Bakers Creek air crash

The Bakers Creek air crash was an aviation disaster which occurred on 14 June 1943, when a United States Army Air Forces (USAAF) Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress aircraft crashed at Bakers Creek, Queensland. The aircraft took off from Mackay and crashed approximately 8 kilometres (5 mi) south of the airfield. Forty military service personnel on board were killed; one person survived the crash.[1] The crash was Australia's deadliest aviation disaster by death toll and was the deadliest accident involving a transport aircraft in the south-western Pacific during World War II.[2]

Bakers Creek Air Crash memorial in Washington DC
Bakers Creek air crash memorial at the Australian embassy in Washington, D.C.
USAAF B-17C 40-2072
A similar USAAC B-17C
Date14 June 1943
SummaryCrashed on take-off; cause unknown
SiteBakers Creek, Queensland, Australia
21°13.20′S 149°08.82′E / 21.22000°S 149.14700°ECoordinates: 21°13.20′S 149°08.82′E / 21.22000°S 149.14700°E
Aircraft typeBoeing B-17 Flying Fortress
Aircraft nameMiss Every Morning Fixin
OperatorUnited States Army Air Forces
Survivors1 (Foye Kenneth Roberts)


The aircraft was a Boeing B-17C, serial number 40-2072, known as "Miss Every Morning Fixin".[3]

The six crew and 35 passengers were returning to New Guinea after an R&R break. The aircraft was part of the United States Fifth Air Force and was operated by the 46th Troop Carrier Squadron, part of the 317th Troop Carrier Group.[2] It had formerly been one of the B-17s sent to the Philippines in the autumn of 1941 with the 19th Bomb Group and had been converted into a transport after suffering heavy battle damage in a mission on 25 December 1941. Over 1,100 bullet holes were found when the plane returned to Darwin.[4]

The plane earned its nickname due to the constant work needed to keep it airworthy. A former maintenance chief estimated that for every eight hours the plane flew, it needed at least 12 hours of maintenance.[4] During the 10 days before Miss EMF's last flight, mechanics installed a new fuel tank and two new engines, and a satisfactory test flight was made on the previous day.[4]


The aircraft took off from Mackay Airfield[3] just before dawn at about 6 am in foggy conditions, headed for Port Moresby. Soon after, it made a low altitude turn and a few minutes later, crashed. The cause of the crash remains a mystery.

The sole survivor of the crash was Foye Kenneth Roberts, who died at Wichita Falls, Texas, on 4 February 2004. Another person, Joseph Gordon Roberts, also of the 317th Troop Carrier Group, was due to be a passenger on the plane, but missed the flight due to sleeping in and arriving late at the airfield.[5]

Due to wartime censorship, nothing of the incident was reported in the media. The Daily Mercury, Mackay's newspaper, reported the following day that a visiting American serviceman had been injured, as well as an editorial expressing the sentiments of locals who knew what had happened. Nothing more appeared in the local media until 21 August 1945, after the war had ended.[6] Victims' relatives received War Department telegrams which said little more than the serviceman had been killed in an air crash in the south west Pacific.

Australia's equal second deadliest aviation disaster, the 1960 TAA Fokker Friendship disaster, also occurred at Mackay Airfield.


A memorial was unveiled at Bakers Creek, near Mackay, Australia, on 11 May 1992, consisting of two brick columns aligned northwards on which are mounted flag poles and two brass plaques facing eastwards. Between the columns is a large aircraft propeller of a type fitted to Douglas C-47 airplanes supplied to the Royal Australian Air Force. The plaques describe the crash and list the men known to have perished as well as the sole survivor. Above the monument is a brass model of a B-17C that was unveiled and saluted by a low-flying 5th AF United States Air Force Lockheed C-130 from Yokota AB, Japan, on 15 June 2003, during 60th Anniversary events marking the crash. A small brass plaque tells about the model. Two brass plaques representing the 46th Troop Carrier Squadron and the 5th Air Force Memorial Foundation are mounted on a plinth in front of the Bakers Creek Memorial: inside a spotlight illuminates the memorial for several hours each night. Annual commemorative ceremonies are held at the memorial, usually in June.[7]

Another memorial to the US servicemen was unveiled in Washington, D.C., on 14 June 2006, at the National World War II Memorial. After the unveiling, it was moved temporarily to the Embassy of Australia in Washington, D.C. Because embassies are considered foreign soil, the Bakers Creek Memorial Association (USA) petitioned American lawmakers to relocate the memorial. After several years of negotiation, a dedication ceremony took place on 11 June 2009 at the Selfridge Gate entrance to Arlington National Cemetery on Fort Myer, Virginia.[8][9][10]

