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  C-47-DL Dakota Serial Number 41-38662  
USAAF
5th AF
374th TCG
22nd TCS

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Rodger Kelly 198?

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Phil Bradley 2005

Pilot  SSgt Elmer L. Crowley (KIA, BR) SD
Co-Pilot  F/O Robert Vernon Newlin, T-185525 317th TCG, 46th TCS (KIA, BR) IL
Engineer  MSgt Benjamin J. Palma, 6555927(KIA, BR) IL
Crew  Sgt Charles A. Kelley, 17024004 (KIA, BR) IL
Crew  Cpl John J. Peaff, Jr., 12011691 (KIA, BR) NJ
Crew  Pfc Leon M. Trach, 12017118 (KIA, BR) NY
Passenger Pte Lawrence Oliver Clive Caldwell, VX90608 34 Tng. Bn (KIA, BR) Yarrawonga, VIC
Passenger  Pte Alma Mark Webb, QX31224 AIF NGF Adv. Reinf. Depot (KIA, BR) Redcliffe, QLD

Crashed  March 11, 1943
MACR  none

Aircraft History
Built by Douglas. Constructors Number 6045. Assigned to USAAF on November 16, 1942. Assigned to the 5th Air Force in Australia on January 8, 1943. Assigned to the 374th Troop Carrier Group, 22nd Troop Carrier Squadron. No known nose art or nickname.

Mission History
On March 11, 1943 took off on a mission to drop supplies to support Australian operations in the Mubo area. Aboard were two Australian passengers. Dropping supplies over Skindiwai, its wing clipped a tree causing the aircraft to crash. Everyone aboard was killed in the crash.

Recovery of Remains
After the crash, the remains of the crew and passengers were recovered by the Australian Army troops in the area.

Wreckage
Wreckage remains in situ at the crash site.

Phil Bradley adds:
"I talked with an Australian commando veteran, Bruce Lestrange, who saw the crash. He says there were 15 killed in the crash including Aussies helping to throw out the supplies. The wing clipped a tree went in."

Daniel Leahy adds:
"I've just done a quick search on the Australian War Memorial Honour Roll, and there are a number of Australians killed on that day, two listed as 'Accidental' in 'New Guinea'. I can't find any other Australian deaths listed on AWM which meets this 'criteria' for days around March 11, suggesting that if other Australians were on board, they most likely survived. I've gone through them, trying to get their actual death details from service records, and both were confirmed as being killed in an air accident at/near Skindewai: Caldwell and Webb."

Memorials
Two of the crew are buried at Manila American Cemetery Palma at Plot J, Row 1, Grave 25. Kelley at Plot H Row 3 Grave 101.

Crowley is buried at Black Hills National Cemetery at section B site 110.
Newlin is buried at Mount Pleasant Cemetery in Porterville, IL.
Peaff is buried at Mount Carmel Cemetery in West Long Branch, NJ.
Trach's burial is unknown, likely in private cemeteries in the United States.

The two Australians are buried at Lae War Cemetery. Caldwell at H. C. 12. Webb at H. C. 15.

References
Note, some sources incorrectly list the date of this crash as March 10, 1943
NAA: Australian Army 2/7 Infantry record: March 11, 1943
NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - John J. Peaff
NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - Leon M. Trach
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Benjamin Joseph Palma
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Charles A. Kelley
FindAGrave - Elmer L Crowley (grave photo)
FindAGrave - Robert Vernon Newlin (grave photo)
FindAGrave - MSgt Benjamin Joseph Palma (grave photo)
FindAGrave - Corp John J. Peaff, Jr (grave photo)
CWGC - Lawrence Oliver Clive Caldwell
CWGC - Alma Mark Webb
Allied Air Transport Operations South West Pacific Area in WWII, Volume 2 pages 58, 71, 371, 400 (incorrectly lists as 41-18642)
Thanks to Phil Bradley for additional information.

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Last Updated
February 4, 2018

 

Tech Info
C-47

7.19S 146.5 E

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