Lt. Eliot R. Young (resuced)
Jim Wannich (rescued)
Force Landed January
Built by Douglas. Delivered to the U. S. Army. Disassembled and shipped overseas to Townsville and reassembled.
On January 14, 1944 assigned to the 312th Bombardment Group, 389th Bombardment Squadron. No nose art or nickname or tail letter.
One of six A-20s that took off from Garbutt Field near Townsville on a ferry flight via Horn Island bound for Port Moresby. This aircraft was the fifth A-20 in the formation with with wingman A-20G 42-86620 piloted by Young.
During the flight, the pair encountered overcast and rain. Afraid they overshot Horn Island, the pair turned around and searched for the island, flying west instead of northeast. Young expressed doubt about their course, but Huber continued to fly westward until their planes began to run low on fuel.
Spotting an beach in Morington Island in the Wellesley Islands this A-20 successfully belly landed on the beach with the landing gear retracted. The crew survived unhurt. Nearby, A-20G 42-86724 landed with the landing gear extended.
Fates of the Crew
At the time, both crews believed they had landed at Horn Island and waited for five days with their aircraft. On the sixth day, they attempted to use their life rafts to reach another island and paddled at night to take advantage of calmer seas.
On January 28, 1944 a RAAF Catalina piloted by Flight Lt. Bert Delahunty from 43 Squadron based at Karumba spotted the men and landed to rescue the four crew members from the two downed aircraft and transported them to Karumba where they recovered for three weeks.
Three weeks later,
a RAAF amphibian transported a group to the pair of downed aircraft in an attempt to repair them. This A-20's engines started, but was unable to taxi in the sand. Instead, Australian mechanics stripped the aircraft for spare parts, removing the machine guns and other equipment. The rest of the aircraft was abandoned.
Eliot Young, Jr. (son of
Rampage of the Roarin' 20's pages 56-57, 58 (photo), 59-60, 363 incorrectly lists loss as 1/16/44
The Crash Landing by Eliot R. Young, Jr.
Other sources incorrectly state the date of force landing as January 16, 1944
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January 5, 2018