Australian Aeronautical Heritage

Opportunity Lost

Pf Heatwole Sepr 1979 (ii)Back in 1979 a leading State Museum was offered the nose section of a Douglas A20G Boston. The would-be donor described the aircraft, and it’s salvage, in the following terms….

It came from an entire crashed airplane from which a few parts such as doors had been removed prior to my finding it….I put it on top of my Beetle volkswagon and drove it to the nearest railhead, which was Julia Creek, Queensland, and shipped it by rail to Armidale, NSW, where it resided for many years on my front porch. I offered it to the XXX Museum and was told that it would be picked up, but years passed and no one came to take it. Later a private collector passed through Armidale and saw it. He wanted it, and so I gave it to him.A20G(iii)

And so I’m left wondering…..which Boston? The only A-20Gs that I know force-landed or crashed in this part of the continent were 42-86724 (# 14125) and 42-86620 ( #14021), which force-landed on Bountiful Island (see: Heatwole Sepr 1979 (vi)

The latter is only 276 nautical miles north-west of Julia Creek, and the absence of any impact damage is certainly consistent with contemporary descriptions (and images) of the Bountiful Island incident.

What ‘s confounding however are these penciled bulkhead numbers still visible in this 1979 slide. I was expecting some correlation between these, and the corresponding USAAF (or manufacturer’s serials). This isn’t evident however, 42-86620 being Douglas serial number 14021, and 42-86724 being Douglas serial number 14125.




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