|Pilot 2nd Lt Harold B. Majure O-789731 (KIA, BR) MS
Co-Pilot Sgt Douglas Croot, RAAF 415020 (KIA, BR) Canna, WA
Radio TSgt Clifford D. Stephens, 6944185 (KIA, BR) WV
Engineer Sgt Jack J. Deonier, 17019533 (KIA, BR) FL
Passenger Col. Lawrence A. Quinn, O-439 C.O., 126th Inf Reg (KIA, BR) VA
Passenger Capt Harland C. Andrews, O-369941, 126th Inf Reg, supply officer (KIA, BR) MI
Passenger Pvt Stanley C. Davis, 20634246, 126th Inf Reg (KIA, BR) Adrian, MI
Passenger Pvt Kenneth W. Horrocks, 20635362, 126th Inf Reg (KIA, BR) MI
Crashed November 5, 1942
Built by Douglas. Constructors Number 4643. Delivered to the U. S. Army on August 24, 1942. Ferried overseas via Hawaii to Australia.
Assigned to the 5th Air Force, 374th Troop Carrier Group on October 9, 1942. Nicknamed "The Broadway Limited" or "Broadway Limited" or "Broadway Ltd.". Australian call sign VH-CFM. Officially written off on October 31, 1944.
On November 5, 1942 took off from 5-Mile Drome (Wards Drome) at 10:50am near Port Moresby with two other aircraft: C-47 41-18498 (VH-CFB) and C-47 "Dumbo" 41-18568. Aboard were members of the 126th Infantry Regiment, and Col Quinn (126th Infantry Regiment Commanding Officer). Their mission was to drop supplies to US Army 32nd Infantry Division, 126th Infantry Regiment crossing the Owen Stanley Mountains along the Kapa Kapa Trail near Bofu.
G. L. Thoman adds:
"The primary reason Col. Quinn was on the fatal air drop flight was that he was curious about how the air drops would work with parachutes. My father Capt. Kenneth R. Thoman was the supply officer of the 126th and had been flying on the air drops. They crammed in as many drops as daylight would permit. On a signal from the co-pilot my father and three of his men would push the cargo out of the door. Hoping it would hit the drop zone and still be usable without parachutes. On the first day they used cargo chutes my dad and his men had the C-47 loaded. Col. Quinn drove up to the plane and told Capt. Thoman to stay back and he would handle the drop. The Col. wanted to see how the new chutes would work. On the first pass the chute opened inside the aircraft and fouled the elevators. The whole crew was lost. It was curiosity that cost the Colonel his life and saved my fathers."
During the drop, one of the cargo parachutes became tangled in the tail assembly of the plane, causing it to crash into a hillside, killing everyone aboard. 2nd Lt Earl B. Lattier (pilot of C-47 41-18568) reported that 41-38615, after making one run dropping stores on Bofu crashed into a hillside.
The same day as the crash, this C-47 was found by soldiers from the 126th Infantry Regiment east of Natunga. Eight bodies recovered from the wreckage. A supply parachute fouling the tail plane is believed to have caused the crash.
The Ghost Mountain Boys, page 151 adds:
"Upon arriving at Natunga, Lutjens noted that the salvage team pulled out 'mashed bodies' with one hand and enjoyed undamaged fruitcake it had found among the wreckage with the other."
Recovery of Remains
Chaplin Father Stephen Dzienis performed burial services for the dead crew at the crash site. A memorial service was also held for Quinn in Port Moresby on November 8th by the 126th Infantry Regiment.
The entire crew was officially declared dead the day of the mission. After the recovery of remains to Port Moresby. Australian Croot was permanently buried at Bomana War Cemetery at A8 C 17.
Postwar, the graves of the Americans were exhumed and transported to the Philippines and United States for final burial. Three of the Americans were permanently buried at Manila American Cemetery Majure at plot N row 3 grave 153, Stephens at plot N row 4 grave 88 and Davis at plot D row 13 grave 128. Buried at Golden Gate National Cemetery are Quinn at section J site 905 and Deonier at section C site 603.
Three were buried in private cemeteries in the United States: Andrews was buried at Oakwood Cemetery in Adrian, MI at block 12. Davis at Maple Grove Cemetery in Hudson, MI. Horrocks at Evergreen Township Cemetery in Sheridan, MI.
HyperWar: US Army in WWII: Victory in Papua page 121 (states supply drop was at Natunga)
Casualty File Microfilm 80350 Frame 1354 (Note: aircraft serial number incorrectly quoted as 41-18615)
The Carnegie Herald, Wed., Dec. 2, 1942
Sgt. Jack Deonier, 22, son of Mr. and Mrs. Adolph Deonier, was killed in air plane accident in Australia [sic] November 5, according to word received by his grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. J. F. Deonier, Cowden. The young man enlisted in the Air Corps in Florida.
Edward Deonier, U.S. Marine, was killed by a Jap sniper August 7, 1940 in China more than a year before Pearl Harbor. He was a son of Mr. and Mrs. Ernest Deonier.
Both Adolph and Ernest were in World War I and Ernest is back in active service in the present conflict, and their younger brother, Pvt. Roy R. is enrolled in a special course at the Signal Corps' school at Camp Murphy, Fla. He was selected for his training on basis of his aptitude."
Casualty File 80350 Frame 1354 lists SN as 41-18615 incorrect
PNG Museum Aircraft Status Card - C-47 41-38615
CWGC - Douglas Croot
FindAGrave - Col Lawrence A Quinn (grave photo)
FindAGrave - Sgt Jack J. Deonier (grave photo)
FindAGrave - Capt Harland C Andrews (grave photo)
FindAGrave - Stanley C. Davis (grave photo)
FindAGrave - Kenneth W. Horrocks (grave photo)
Advance to Buna Part 2 - Reference to Col Quinn
The Ghost Mountain Boys page 148-151
Thanks to Daniel Leahy for additional information
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February 4, 2018