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  C-49H Dakota Serial Number 44-83228  
RAAF
33 Squadron

Former Assignments
NEIAF
ANA
USAAF

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AWM July 13, 1944

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Michael Andrews 1999


Jason Daniels

Pilot  Flying Officer William Ernest Clarke, 277547 ANA civilian pilot (KIA, BR)
Co-Pilot
 W/O James Hillman Hornbrook, 432183, RAAF 4 Comm Unit (KIA, BR) Strathfield, NSW
Engineer  
F/Sgt Neville Tasman Browne, 436542, RAAF 4 Comm Unit (KIA, BR) Lawley, WA
Radio
 W/O Alfred Henry Gidley, 415975, RAAF 4 Comm Unit (KIA, BR) Wiluna, WA
Passenger  Sgt Henry E. Doherty, USAAF 322nd TCW (KIA, BR) NY
Passenger  Cpl Rudolph M. Kozen, USAAF 322nd TCW (KIA, BR)

Crashed  May 5, 1945 at 5:18am

Aircraft History
Built by Douglas as a DC-3-194B. Constructors Number 1941. Registered as PH-ALT and later PK-ALT when transferred to KNILM on June 2, 1940.

Wartime History
On May 1, 1942 this aircraft escaped the Netherlands East Indies (NEI) to Australia. On May 19, 1942 transferred to the Australian government on March 19, 1942. Assigned to the U. S. Army and allocated the locally applied serial number 41-1941.

On August 17, 1942 severely damaged during a Japanese air raid against 7 Mile Drome while parked at 7-Mile Drome near Port Moresby. Afterwards, repaired and returned to duty two months later.

Next, operated by Australian National Airways (ANA) assigned call sign VH-CXD on December 6, 1942 and leased to the U. S. Army. On January 14, 1944 assigned the designation C-49H serial number 44-83228 for administrative purposes.

On March 17, 1945 operated by the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) assigned to 33 Squadron.

Mission History
On May 4, 1945 took off from Archerfield Airfield near Brisbane at 8:39pm on a regularly scheduled courier flight bound for New Guinea. The aircraft was piloted by Clarke, an ANA civilian pilot with a Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) aircrew. Aboard was a trainee co-pilot, Browne and two American passengers. This aircraft first landed at Garbutt Field and overnighted.

On May 5, 1945 took off from Garbutt Field on a flight bound for Finschafen Airfield then onto Nadzab Airfield. In the predawn darkness while circling to land at Higgins Field (Bamaga), crashed into a hilltop at 5:18am and burned on impact, killing everyone aboard. Initially, the military authorities thought that there may have been a third American passenger who boarded the aircraft at Townsville, but this was later found to be incorrect.

Wreckage
The wreckage including the largely intact tail section remains in situ. Today, the wreckage is fenced off with a , the wreckage is fenced off with a memorial marker nearby.

Memorials
The entire crew was officially declared dead the day of the mission. After the recovery of remains, the Australians were buried at Townsville War Cemetery. Gidley at E.C.9. Browne at E.D.7. Hornbrook at E.C.5. Taylor's grave is unknown. Clarke was buried at Mount Thompson Crematorium at wall 4, section 3, S/Niche 290.

On May 9, 1945 the two American passengers were buried at Ipswich Cemetery with funeral services by Chaplain North. Postwar, their remains were exhumed and transported to the United States for permanent burial.

Doherty was buried at Long Island National Cemetery at Plot J, 16404. Kozen's burial is unknown but presumed to be in a private cemetery in the United States.

At the crash site, a memorial plaque was erected near the wreckage tail to honor the crew.

References
Oz@War - Crash of C-49H (DC-3) at Higgins Field, QLD on 5 May 1945

Allied Air Transport Operations SWPA in WWII, Volume 1, page 329 (August 17, 1942 air raid)
CWGC - William Ernest Clarke
CWGC - James Hillman Hornbrook
CWGC - Neville Tasman Browne
CWGC - Alfred Henry Gidley
FindAGrave - Henry E Doherty (grave photo) date of death incorrectly listed as May 4, 1945
Thanks to Daniel Leahy for additional information

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Last Updated
January 5, 2018

 

Tech Info
C-49

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