Looking for info on Lt. Richard Dennis 49th FG, 8th FS

Details about those listed as missing or killed in the Pacific, including current search operations.

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Re: Looking for info on Lt. Richard dennis 49th FG, 8th FS

Post by Edward » Tue Dec 27, 2011 10:06 am

"On December 18, 1st Lt. Richard H. Dennis of the 8th Sq failed to return from patrol over Buna. His home was in East Cleveland, Ohio." 49th Fighter Group History

Pacific Wrecks webpage on Lt. Richard H. Dennis

I have worked on this case for several weeks and none of my colleagues have been unable to come up with anything that is remotely conclusive about the loss of 1st Lt. Richard H. Dennis on 18 December 1942.

My contacts who have access to Japanese records have exhausted about 90% of official & captured Japanese documents for 18 December 1942. None of the Japanese Naval Air Force (JNAF) records make any mention of an encounter with USAAF or RAAF fighters on this date. Consensus seems to be that the only JNAF left to eliminate is the 582nd Kokutai (Air Group). Ki-43 fighters ("Oscars") of the Japanese Army Air Force (JAAF) were not operating over New Guinea at this time.
Records of Japanese Naval Air Groups examined
204th Naval Air Group - no contacts
252nd Naval Air Group - no contacts
253rd Naval Air Group - no contacts
582nd Naval Air Group - inconclusive
Japanese Monograph 122

I feel that your best bet is to request a copy of Lt. Dennis' "Individual Deceased Personnel File (IDPF)" from the US Army if you have not already done so. There is a good chance that the file will include a report by the 8th Squadron CO or an eyewitness who flew on the mission. There is very little in Ferguson & Pascalis' history of the 49th FG about the loss.

There are certainly personal diaries of 8th Squadron officers & enlisted men in existence that describe this loss. Locating someone who has a copy will probably take some time and / or luck. I would suggest that you post this message at the 49th FG websites & forums as well as the AAF forum. Cultivating contacts amongst 49th FG veterans, families & historians is your best bet but it will (obviously) take time and some searching. It may not be too late to try an locate someone from the 8th Squadron who was in Australia or New Guinea in December 1942.

49th Fighter Group Bulletin Boards

49th FG on Facebook
http://www.facebook.com/pages/49th-Figh ... 0677559354

49th Fighter Wing at Holloman AFB - there should be a Air Force historian to contact here
http://www.holloman.af.mil/library/fact ... sp?id=4363

AAF forum - 49th Fighter Group

I have been able to find a "Missing Air Crew Report" (MACR) for the loss. Most (all?) of the MACR's for SW Pacific losses that occurred from 1941-42 were written towards the end of WWII using available documents. A MACR likely exists somewhere but it is unlikely that it will tell you much that you do not already know.

Have you written to the historians at the Historical Research Agency at Maxwell AFB? This is a good source to check but my bet is that official records (except for the IDPF) will not have anything conclusive to say about this loss.

If you are able to locate anything please let us know.

Good luck,


Posts: 67
Joined: Fri Dec 26, 2003 8:42 am

Re: Looking for info on Lt. Richard dennis 49th FG, 8th FS

Post by Edward » Mon Jan 09, 2012 8:17 am

>Thanks Edward. I truly appreciate your help in looking up the Japanese records.

Glad to be able to help. I wish that there was more to tell you.

>I have sent a note off to Maxwell in hopes of finding out the serial number of his plane. This may tell me if the plane had ever been found and perhaps some indication of what happened.

I doubt that Lt. Dennis' plane has been found. Short of interviewing an 8th Squadron veteran who is knowledgeable about the mission I feel that your best bet is obtaining the IDPF for Lt. Dennis from the US Army Human Resources Command. It will include the plane's serial number
http://www.508pir.org/archival/deceased ... l_file.htm

>On the web site under Memorials is the name Burnet. Is it possible that there was a Burnet in the 8th SQ and for some reason he was not flying this plane?

This is an error on the page which will be corrected this week. Lt. Dean Burnett flew with the 7th Squadron / 49th FG and was lost over Buna on 26 November 1942.

>What is your relation ship to the 49th? Did you have relatives that flew with them?

I have no relationship with the 49th. I simply have a strong interest in the air war over the SW Pacific during 1942.

Good luck,


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Re: Looking for info on Lt. Richard Dennis 49th FG, 8th FS

Post by PF » Fri Jan 18, 2013 9:27 pm

Find A grave memorial http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cg ... 983&df=all&
Find a Grave memorial http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cg ... d=56764897&

ABMC record:
Richard H. Dennis
First Lieutenant, U.S. Army Air Forces
Service # O-430923
8th Fighter Squadron, 49th Fighter Group
Entered the Service from: Ohio
Died: 10-Dec-45
Missing in Action or Buried at Sea
Tablets of the Missing at Manila American Cemetery
Manila, Philippines
Awards: Silver Star, Purple Heart

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