See also


  1. ^ Peter Dunn. "Crash of a B-17C Flying Fortress at Bakers Creek Near Mackay, Qld on 14 June 1943".
  2. ^ a b Vogel, Steve (3 January 2008). "Searching for a Home for a World War II Memorial". Washington Post.
  3. ^ a b "B-17C "Pamela / Miss E.M.F." Serial Number 40-2072". Retrieved 19 June 2008.
  4. ^ a b c Phillips, Don. "Wartime disaster heeded at last". Retrieved 14 February 2013.
  5. ^ Choate, Trish. "Going from lucky in love to lucky to be alive in 1943". Retrieved 28 October 2016.
  6. ^ Mackay, Col Benson. "the Bakers Creek Memorial to WWII American GIs". Queensland. Archived from the original on 26 October 2009.
  7. ^ "Bakers Creek Air Crash Memorial". December 2003. Archived from the original on 9 May 2008.
  8. ^ Hefling, Kimberly (25 September 2007). "Crash Memorial Without Permanent Home". The Washington Post. Retrieved 11 June 2008.
  9. ^ Coate, Trish (24 May 2009). "Memorial to WWII crash of plane awaits new home". San Angelo Standard-Times. Archived from the original on 28 July 2011. Retrieved 24 May 2009.
  10. ^ Vogel, Steve, "40 Killed in 1943 Crash Receive U.S. Memorial", Washington Post, Washington, D.C., Friday 12 June 2009, Volume 132, Number 189, page A-19.

Further reading

  • Robert S. Cutler (2003). Mackay's Flying Fortress. Central Queensland University Press. ISBN 1-876780-27-4.
  • Robert S. Cutler (2014). Australia's Worst Aviation Disaster. Boolarong Press. ISBN 978-1-4568-1622-3.

External links

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Baker Creek

Baker Creek or Bakers Creek is the name of

Bakers Creek, Queensland

Bakers Creek is a town and coastal locality in the Mackay Region, Queensland, Australia. At the 2006 census, Bakers Creek had a population of 770.

Canal Creek

Canal Creek is a rural locality in the Livingstone Shire, Queensland, Australia. In the 2016 census, Canal Creek had a population of 8 people.

Canal Creek air crash

The Canal Creek air crash occurred on 19 December 1943 when a C-47 aircraft of the 22d Troop Carrier Squadron 374th Troop Carrier Group crashed at Canal Creek, Queensland, fifty kilometres north of Rockhampton, killing all 31 people on board.The aircraft was enroute from Townsville to Brisbane with a scheduled stop in Rockhampton. It's believed the crash was caused by a fire in one of the engines which caused an explosion, destroying part of the aircraft causing it to disintegrate and crash.Those killed included twenty United States Armed Forces personnel, eight Australian Defence Force personnel, an Australian war photographer, a representative from the YMCA and an adjutant from the Salvation Army.Due to wartime censorship, there was very little press coverage of the accident, with the few newspaper articles that were published focusing on the non-combatants on-board such as Harold Dick (war photographer), Nigel James MacDonald (YMCA) and William Tibbs (Salvation Army). However, those stories only mentioned that they had been "killed in a plane accident" with no specific details about the disaster.With so many locals still unaware of the disaster at the turn of the century, Yeppoon resident John Millroy began campaigning for a permanent memorial at the crash site to commemorate those who died. After securing $14,000 in government funding, a monument was unveiled by World War II servicemen Neville Hewitt and Yeppoon RSL president Wayne Carter on 16 June 2012. Rockhampton mayor Margaret Strelow and Queensland Governor Penelope Wensley attended the ceremony. Wensley said it was good the tragedy was being remembered while Strelow praised Millroy for his part in organising the memorial.Annual memorial services are now held at the crash site. A 75th anniversary commemoration was held in 2018.The Canal Creek air crash occurred just a month after the Rewan air crash near Rolleston, in which 19 Australian and American personnel were killed and six months after the Bakers Creek air crash near Mackay in which 40 military personnel were killed.

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List of sole survivors of aviation accidents and incidents

This list includes sole survivors of aviation accidents and incidents that involved ten or more fatalities. Within this list, sole survivor refers to a person who survived an air accident in which all other aircraft occupants died as a direct consequence of the accident. This list does not include initial survivors who later died due to injuries sustained during the accident.

Pan Am Flight 1104

Pan Am Flight 1104, trip no. 62100, was a Martin M-130 flying boat nicknamed the Philippine Clipper that crashed on the morning of January 21, 1943, in Northern California. The aircraft was operated by Pan American Airways and was carrying ten US Navy personnel from Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, to San Francisco, California. The aircraft crashed in poor weather into mountainous terrain about 7 mi (11 km) southwest of Ukiah, California.

Rewan air crash

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Trans Australia Airlines Flight 538

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