Justin Taylan 2003
|Pilot 2/Lt Delmar L. Wichmann, O-742399 (MIA / KIA)
Co-Pilot 2/Lt Warren W. Everett, O-738126 (MIA / KIA)
Radio S/Sgt George R. Belchik, 16070703 (MIA / KIA)
Engineer S/Sgt Fred A. Clayton, 14125311 (MIA / KIA)
Gunner S/Sgt Edgar D. Faulkner, Jr., 19170027 (MIA / KIA)
Photographer S/Sgt William J. Hogan, 19033171 (MIA / KIA)
Crashed May 21, 1944
Built by North American as a B-25D-5 Mitchell. Assigned to the 345th Bombardment Group, 501st Bombardment Squadron. Nicknamed "Tin Liz".
Converted to a D-1 strafer at Townsville during early August 1943, then returned to Port Moresby.
On November 15, 1943 took off from 7-Mile Drome (Jackson) near Port Moresby on a strike mission against Wewak, along with B-25s all four squadrons of the 345th Bombardment Group, plus two squadrons of B-25G's from the 38th Bombardment Group. An escort by P-47s was planned, but were not met at the rendezvous point at Mount Yonkie. Instead, approximately 15 "Zeros" (actually Ki-43 Oscar fighters) were encountered at roughly 10:00am. The fighters made 15 firing passes. Aboard this B-25, gunner SSgt Joe Forman claimed a Zero shot down, firing 60 rounds. The B-25 continued as far north as Dumpu, and observed Japanese twin engine bombers escorted by fighters intercepted by friendly fighters, and bombing damage at Gusap Airfield that was bombed. At roughly 10:17, the bombing mission was aborted, since the element of surprise was lost and returned to Port Moresby.
The last time this plane was seen at approximately 0951 at the east end of Dagua
Airfield during a strafing run. Hit by anti-aircraft fire,
the bomber crashed 3/4 of a mile off the end of the runway.
Crews returning to base reported a fire arid black smoke about 3/4 mile southeast of Dagua, and some of the men stated it might possibly be a crashed airplane. This was later confirmed by searching aircraft, and this plane, which was still burning at 1515, was identified by the markings as a 501st Bomb Squadron aircraft. It was the opinion of the pilots of the search mission that it would have been impossible for any crew members to have survived the crash.
The remains of the crew were recovered by an Australian graves team in April or May 1946. They were temporarily buried in Wewak Cemetery, Finshhafen Cemetery and Manila Cemetery, before final burial at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery in a group burial at section 82 site 46B-46D during 1951.
off and was separated from the rest of the plane.
The tail section was recovered in 1974 and transported
to Tadji. There, it was
attached to B-25C "Feather Merchant" 41-12442, for a WWII memorial
"Strange that I went to all the trouble of getting fin and rudder assemblies from [B-25D-1 "Tin Liz" 41-30074] shot-down
at Dagua, then found the
original assemblies buried in sand on the last
day of the work, long after we had taken the bomber down
Justin Taylan visited in 2003:
"This wreck is in close proximity to another wreck. I was told at the time of my visit that the hole near the engine was dug by US Army CILHI in a search for additional remains at the site."
Andy Decker visited in May 2009:
"The wreck has deteriorated from 2003 visit in that the right engine has falled away from the wing and is sinking down into the muck. Locals have been harvesting sago around the wreckage and built a small lean-to over the right wing, presumably for shelter from the elements. Their activities had cleared out a lot of the undergrowth though, so we found many smaller pieces of wreckage that otherwise would have been overlooked. The left wing is present, but looks as though it had been on fire by the condition of the aluminum sheeting. We found a 50 cal fixed mount machine gun with a round corroded to the feed tray. There were also several lengths of the flexible ammo feed belts that ran from the ammo boxes to the guns. While at the Dagua Parish Mission, I met an older woman who said she saw the TIN LIZ get shot down by a machine gun that was set up at the base of a hill just west of the A-20 wreck. She said that she and her friends went to look and that everyone was dead."
Andy Decker (relative of Everett)
Warpath Across The Pacific pages 65, 92, 98, 126, 214, 369, 397, 397, 414
Thanks to Andy Decker for additional information
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January 1, 2014