Canal Creek Memorial Service
24 July 2015
Australian and United States military personnel gathered with Queensland locals to remember Australia's second worst air disaster during a memorial service at the Canal Creek War Memorial, near Rockhampton on 19th July 2015.
28 Australian and American service men and women together with three civilians died when their Douglas C-47A crashed on a cattle station on 19th December 1943.
Investigations found an engine caught fire while the plane was en route to Brisbane during World War II.
Commander 1st Brigade, Brigadier Mick Ryan said the memorial paid homage to those who served our nations.
"We should commemorate their lives whether they fell on the battlefield or on the way home from a battlefield, as was the case here in Canal Creek."
"The local community has really taken up the baton of remembering these people and over a period of 70 plus years have ensured no-one forgets the lives of the 31 people who perished here," Brigadier Ryan said.
Local dignitaries placed wreaths to remember the fallen, 20 of whom were Americans serving in the United States military.
U.S. Army Colonel Scott Kelly says the tragedy is one example of many shared sacrifices between our countries.
"This somewhat small memorial service here that seems fairly inconsequential, really represents such a large partnership between our great nations," Col Kelly said.
The memorial was held during the 6th iteration of Exercise Talisman Sabre.
"What it shows is the relationships that we’ve nurtured over 100 years continue to deepen," said Brigadier Ryan.
"We have a great connection between our two countries, between our two militaries and between our two armies. And that's something that we believe is an enduring relationship."
It's hoped the memorial service will become a bi-annual event.
"What a wonderful tradition this town has going," said Colonel Kelly.
"I applaud their efforts to do it and I encourage not only the Australian military but U.S. military that are involved in future exercise to come out and support this."
The crash remains the second greatest loss of life in an air disaster in Australian history.