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  B-17E "Queenie" Serial Number 41-2464  
USAAF
5th AF
Air Service Command

Former Assignments:
7th BG
9th BS

19th BG
28th BS

43rd BG
403rd BS

Click For Enlargement
43rd BG c1943

Click For Enlargement
43rd BG c1943

Pilot  Lt. Col Walter P. Piehl, O-230257 5th ASC HQ (MIA / KIA) WI
Engineer  SSgt Cortez A. Beal, 34190024 5th ASC HQ (MIA / KIA) TN
Co-Pilot  Maj Alan C. Attebery, O-664493 5ASC HQ (MIA / KIA) MS
Radio  SSgt Henry Y. Willis, 34058608 5ASC HQ (MIA / KIA) FL
Crew Chief  TSgt Edgar W. Elseman, 17004297 5ASC (MIA / KIA) NB
Passenger  Major Robert H. Barnes, O-900048 5th ASC HQ (MIA / KIA) AR
Passenger  Major Victor De F. Henriques, O-280216 5th ASC HQ (MIA / KIA) CA
Passenger  Captain Russell G. Helmer, O-393337 5th ASC HQ (MIA / KIA) PA
Passenger  Captain Fred J. Lewis, O-925168 (5th ASC HQ (MIA / KIA) CA
Passenger  Captain Paul V. McKnight, O-1576369 (5th ASC HQ (MIA / KIA) OH
Passenger  Captain Wendell Root, O-413266 HQ 58AirSerGrp (MIA / KIA) NY
Passenger  Lt Winton D. Witmer, O-567120 HQ 58SerGrp (MIA / KIA) CA
Passenger  Lt John C. Campbell, O-857274 HQ 58SerGrp (MIA / KIA) PA
Passenger  2nd Lt. Roland J. Hickey, O-2036113 5th ASC HQ (MIA / KIA) TN
Passenger  WOJG Dawson L. Hutchison, W2114954 5th ASC HQ (MIA / KIA) MS
Passenger  SSgt August J. Bachor, 32225289 5th ASC HQ (MIA / KIA) NY
Passenger  Sgt William R. Ray, 13107567 5th ASC HQ (MIA / KIA) PA
Passenger  Cpl Noel L. Lowe, 34608243 5th ASC HQ (MIA / KIA) NC
Passenger  PFC Clyde Hopkins, 34732682 5th ASC HQ (MIA / KIA) TN

MIA  July 8, 1944
MACR  6580

Aircraft History
Built by Boeing at Seattle. Delivered to the U. S. Army. Assigned to the 7th Bombardment Group, 9th Bombardment Squadron.

Wartime History
During January 1942, ferried overseas via the African air route. On January 21, 1942 took off piloted by Jack W. Bleasdale on a flight that arrived at Malang Airfield on Java. This B-17 participated in the Java Campaign.

On January 28, 1942 one of five B-17s that took off piloted by Bleasdale on a bombing mission against Singapore.

On February 3, 1942 one of nine B-17s that took off from Djogjakarta Airfield at 9:30am piloted by Bleasdale on a bombing mission against enemy shipping off Balikpapan. Flying in three plane elements at 30,000' the formation encountered bad weather and bombing results were unknown. Returning, the formation was intercepted by Japanese fighters. Aboard this B-17, Pfc Arthur T. Lowry had oxygen trouble and passed out and died. Another crew member who went to his aid also passed out. This bomber was unable to descend to a lower altitude without leaving the protection of the formation.

On February 28, 1942 one of three B-17s that took off from Madioen Airfield piloted by Evans with bombardier Sgt Reeves on a bombing mission against the Japanese eastern invasion force off Java. B-17E 41-2449 aborted the mission. The two remaining B-17s bombed from 28,000' and claimed one transport sunk and another damaged and returned to Madioen Airfield.

This B-17 was one of sixteen evacuated from Java to Darwin. Afterwards, assigned to the 5th Air Force, 19th Bombardment Group, 28th Bombardment Squadron.

On April 25, 1942 took off piloted by Sargeant as the lead B-17 flying a bombing mission against Rabaul.

By August 1942, the lower Bendix remote turret was inoperable and was removed and was replaced by a board with a fake gun barrel sticking out.

On August 6, 1942 during the evening took off from Horn Island Airfield on an aborted bombing mission against Lae then returned to land at 7-Mile Drome near Port Moresby.

On August 7, 1942 took off from 7-Mile Drome piloted by Lt. Snyder on a bombing mission against Vunakanau Airfield near Rabaul.

Next, assigned to 43rd Bombardment Group, 64th Bombardment Squadron. Nicknamed "Queenie" honor of pilot Lt Roger Kettleson’s wife. The nickname was painted by Lucky Stevens on the nose.

On July 13, 1943 one of four B-17s: this aircraft, B-17E 41-2408, B-17F 41-24355 and B-17F 41-24548 and one B-24 that took off on a bombing mission against Lae.

Later assigned to the 403rd Bombardment Squadron.

Later, this B-17 was assigned to the 5th Air Force Service Command. When lost, engines R-1820-65 serial numbers 41-23395, 41-41642, 42-78659 and 42-77708.

Mission History
Took off at 6:41am from Nadzab Airfield No. 1 on a flight bound for Mokmer Drome on Biak with a stopover planned at Tadji Airfield. After take off, the B-17 was never seen again and was presumed to have been lost before reaching Tadji Airfield. The entire crew was listed as Missing In Action (MIA).

Memorials
The entire crew was officially declared dead on March 7, 1946. All are memorialized on the tablets of the missing at Manila American Cemetery. Lowe is listed on a "Lest We Forget" marker at Oakdale Cemetery, Hendersonville, NC.

Relatives
Leondus Hutchison (relative of Hutchison) adds:
"JB Hutchison, his farther (my granddad's brother) talked with a man in 1950s who was stationed with Daswon and he said that the B-17 used to ferry had a really bad history with its engines. And if they bailed out over the mountains or swamp then they was good as already dead. Doing research over the last two years, I have found archived documents pertaining to Japanese warcrimes in New Guinea 1942-45. Just three months before 41-2464 went missing the japanese captured a B-25 in the same area as noted MARC search area. All five U.S airmen were executed by the Japanese after being captured, a familiar but true account of many Army Air Force crews captured by the Japanese. What really happened to the crew and passangers of 41-2464? Engine failure? Japanese AA? Hit a mountain due to bad weather?"

References
PNG Museum Aircraft Status Card - B-17E Flying Fortress 41-2464
Fortress Against The Sun pages 112, 117, 120, 140, 143, 226-227, 357, 385 states 43rd BG / 64th BS, 409 footnote 26, 414 footnote 38, 428 footnote 62
They Fought With What They Had page 304
FindAGrave - Maj Victor De F Henriques (memorial photo)
FindAGrave - WOJG Dawson L Hutchison, Jr (memorial photo)
FindAGrave - Cpl Noel L Lowe (memorial marker)
Thanks to Steve Birdsall for additional information

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Last Updated
May 22, 2014

 

Tech Info
B-17

MIA
MIA
19 Missing

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