41 flowers laid to remember the 41 victims of wartime crash

RETIRED Professor Robert Cutler from the United States was the guest speaker at the annual Bakers Creek Memorial commemoration.

Yesterday's ceremony marked 73 years since the Flying Fortress warplane crashed at Bakers Ck, with a crew of six and 35 passengers onboard.

The plane had just taken off from Mackay and was en route to Papua New Guinea. The death of 40 American servicemen in the crash remains Australia's worst air disaster.

Prof Cutler's father, US Army Captain Samuel Cutler, was in charge of the American Red Cross R&R Centre in Mackay where US servicemen came on leave.

Mayor Greg Williamson welcomed those attending the ceremony, and was driven to the Bakers Creek Memorial in a Second World War jeep owned and driven by Bruce Wolsey.

A band made up of students from Dundula, Northview and Central state schools led the parade, followed by an American national flag and 23 home state flags of the American soldiers.

Daphne Scheafe, whose late husband served in the US 13th Air Force during the war, carried the US flag.

Mackay RSL Bakers Creek Memorial Committee chairman Colin Benson hosted the ceremony.

During the event, 41 flowers were laid by dignitaries and students to honour the 40 victims and one survivor of the tragic crash.

Due to wartime censorship, the tragedy could not be reported at the time and details were declared secret for 15 years.

On the day following the crash - June 15, 1943 - a the then Daily Mercury editor Harry Moore alluded to the incident without mentioning details in an editorial titled We Share Their Grief.

The Bakers Creek Memorial was unveiled on May 11, 1992.

Topics:  plane crash wartime

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