Something about past events always grabs our attention,not sure if it’s the unknown or just the admiration for what people
went through back in them days.
Years ago we had read about a crashed World War II Liberator bomber called “Beautiful Betsy” hidden up in the Kroombit Tops National Park,it was an elusive wreck site and one that wouldn’t be found until 49 years later after it crashed.
While parked up at Mount Larcom Showgrounds,it gave us the chance to get out to the site for a look without out knowing though if we’d actually make it after reading most of the tracks were 4wd only!
On the hike up the mountain there were quite a few old timbers houses along the way,all of them left abandoned just weathering away in the conditions
First stop was “The Barracks” an old forestry camp site from the 60’s.
Opposite the camp site is a detailed map of the park and also the place where you can pick up a map of your own If you haven’t already done so. With the lack of daylight hours left,our main goal was to get to ” Beautiful Betsy ” first and if we had enough time we thought we’d see some of the other sites if we could make it on the roads.
Considering we were in a 2wd we didn’t find the condition of the road all that bad at first ,but we soon ate our words when it became feral and we questioned why we were even doing this,it got worse as we got closer and closer.Only about two kilometers or so short of the crash site we gave up! there were two large ruts in the track ahead that stopped us,we thought about driving down them but realised we’d most likely get stuck on the way back up,just not enough ground clearance in our commuter bus………it was a real let down.
We did contemplate filling them in and started to ,but gave up on the idea and ditched the van instead and started walking.
Walking doesn’t worry most of us ,we quite enjoy it but walking with a four year old who’s like a snail and a one and a half year old who decides to head off into the bush on her own little mission makes it challenging!
It doesn’t look that steep in photos but the wooden track with us walking up it is quite steep,there would have been no chance we could have made it in our van,well not safely…… plus the sand would have seen us bogged.
It was a good feeling but also a somber one when we finally made it to the crash site,imagine being the ranger that was just going about a routine back burn and then stumbling upon this wreck site 49 years after its demise,I’m sure it would have blown him away to be the first one to see the scattered pieces of twisted metal after so many others fruitless efforts trying to locate it! Such a sad moment but one that puts an end to all the wondering for so many years.
Reading the info boards that are placed throughout the trail of wreckage kind of takes you there to that day that Beautiful Betsy slammed into the side of the mountain on what was called a “Fat Cat Run” transporting men and supplies,flying from Darwin to Brisbane.
Over quite a large area lay lots of debris some things recognisable and other parts just twisted chunks of metal.
Behind the memorial plaque is what looks to be a seat from the plane,it’s kind of a sinking feeling when you realise this is where one of the airmen once sat!
With this crash site there carries a tale of what could have been for one man on board,his name Roy Cannon.
Amongst the wreckage a letter was found,his last correspondence to his wife to be,in the writing, his dreams of what he hoped for after the war was over,he was due to marry his fiance a few days later .
Six Americans and two British Airmen lost their lives that day in February 1945,may they rest in peace
You may wonder why we have a photo of the RACQ rescue copter………the kids took this shot while waiting at Gladstone Hospital.
Just before leaving the crash site Beaudine managed to get a piece of wood lodged across her achilles it wasn’t an easy walk back to the van for her.
Once back at the van and before leaving Kroombit Tops we tried to remove it but had no luck,so on the way home we made a detour to Gladstone Hospital where both the nurses and doctor tried removing it with tweezers after no success they gave her a local anesthetic and cut it open to remove the piece wood and a tetanus shot to finish things off!