|Pilot Captain James E. Gumaer, Jr. (MIA / KIA, BR)
Co-Pilot 2nd Lt Dewey G. Hooper (MIA / KIA, BR)
Navigator 2nd Lt David B. Lowe (MIA / KIA, BR)
Waldo W. Kellner (MIA / KIA, BR)
Radio S/Sgt Walter E. Haydt (MIA / KIA, BR)
Passenger Col Carroll G. Riggs (MIA / KIA, BR) 197th Coastal Artillery
Passenger Lt Raymond F. Dakin (MIA / KIA, BR) 197th Coastal Artillery
Passenger Captain Carl H. Silber (MIA / KIA, BR) 8th Fighter Group
Passenger Capt Peter E. Kiple (MIA / KIA, BR) 8th Fighter Group
Passenger Lt John E. Cooper, Jr. (MIA / KIA, BR) 22nd BG, 19th BS
Passenger Robert C. Trevithick (MIA / KIA, BR) Pratt & Whitney Representative
Passenger Tec4 Michael M. Goldstop (MIA / KIA, BR) 1156th QM Company
Crashed December 18, 1942
Built by Consolidated in San Diego. This B-24 was one of twenty-five model B-24D-7-CO built. Delivered to the U. S. Army. Ferried overseas via Hawaii to Australia.
Assigned to the 5th Air Force, 90th Bombardment Group, 400th Bombardment Squadron. Nicknamed "Texas Terror".
On December 18, 1942 one of six bombers that took off from Garbutt
Field at Townsville at 8:15am on a flight bound for Port Moresby. Passing Cairns,
the formation ran into bad weather and this B-24 was last seen
heading out to sea apparently with some kind of mechanical problem. When this B-24 failed to return it was officially listed as Missing In Action (MIA). In fact, this bomber crashed onto Mount Stralock at at 3,000' elevation on Hinchinbrook
Island, killing everyone aboard.
Afterwards, searches found no trace of the bomber or the crew.
During 1943, two Aboriginals prospecting for tin in the upper gullies of
Mt. Stralock discovered the wreckage of the B-24 and reported it to
the local authorities. According to official records, a navigational error
was listed as the cause of the crash.
Recovery of Remains
After the discovery of the crash site in 1943, remains of the crew were recovered.
During 1959, climbers
uncovered more remains at the crash site. Later, a US
Army CILHI recovered these remains.
Hughes visited the crash site during July 2001:
"The wreck is spread over a large area. The impact site is about
10m up the cliff face & the wreckage has fallen down from there.
The easily recognizable parts are the wing sections, the engines &
props, the undercharge part & some larger sections or the tail &
fuselage. There are a couple of .50 guns laying around. There is a
lot of wreckage that is just twisted metal & some that has been
burned in the fire but if you look hard there are a few remnants of
& radio station laying about. The aeroplane was brand new at the
time of the crash & the manufacture date stamped on one of the
props is still mostly legible& reads 10-10-42."
Justin Taylan adds:
"For unknown reasons, the dog tag of Waldo Kellener ended up in Port Moresby at 17-Mile Drome (Durand) and the Dog
Tag was discovered by Henry Mayer in 1995. It
is unknown how his tag got there, was he station there before the crash?
Did a friend have his tag and subsequently loose it there? If
anyone has any details or is a relative of this crew member, contact
us to have the tag returned."
The entire crew was officially declared dead the day of the mission.
After the 1943 recovery of remains, the crew was
interned in Ipswich Cemetery. Postwar, their remains were exhumed and transported to the United States for permenant burial. On January 7, 1949 buried at Fort McPherson National Cemetery at
section F, site 1117 in a group burial including Hooper, Haydt, Riggs, Dakin, Silber, Kiple, Trevithick and Goldstop.
A six-foot aluminum
cross was made by Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF)
cadets at Garbutt
Field and was erected at the crash
site. The cross bears the names of those who died in the crash.
During 1999, a stone memorial with a propeller blade recovered from the crash site was erected at Ingham, a more accessible
location than the crash site. The bronze plaque lists the names of each member of the crew.
Carl H. Silber, Jr. (son of Carl H. Silber)
C. W. Hooper (brother of Dewey G. Hooper)
Carl Wall (nephew of
Dewey G. Hooper)
Legacy of the 90th Bombardment Group page 32
Oz @ War - 18 December 1942 crash of a B-24 Liberator on Mt. Straloch on Hnchinbrook Is
Are you a relative or associated with any person mentioned?
Do you have photos or additional information to add?
February 4, 2018