90th Bomb Group Message Board

Message No. 986
Author: Anonymous
Subject: Re: B24 Crash in Australia
Date: Tue Sep 14, 2010 07:13

This is some information I just received:


Texas Terror Symbol
On the morning of December 18, 1942, the pilot, crew and passengers of the Texas Terror lost their lives when the American B-24 Liberator bomber slammed into the side of Mt. Straloch on Hinchinbrook Island. According to official records, a navigational error sent the aircraft into the midst of a violent storm shortly after its departure from Garbutt Field in Townsville.

A Liberator B-24 Bomber

Among those who died was 1st Lt James Gumaer - operations officer for the 400th Squadron, 90th Bomb Group known as the 'Jolly Rogers' and pilot of the 'Texas Terror' when it crashed that fateful day. His crew consisted of 2nd Lt Dewey 'Buck' Hooper (the co-pilot of the plane), 2nd Lt David Lowe (Navigator), T/Sgt Waldo Kellner (engineer) and S/Sgt Walter Haydt (radio operator) however the bomber was also carrying a number of passengers - the most senior of which was Colonel Carrol Riggs, a West Point graduate commanding the 197th Coastal Artillery. Also on board was 1st Lt Raymond Dakin (also of the 197th) who was carrying pay for the gunners, Captains Carl Silber and Peter Kiple (pilots with the 8th Fighter Group in New Guinea), 1st Lt John Cooper (detached to the 19th Bomber Squadron), Tech 4th grade Michael Goldstrop (of the 1156 QM Company) and Robert Trevithick (a civilian representative of the Pratt and Whitney Corporation).

Liberator Crew

A search began for the missing aircraft the following day after it failed to show at its destination, but was abandoned the following month. It wasn't until late in 1943 that Aborigines reported to authorities that they had discovered burnt currency whilst scratching for tin.

A search party found the plane on January 7 1944 and the remains of the crew were removed and interned in the US Armed Forces Cemetery at Ipswich before they were disinterred and interned as a group at Ft McPherson National Cemetery, Nebraska. Over the years, other objects have been recovered from the site including the dog tags of Lt John Cooper and Captain Carl Silber (which have been returned to their families) and a red stiletto-healed shoe (the presence of which cannot be explained as there were no listed female passengers).

An aluminium cross now stands on Mt Straloch in honour of those who died in the crash. Another monument was erected in the Ingham Memorial Gardens (left) along with a section of the aircraft's propeller and was unveiled at the 1998 ANZAC Day ceremony by Carl Silber Jnr (son of Captain Carl Silber Snr) and fellow American, Charles Hooper (brother of Lt Dewey Hooper).

Message No. 986 ▷ Parent Message No. 986 ▷ Grandparent Message No. 985
  • B24 Crash in AustraliaMick, Mon Sep 13 11:14
    Does anybody have the MACR Report on the B24 Liberator that crashed on Mt STRALOCH, Hinchinbrook Island Australia on the 18th December 1942 The planes serial is 41-23825. Does anybody know of any... more
    • texas terrorron towson, Thu Jan 19 23:54
      There is an interview with Carl Seibur Jr. on youtube which highlights some of the mystery/controversy surrounding the crash. There are also some good photos easily found by entering "images" and... more
    • Re: B24 Crash in Australia — Anonymous, Tue Sep 14 07:13
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