Iron Range Airfield is located at Iron Range in Queensland in Australia. Also known as Lockhart River Airport.
Built by the U. S. Army with three runways: Claude 1, Claude 2 and Gordons (bomber strip). They also built a road from Portland Roads inland to the airfield area.
Used by the U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) by medium bombers and heavy bombers.
American units based at Iron Range Iron Range Airfield (Lockhart River Airport)
22nd BG, 19th BS (B-26) Woodstock Sept 15 42 - Feb 4 43 Woodstock
22nd BG, 33rd BS (B-26) Woodstock Sept 29 42 - Feb 4 43 Woodstock
22nd BG, HQ (B-26) Woodstock Sept 29, 42 - Feb 4, 43 Woodstock
43rd BG, 64th BS (B-17s) ? - Oct 12, 42 Fenton
43rd BG, 65th BS (B-17s) Torrens Creek Oct 13 - Nov 6, 42 to Mareeba
43rd BG, 403rd BS (B-17s) Torrens Creek Oct 17 - Nov 23, 42 Turnbull
90th BG, 319th, 320th BS (B-24s) Hawaii Nov 4, 1942 - ?
90th BG, 321st, 400th BS (B-24s) Hawaii Nov 4, 1942 - ?
During the night of November 15-16, 1942, B-24 Liberators of the 90th Bombardment Group took off on their first mission against Rabaul. Due to inexperience and the the runway landing lights being too far apart and obscured by dust, B-24D "Bombs To Nip On" 41-23942 crashed destroying B-17F 41-24522 and damaging B-24D 41-23765, B-24D 41-23812 and B-24D "Big Emma" 41-23751. A total of eleven personnel were killed.
The Gordons runway is still in use today, known as "Lockhart River Airfield". The other two runways are disused since the war and overgrown.
Richard Rudd visited the area in the 1980s:
"When we bush bashed around that area cracking rocks and doing geological sampling, we found coke bottles, old helmets and on top of a hill to the east of the field, there was a tree with a large blaze cut on it, with an arrow and E, spelt out in .45 shells hammered into wood. These were dated 1941. Down by the strip on logs was a B-26(?) wing and the fuselage only of a Kittyhawk. No wings, tail and nothing from the firewall fwd. Recovered in the '70s I believe by Jack McDonald (?). Also some bits of the P-47D 42-22973 that hit into P-40N 42-105306."
Lockhart River (Iron Range) Memorial
Established on ANZAC day, April 25, 2005. The Memorial Wall is situated in the confines of the Iron Range (Lockhart River) Airport area for all community members and visitors to the community of Lockhart River.
B-26 "Kansas Comet II" 40-1433
Pilot Krell crashed September 13, 1942
P-40N Warhawk 42-105913
Pilot Warren abandoned at the airfield. Salvaged circa 1973-4 by M. Armstrong
P-40N Warhawk 42-105306
Pilot Hawke collided with P-47 42-22973, Wreckage recovered in 1973
P-47D Thunderbolt Serial
Pilot Metler collided with P-40 42-105306. Wreckage recovered.
Fight For Survival page 30 description of Iron Range
Thanks to Michael Musumeci for memorial information, photos and news release.
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October 23, 2019