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Iron Range Airfield Memorial
by Michael Musumeci

The Community of Lockhart River has established a Lockhart River Anzac Day Memorial Wall for Anzac Day that occurred on the 25th April 2005.  This was the very first Anzac Day held in Lockhart River and was a very moving and special event for the residents and visitors of Lockhart River. The Memorial Wall is situated in the confines of the Iron Range (Lockhart River) Airport area for all community members and visitors to the community of Lockhart River. Formally Iron Range Airbase played a vital and strategic area for U.S. and Australian Military Forces during World War 2.  Thousands of military defence personnel from various units attached to the Australian and American Defence Forces were based throughout the Iron Range and Portland Roads areas. Iron Range Airbase was a military strategic post being used by heavy bombers attached to the United States Air Force to combat the ever increasing threat of a Japanese invasion from Northern Australia. Iron Range Airbase also had numerous tragic aircraft incidents and the historical significance of this area should never be forgotten for our future generations. A dedication and commemoration of this Memorial was conducted on April 25 2005, Anzac Day.  During this commemoration of the Memorial Wall 5 official dedications of plaques were unveiled.

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Plaque One
The unveiling of Plaque One dedicated the 11 US Service Airmen that were tragically killed in B-24D “Bombs to Nip On” 41-23942 that crashed during takeoff on the 16th November 1942 at the Gordon Airstrip at Iron Range.

Plaque Two
The unveiling of Plaque Two will dedicate the 10 US Service Airmen that were tragically killed in the USAAF B-24 Liberator, 400th Squadron, 90th Bombardment Group that crashed during takeoff on a bombing mission to Rabaul on the 26th December 1942 at the Gordon Airstrip, Iron Range, Qld Australia.

Plaque Three
The unveiling of Plaque Three is dedicated to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander service personnel and residents of Lockhart River who served in World War II.  These persons partook in the vital and strategic implementation of the Iron Range Airbase during World War 11.

Plaque Four
The unveiling of Plaque Four is dedicated to all United States Army Air Force Bombardment Groups and other units based at the Iron Range Qld during World War II.

Plaque Five
The unveiling of Plaque Five is dedicated to all the Australian Military Forces and Civilian units based at the Iron Range Qld during World War II.

Numerous dignitaries, VIPS, outside agencies and bodies who assisted with donations, information and transport of equipment where all respectfully invited to attend.

The following bodies and persons have assisted in the implementation of the Memorial Wall: Queensland Police Service, Skytrans Airlines, Aerotropics Airlines, OZ TOURS Safaris, Coen Exchange Hotel, Archer River Roadhouse, Sea Swift, US Embassy, Tableland Concrete Blocks, S&H SPARS, Worssell and Co, Lockhart River Retail Store (DATSIP), Hon Member Warren ENSTCH, Senator L HARRIS and Member Jason O’BRIEN and Robin BUCHANN

Numerous items were donated to the Lockhart River library. The Lockhart River community would like to thank the following for their kind donations of books and assistance in making this a positive initiative.  Vera BRADLEY (Authour – “I didn’t know that”), Barry RALPH, (Author “Savage Wilderness”) John HARDAKER, Cairns, Cooktown, and Weipa Historical Societies, Staff of Australian War Memorial, Peter Dunn (ozatwar.com) Damien Waters, (Beau’s Butchers, and Boomerangs) Syd Beck Mareeba Military Museum, Principal and staff of Lockhart State School and Roger Marks (Qld Airfields WW2).

If any other persons are able to assist with photos, information, documents on Iron Range during World War II or if you are a veteran or a family member of a veteran of Iron Range contact can be made through the Lockhart River Police Station.

Michael Musumeci
Sgt of Police
Lockhart River Police Station
Lockhart River Queensland
Australia 4871
Musumeci.MichaelD@police.qld.gov.au
ironrange189@hotmail.com.au

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