
U.S. Army Air Force (USAAF)
19th BG, 28th BS (B-17 air echelon) Del Monte December 17, 1941–December 20, 1941 - Dec 30, 1941 Singosari
19th BG, 93rd BS (B-17) Clark Field arrives December 19, 1941–January 1, 1942 to Singosari
19th BG, 30th BS (B-17 air echelon) Clark Field December 20, 1941–December 31, 1941 Batchelor
7th BG, 14th BS (B-17 air echelon) December 24, 1941–December 30, 1941 Singosari
49th FG, 7th FS (P-40) February 1942 with detachment at Horn–September 19, 1942 14 Mile Drome
49th FG, 9th FS (P-40) Williamtown February 18, 1942–October 10, 1942 14 Mile Drome
27th BG, HQ Bataan March 1, 1942
49th FG, 8th FS (P-40) Fairbairn arrives April 17, 1942–?
38th BG, 71st BS (B-26) Ballarat April 30, 1942–August 12, 1942 Breddan
49th FG, HQ ?–October 9, 1942 14 Mile Drome
Netherlands East Indies Air Force (NEIAF)
No. 18 Squadron (B-25C, B-25D) McDonald April 13, 1943–March 10, 1944 Potshot/Learmonth Mar 23, 1944–July 17, 1945 Balikpapan
F-4 Lightning Serial Number A55-3
Pilot Sinnott force landed December 10, 1943
B-17D Flying Fortress Serial Number 40-3067
Pilot Teats crashed January 27, 1942 towed to the bone yard area and used for parts
Still in use today as Batchelor Airport with airport code ICAO: YBCR.
Protect & Avenge (1995) page 49 (April 29, 1942 accident)
Thanks to Bob Alford for additional information
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