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Rescue of B-17E 41-2446 Crew
by Allan Champion via Eighty Three Years of Memories 1905 - 1988 (unpublished memoirs)

Page 19-20
"One day, I received a message stating that one of our aircraft was down in 'your area'. I had a very big area and had not heard of any aircraft in trouble. However I borrowed the launch from the Angican Mission (Maclanen King) at Gona which had towed the canoes from Dalamaua. I was in a quandary as to which direction I would start the search. I decided to go in the direction of Oro Bay and make inquiries along the coast. No natives had heard any aircraft. I then went to the Musa River and started up this waterway. I went as far as the swiftly running current would allow me. I then turned back and saw a village which I decided to visit and question the natives, low and behold there were nine American airmen here! They had run out of fuel after a bombing raid over Rabaul, they had belly landed their Flying Fortress in the Agiambo Swamp and drifted down the river on logs to this village. Were they glad to see me! The captain said he had no idea where he was. My launch was too small to accommodate all the crew so I borrowed a large canoe from the villagers and towed them all to Buna. They stayed with me for two weeks until a vessel could pick them up at Oro Bay.

On the day they left Buna the Captain (Fred Eaton) lined up his crew, instructed them to empty their pockets of all the money they had. He collected something like 20 pounds in various currencies. This money he handed to me. I told him I was not running a boarding house, that I was also in the army and the food they are was supplied by the army. He then said 'I'll toss you for it, he did and I won'. He also gave me two .45 automatic pistols [one carried by George Munroe the other by ?] and an American Army rifle and a beautiful one gallon thermos water carrier with a tap [also carried by Munroe from the wreck], This man later rang my wife in Brisbane and told her how I had saved his life. About a month later I head an aircraft and went out to see a Flying Fortress zooming low. He dipped his wings and flew off to the north on a bombing mission. I often wonder if he survived the war.

Whist the airmen were with me, I receive a message from Port Moresby telling me to proceed to the aircraft and salvage the bomb site, navigation equipment, radio gear and wing tips. The captain told me they must be crazy as it would take a specialist to salvage them. He also told me that he had destroyed them all before he left the plane. The pilot asked me if I knew anything about airplanes. I answered that I had flown in a Tiger Moth in England in the 20s."

EPILOGE
I have just recieved a letter from Fred Eaton, the pilot of the Flying Fortress which crash landed in the jungles of New Guinea 46 years ago. I rescued him and his crew after a search of three days. Fred informed me that he had flown on 103 bombing missions during the war, 60 over New Guinea and 42 over Germany. What a record to have.

Last Updated
May 3, 2016

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  Pacific Wrecks Inc. is a non-profit 501(c)(3) charity dedicated to bringing home those Missing In Action (MIA) and leveraging new technologies in the study of World War II Pacific and the Korean War.  
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