Dakota transport crash claimed 23 lives
On this day, the RAAF suffered 20 of its members killed when a C-47 Dakota crashed on a pre-dawn take-off from Archerfield aerodrome, outside Brisbane, bound for Sydney. The aircraft (A30-16) was from Townsville-based No 36 Squadron and had on board a RAAF crew of four and 19 passengers. Sixteen of the passengers were from the RAAF (including three members of the Women’s Auxiliary Australian Air Force), one was an Australian Army officer and two were officers of the US Army. There were no survivors from the crash, which totally destroyed the aircraft. A court of inquiry into the crash found that, due to rising fog, the pilot did not realise when the aircraft entered into a left-hand turn and failed to take corrective action. As a result, the Dakota stalled soon after take-off and ploughed into thickly wooded country about a mile south of the aerodrome’s southern boundary.