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Crash of Red "A" Baby in Australia 1942

Posted: Wed Feb 27, 2013 4:17 pm
by alacobob
For quite some time, I've been researching the death of my Dad's best friend who was killed in action. Robert A. French was a gunner on a B-17 Flying Fortress nicknamed Baby "A" Red, flown by Captain Weldon Smith. On June 30, 1942, after bombing Japanese-held Kendari Airfield on Celebes, a Zero attacked the Baby "A" Red and knocked out one of its engines. As Smith was attempting to land at his home base in Australia, the plane crashed. My namesake, Sgt. R. A. French, was killed, along with two other crewmen. Six badly injured members of the crew survived the crash. I wrote about it on my blog if you're interested. I would like to receive additional info about the 93rd BS.

http://kidnappingmurderandmayhem.blogsp ... -home.html

Re: Crash of Red "A" Baby in Australia 1942

Posted: Wed Feb 27, 2013 4:20 pm
by alacobob
In the text of my post, I mistakenly called the plane, Baby "A" Red. It should be Red "A" Baby.

Re: Crash of Red "A" Baby in Australia 1942

Posted: Fri Mar 01, 2013 1:12 am
by Steve Birdsall
The mission was flown by five B-17Es - two from the 30th Bomb Squadron (not the 28th as reported in Gene Salecker's book) and three from the 93rd. The two 30th planes were 41-2664 flown by Captain Edward C. Teats and 41-2669 flown by First Lieutenant Clyde B. Kelsay. They were first over the target and received no ground fire or fighter interception. The three 93rd planes were Captain John Bridges in 41-2642, Captain John Rouse in 41-2649 and Captain Weldon Smith in 41-9014. Smith crashed about 30 miles from Batchelor Field, the other four all landed safely.

Re: Crash of Red "A" Baby in Australia 1942

Posted: Fri Mar 15, 2013 7:56 pm
by Boba
The aircraft in question crashed as it made an approach to Hughes airfield south of Darwin but apparently mistook the railway line as a runway. Three were killed but fortunately the 135th Medical Regt had moved into a camp near that of the 49th FG Interceptor Control Squadron called 'Jungle Jump' and medical facilities were quick to respond as a result.

There are still remnants of the wreckage at the site and it has been nominated to the Northern Territory Heritage Register, which will provide legislative protection if it is formally registered as a Heritage Place.

I have other details if required.


Bo b Alford
Lampang Thailand