CRASH OF A B-24D LIBERATOR
AT FENTON AIRFIELD, NT
ON 11 NOVEMBER 1943
|visits since 19 April 2003|
On 11 November 1943, B-24D-150-CO Liberator, #42-41242 of the 528th Bomb Squadron of the 380th Bomb Group based at Fenton airfield attempted to return to Fenton airfield after it had taken off on a Strike Mission (FEN III-23) to Ambon. It had developed an engine fire after take-off. The Pilot, Grenfell, jettisoned the bomb load and crashed short of the airfield while attempting an emergency landing. All ten personnel on board were tragically killed.
I did a search of the records that I have for the Rookwood USAF Cemetery in Sydney and found Grenfell, the pilot, dying on 11 November 1943. Knowing this I then did a search for all others buried in Rookwood who died on that same day and came up with the following list. Its is assumed that these are nine of the ten men who died in this tragic accident near Fenton Airfield.
|NAME||RANK||SERIAL||BRANCH||HOME STATE||DOD||UNIT/SQUADRON||GROUP||CREW POSITION|
|GRENFELL,WILFRED L||1LT||O725606||11||OR||431111||528TH BS||380TH BG||Aircraft Commander|
|CALHOUN,CHARLES R||SSGT||16073197||11||IL||431111||528TH BS||380TH BG||Assistant Flight Engineer, Gunner|
|COCHRAN,KENNETH M||2LT||O799723||11||PA||431111||528TH BS||380TH BG||Pilot|
|FRANCIS,HARRY T||TSGT||19005353||11||ID||431111||528TH BS||380TH BG||Flight Engineer|
|GALLAGHER,WILLIAM F||SSGT||31143056||11||431111||528TH BS||380TH BG||Assistant Radio Operator, Gunner|
|HAGERTY,JAMES R||2LT||O735996||11||SD||431111||528TH BS||380TH BG||Navigator|
|HAMMANG,DANIEL C JR||1LT||O733560||11||MI||431111||528TH BS||380TH BG||Bombardier|
|ROUBAL,JAMES F||SSGT||36323009||11||IL||431111||528TH BS||380TH BG||Gunner|
|SHEPARDSON,RICHARD F||SSGT||11062254||431111||528TH BS||380TH BG||Radio Operator|
Col Benson told me that Frank Gorham of the 380th Bomb Group had told him that he had been in the Control Tower when this aircraft crashed.
Katherine Siqueland (nee Krebs) contacted me on 30 August 2009. Her father, Gordon M. Krebs, told Katherine how one day he was awarded a Leave Pass to go on leave for the day to the nearby town. While there he took in a movie. Coming back to the airfield at the required time, the person checking him in enquired a few times with a somewhat harsh and demanding manner as to who he was and why he had been off the base. Gordon M. Krebs showed him the pass with all the correct paperwork and his identification. He was actually very worried because he couldn't think of what he had done wrong as he could come up with no other explanation why he was being questioned repeatedly. Finally, convinced that Krebs was who he said he was and that he had had permission to go on this day's leave, the man asked him to step into an Officer's office. There, Gordon was given the terrible news of the crash and how everyone had died. He was told that his crew was called up to do another flight after he had already left for the day. When the crash had occurred, everyone had assumed that all the regular crew had been onboard, thus the confusion when Krebs had returned back up from his leave.
This event was one of the pivotal times in Gordon Krebs' life. This was a story that he told when he talked of his service during WWII, which was not often. He was always incredulous as to the fate of him not being on that plane with the rest of his buddies that day. He had deep grief over the loss of his crew.
I'd like to thank Katherine Siqueland (nee Krebs), whose father Gordon M. Krebs, missed being on this flight as he was on some leave at the time of the accident.
I'd also like to thank George Wyatt and Steve Birdsall for their assistance with this web page.
"King of the Heavies - 380th Bomb
Group 1942 - 1945"
by Glenn R. Horton Jr. & Gary L. Horton
I'd like to thank George Wyatt and Steve Birdsall for their assistance with this home page.
Can anyone help me with more information on this crash?
© Peter Dunn 2006
This page first produced 19 April 2003
This page last updated 30 August 2009