One of General MacArthur's Pilots Visits
- Lt. Walter Seidel with C-47 VH-CXE (#2)
- Walter Seidel in the cockpit of DC-3 VH-ANR (formerly
images are linked to larger versions)
Day 2010, Queensland Air Museum was visited by an honoured guest.
Walter Seidel was on holiday from the United States but 57 years
earlier he flew QAM's DC-3 when he and the aircraft were both
assigned to General MacArthur's GHQ. It was indeed a sentimental
journey for Walter as he sat in the pilot's seat of an aeroplane
which he had flown during the darkest days of the Second World
Back in 1999, Walter wrote to QAM describing his experiences with
military records indicate that I did fly as co-pilot on the
original VHCXE DC-3 on March 29, 1943, from Archerfield to
Townsville 3.7 hours and Townsville to Archerfield on April
2, 1943, for 4.5 hours. Henry Godman was the pilot. I do not
recall who was on board for these flights but do know this
aircraft was used to fly Gen. MacArthur. I have a vivid memory
of landing at a remote unattended airstrip on the return trip
to let off several passengers. The right engine starter was
inoperative and there were no maintenance people available.
It appeared we might be stranded there for days or longer.
The engine was primed, pulled through and turned to just past
top-dead-center on, I guess, #1 cylinder. I don't know what
type of ignition was used to start, probably a shower of sparks.
Anyway, when this was turned on, the engine fired and started.
"I was a pilot on B-24's in the 90th Bomb Group and was
shot down on November 15, 1942, and ditched off the New Guinea
coast, I spent some time in a hospital at Southport that had
been a girl's school. I was reassigned to Hq & Hq Sqdn. 5th
Air Force at Archerfield and had just started flying with
Col. Godman as co-pilot, replacing Lt. Clinkscales.
"My log also indicated that June 6, 1943, I flew as co-pilot
on a C-47A, which was the second VH-CXE, from Commonwealth
Aircraft Corporation in Melbourne to Archerfield. General
MacArthur made many domestic flights in this airplane. On
most over-the-water flights, the General would fly on General
Kenney's B-17 that had four engines until we got our own B-17
"Bataan", November, 1943.
"I did not fly your VHCXE with General Sutherland but
did on numerous occasions on the second VH-CXE. Sutherland
was not a rated pilot but liked to take the controls once
"Col. Henry Godman died several years ago as did our
Navigator, Capt. George Markovich.
"I flew with GHQ until July, 1944, when I was assigned
to HQ & HQ Sqdn. Far East Air Force. I left active duty March,
1946. I got a degree in Chemical Engineering and spent 35
years in petroleum refining. I have maintained current flying
status and own and still fly a Cessna 172.
"I have fond memories of my time spent in Australia."
Walter C. Seidel
8 October 1999
SEIDEL 1921 - 2011
Seidel, Walter's son, has advised that his father passed
away on 2 February 2011 aged 90. Walter had told his family
that sitting in the pilot's seat of his old DC-3, 67 years
after he last flew it, was the highlight of his recent
trip to Australia. QAM extends its condolences to John
and the family.