75th anniversary of Bob Hope's crash landing in Laurieton

 Photo: Camden Haven Historical Museum.
Photo: Camden Haven Historical Museum.

Laurieton was changed forever when a plane carrying a famous American star made an emergency landing on August 14, 1944.

Comedian Bob Hope and fellow entertainers were travelling in a Catalina when it was forced to land on the Camden Haven River, due to mechanical difficulties.

Hope and fellow entertainers Tony Romano (guitarist), Jerry Colonna (comedian), Frances Langford (singer) and Patty Thomas (dancer) had been touring the Pacific, entertaining US troops serving in WW2.

Lakewood resident Bob Craine's passion for history inspired him recreate a model plane to pay tribute to the event from 75 years ago.

Mr Craine was born in the same year as Hope's emergency landing and grew up hearing stories about the incident.

History: Bob Hope's 1944 Catalina (left) with Lakewood resident Bob Craine's model plane (right) to pay tribute to the event from 75 years ago. Photos: Camden Haven Historical Society and Kate Dwyer.

History: Bob Hope's 1944 Catalina (left) with Lakewood resident Bob Craine's model plane (right) to pay tribute to the event from 75 years ago. Photos: Camden Haven Historical Society and Kate Dwyer.

Mr Craine said he discovered a Catalina model kit in 2006 and it's as close as possible in design to the one that Bob Hope would have flown in.

"The colour is a bit different as Bob Hope's was bleached by the sun," he said.

The model can float and move along the water, operated by a remote control.

Plane passion: Lakewood's Bob Craine and his model Catalina, similar to the one Bob Hope landed in on the Camden Haven River in August 1944. Photo: Kate Dwyer.

Plane passion: Lakewood's Bob Craine and his model Catalina, similar to the one Bob Hope landed in on the Camden Haven River in August 1944. Photo: Kate Dwyer.

Mr Craine would like to make further adjustments so the Catalina model might also fly.

Mr Craine's model is on display at the Camden Haven Historical Museum, where it hangs from the ceiling.

Resident Trevor Eggins was a student at Laurieton Public School at the time of the 1944 incident and said everyone heard the plane come down.

He said people raced down to the foreshore to get a look at the commotion.

 Historic event: Trevor Eggins said he has a very vivid memory of when Bob Hope and his fellow entertainers crash landed in Laurieton back in 1944.

Historic event: Trevor Eggins said he has a very vivid memory of when Bob Hope and his fellow entertainers crash landed in Laurieton back in 1944.

"People came from everywhere to help dig the plane out of the sand spit and create a channel so that it could be towed to the Mill Wharf," he said.

Trevor described the sight of the enormous plane in the sand spit as incredible.

"The plane was gigantic," he said.

"It was a sight all right."

Trevor said Bob Hope was a big star for the era.

 Bob Hope descends into the fishing boat. Photo: Camden Haven Historical Museum.

Bob Hope descends into the fishing boat. Photo: Camden Haven Historical Museum.

Trevor remembers the group put on a show for the community at the Laurieton School of Arts during the evening, after word was sent abroad about the crash landing.

Trevor watched on as Bob Hope was taught the Hokey Pokey dance by members of the community.

The historical event was marked by food and wine festival Slice of Haven earlier this year, through its theme of "It's not Hollywood, but..."

To view Mr Craine's model plane people can visit the Camden Haven Historical Museum at 58 Bold Street, Laurieton.

The museum is open on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 9am to 1pm.