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Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Crash of a B-24 Liberator near Fenton Airfield - 2 Feb 1945

B-24 Liberator

RAAF B-24L Liberator, A72-88 (#44-41460), of 24 Squadron RAAF, crashed when attempting to land at Fenton airfield in the Northern Territory on 2 February 1945 after a bombing raid on shipping targets. Six aircraft from 24 Squadron had taken part in this raid. The Liberator was out of fuel and losing height rapidly. It was just before midnight and conditions were very hazy and the pilot, Flight Lieutenant Arthur Cambridge could not see the runway flare path. On his first approach to land he was too far to the left of the runway. He was advised of this by radio contact with ground control.

On his second attempt to land, three of the four fuel pressure gauges dropped to zero and the Liberator swung violently to port. Cambridge ordered the crew to crash positions and with his undercarriage still retracted the Liberator crashed through some trees 3 kilometres from Fenton airfield and struck the ground in a more or less level attitude. A fire broke out below the flight deck, possibly due to damage to the auxiliary power unit.

The fire spread quickly and crew members Flight Lieutenant J.R. Parkinson and Flying Officer J.M. Pitt were trapped in the aircraft and killed. They were buried at Adelaide River cemetery the following day. A small section of this Liberator is now on display at the Darwin Aviation Museum.