My story begins when I was invited by a friend to take a weekend camping trip on his family property. The bottom paddock backs on to the Brisbane River and in 1940 it was resumed by the War Department to build a training and emergency airfield. During the war, both USAAF and RAAF personnel were stationed there, and there were several fatal crashes and accidents (including an overloaded C-47 on-route to New Guinea that stalled on take-off and crashed into the river, killing all 8 passengers and crew) between 1940 and the fields closure in 1946. After the war, the field was abandoned and the land was returned to its original owners. There was also a GI from a supply battalion who was shot and killed in a local pub in 1944 (but that's another story).
It was a very cool, clear evening when we set up our tent and started the fire. We'd set our tents up in what was left of the old blast bays, directly across the taxi-way from the old mess hall and airmans quarters. After a day fishing and drinking, we were keen to get into bed. I fell asleep quickly but woke up at around 11PM to pee. As I walked across the taxi-way, I noticed a winking yellow light at the end of the strip. It looked almost like someone with a torch was walking towards me. I watched the light for a minute before it winked out, then got on with my business.
After I got back to my tent I couldn't sleep, so I just laid in my sleeping bag and listened. Amongst the chirping crickets and the occasional bird call I could hear distant chatter and the crunch of gravel under boots. I thought it might have been my friend's father but, as the voices and bootsteps got closer the voices sounded distinctly American. I could make out snippets of what they were saying, and thinking that they might have been very lost tourists, I got up to see who was there. As soon as I unzipped the tent, the voices and footsteps stopped. There was nothing there.
I eventually got to sleep, but woke up again at about 4:30. Outside the tent I could hear the chatter and footsteps again so I quietly unzipped the tent and poked my head out. About 4 bays down three bulky, shadowy figures walked along the old flightline away from me. They probably walked another 5 metres after I spotted them then vanished.
At breakfast I asked my mate if he'd heard the voices and footsteps. He replied that he's heard them for years. He also told me that when he was a kid he'd been playing in the mess hall (before it was filled with agricultural gear) when he'd looked up and noticed a young man in a RAAF uniform standing at the other end of the room. He said the man had smiled, then walked out of the building. There are also rumours around town that there are phantom planes at the field.
It seems that some of the men who lost their lives fighting for their country and the countries of others still wander the airfields and battlefields long after the war is over.