The Canal Creek plane crash of 1943 is Australia's second largest air disaster. 31 people were killed when the military plane they were traveling in crashed.
The Canal Creek plane crash of 1943 is Australia's second largest air disaster. 31 people were killed when the military plane they were traveling in crashed. Frank Rumpf

CQ community commemorates 75th anniversary of air disaster

TOMORROW will be an emotional day for Clive Dick when he visits the site where his father died in Australia's second largest air disaster.

Mr Dick was just seven weeks old when his father, Harold, and 30 others perished in a World War II plane crash at Canal Creek, just north west of Yeppoon, on December 19, 1943.

Harold, an Australian war correspondent, was travelling with 30 others - 20 US army personnel, eight Australian Defence personnel, a YMCA representative and an adjutant of the Salvation Army.

The plane, a C-47 military aircraft, was travelling from Townsville to Brisbane when it went down at Canal Creek at 9.20am.

 

TRAGIC END: War correspondent Harold Dick was one of 31 people killed in Australia's second largest air disaster at Canal Creek in 1943.
TRAGIC END: War correspondent Harold Dick was one of 31 people killed in Australia's second largest air disaster at Canal Creek in 1943. Australian War Memorial

Mr Dick will attend the service with his wife Beth tomorrow morning for the first time on the 75th anniversary of the air disaster.

He said he was looking forward to attending the service and laying a wreath for his father.

Local resident John Millroy, who has played a key role in the service over the years, said he was extremely proud to be part of the 75th anniversary commemorations.

Mr Millroy called for an official memorial to be placed at the site in 2011, having secured more than $14,000 in local, state and federal government funding.

 

The 75th Canal Creek Memorial will be held on Wednesday, November 19.
The 75th Canal Creek Memorial will be held on Wednesday, November 19. Livingstone Shire Council

Having previously held the memorial each two years to coincide with the Talisman Sabre military exercises, Mr Millroy said it was significant to have it on the actual day of the crash.

"I think it's important to have a marker at the site for relatives and family to visit and the local community to officially acknowledge," he said.

Mayor Bill Ludwig said although the story was tragic, it was an integral part of the region's history and was acknowledged with a biannual service held by Livingstone Shire Council at the memorial site.

"Commemorating the 75th anniversary on the exact date that this disaster took place holds a special significance as we remember those who lost their lives in such terrible circumstances more than seven decades ago," Cr Ludwig said.

 

The 75th Canal Creek Memorial will be held on Wednesday, November 19.
The 75th Canal Creek Memorial will be held on Wednesday, November 19. Livingstone Shire Council

MEMORIAL SERVICE

The Canal Creek Memorial Service will be held tomorrow on Wednesday December 19 to commemorate the 75th anniversary of Australia's second largest air disaster.

When: 8am for an 8.15am start

Where: Canal Creek War Memorial, Canal Creek Rd



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